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Subject: Re: [ubl] Specialised vs. specialized


| my New Oxford Dictionary of English also gives preference to the
| "ize" spelling.  so the academics think we should use "ize".

Yes, because the ending in most cases comes from the Greek, and in
Greek it's definitely a "z".  All the "s" variants in the case of
words where it can go either way come through the influence of
French spellings.

| but i did a quick search of the English Daily Telegraph newspaper
| and found..
| specialise in 178 articles
| specialize in none
| customise in 383 articles
| customize in none.
|  - so we have common usage indicator that is different.

Any competent newspaper copy editor will have adopted a rule one
way or the other, so the consistency in this one publication is
not surprising.


| Almost all.  I noticed in our 'Symbols and Abbreviations' section
| for ISO we used both spellings - 'Organisation' is spelled with an
| 's', while 'Standardization' is spelled with a 'z'.  On the ISO
| site they spell their name with a 'z' for both.

Right.  This inconsistency is what tipped me off in the first
place.  It has to be "Organization" and "Standardization" in our
normative references because that's the official English version
of the name.  So I started checking the dictionaries....


| I heard in the TBG17 meeting that the dictionary has been bought
| by the US so spellings are changed.

No, that's not it.  The OED treatment of this question in the
second edition, which dates from 1989, is virtually identical to
what appears in the first, which was released in stages from the
1880s through the 1930s.  Neither edition has an entry for
"specialised" with an "s."

The z form appears to be the more traditional official one in
Britain.  Fowler's Modern English Usage (1926), which for most of
the 20th century was considered the final authority in Britain,

   Most English printers follow the French practice of changing
   -ize to -ise; but the OED of the Oxford University Press, the
   Encyclopaedia Britannica of the Cambridge University Press, The
   Times, and American usage, in all of which -ize is the accepted
   form, carry authority enough to outweigh superior numbers.  The
   OED's judgement may be quoted: "[...] the suffix itself,
   whatever the element to which it is added, is in its origin the
   Greek -izein, Latin -izare; &, as the pronunciation is also
   with z, there is no reason why in English the special French
   spelling should be followed, in opposition to that which is at
   once etymological & phonetic."

   It must be noticed, however, that a small number of verbs, some
   of them in very frequent use, like advertise, devise, &
   surprise, do not get their -ise even remotely from the Greek
   -izo, & must be spelt with -s- [...].  The difficulty of
   remembering which these -ise verbs are is in fact the only
   reason for making -ise universal, & the sacrifice of
   significance to ease does not seem justified.

But the third edition of this work (1996) says:

   In Britain the Oxford University Press (and, until recently,
   the Times) presents all such words with the termination spelt
   -ize.  So do all American writers and publishers. It should be
   noted, however, that many publishing houses in Britain,
   including Cambridge University Press, now use -ise in the
   relevant words.  The matter remains delicately balanced but
   unresolved.  The primary rule is that all words of the type
   authorize/authorise, civilize/civilise, legalize/legalise may
   legitimately be spelt with either -ize or -ise thorughout the
   English-speaking world except in America, where -ize is

Sigh.  Where are authorities when you need them?


| Sorry guys, but actually the TBG17 decission is to prefer Z
| over S!


| I do agree with you on this.  I just had the same thing at a
| UN/CEFACT meeting in Bonn.
| All spellings that had previously had used an "s" rather than a
| "z" have been put on the block to be changed to the OED preferred
| spelling -- using the "z".

Given that we decided a long time ago to go with Oxford usage, I'm
inclined to adopt this rule simply for the sake of consistency
with TBG17.  Can anyone think of a reason not to?


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