Ever wondered why Americans adopted different spellings to a number of English words which have left the British, Americans and much of the rest of the English-speaking world grappling with peculiarities such as colour/color, centre/center and flavour/flavor? Turns out that centuries of confusion have been down to ONE man, Noah Webster of Merriam-Webster dictionary fame. After US Independence, Webster wanted to ‘simplify’ unreasonable spellings from the British… so went about implementing his own way of doing things.
Oh, the power of publishing one’s own dictionary!
Many of his efforts however, seemed to go a bit far, for even the the newly self-governing 13 States… ‘Determin’, ‘Leperd’ and ’Soop’ never caught on, but many others did.
So started 2 centuries of divergence, which in today’s interconnected world, can be argued is slowly beginning to fade away. Like in many strands of popular culture, American influence might just, over time, convince even us Brits that there might be something to be said for losing those silent u’s…
Enjoy the short markerboard film here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmxHfRCrMCM