I'm Trying to Start a Trend.

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I'm Trying to Start a Trend.

Unread postby cowdery » Thu Oct 11, 2007 5:56 pm

Whiskey is one of those English words—like aging, center, color, maneuver, and many others—that Americans and Brits spell differently. American writers often struggle to use the British spelling when referring to scotch whiskey (i.e., ‘whisky,’ no ‘e’). UK writers occasionally return the favor. An American would never think of spelling color with a 'u' just because the subject is colors used by an English painter, for example. Why should whiskey be any different?

I'm trying to start a trend in which American publications spell whiskey the American way, regardless of the type of whiskey being discussed. I would expect publications in Canada or the UK to do the same, favoring their spelling.

The sole exception would be that when stating the proper name of a specific product, the word will be spelled the way the producer spells it, and also be capitalized as befits a proper name.

Example: That sure was some good scotch whiskey.

Example: Pass me another drink of that Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky.

Why do I think a change of practice is needed? The problem is that maintenance of the dual spelling protocol suggests that "whiskey" and "whisky" are two different words with different meanings when they are not. There is no definition difference between them. They are merely alternative spellings, with one preferred in the United States and the other preferred in Great Britian, along with a long list of other words about which nobody has this problem.

However, the maintenance of this pained protocul, which leads us to write things like "whisk(e)y" to feel like we're covering the category with a single word, also leads many people to conclude that, in fact, they are two different words with two different meanings, and they imagine all sorts of nutty distinctions.

I know from a previous, similar discussion here that an argument may be made that they are, in fact, two different words with different meanings. I would ask anyone who wishes to make that argument to begin by providing the two distinct definitions.
- Chuck Cowdery

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Unread postby bourbonv » Thu Oct 11, 2007 7:10 pm

Chuck,
Good luck on this worthy trend setting. I agree with you that it would eliminate confussion and generally make life easier. The problem I see is that some American distillers (George Dickel and Maker's Mark come to mind) use the British Spelling "Whisky" on their label. How do you plan to deal with that? The same way in your Scotch whiskey/Johnny Walker Whisky example? That would make sense to me.
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
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Unread postby Bourbon Joe » Thu Oct 11, 2007 8:20 pm

My thoughts are that if it says "Bourbon", that's all it needs to say. We don't need whisky or whiskey as a descriptor IMO.
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Unread postby cowdery » Thu Oct 11, 2007 8:25 pm

To answer Mike, yes. Publishers and editors determine the style guidelines for their publications, whether for books or magazines, and one thing they decide on is preferred spelling of words for which there are alternatives.

At the end of the day, my approach is much simpler than the current practice, which may cause one to switch back and forth between the two spellings in the course of a single article.

To query Joe, so if somebody asks you what bourbon is, what do you say?
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Unread postby Bourbon Joe » Fri Oct 12, 2007 6:07 am

cowdery wrote:To query Joe, so if somebody asks you what bourbon is, what do you say?


The elixir of the gods. Nuff said.
Joe
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Unread postby cowdery » Sat Oct 13, 2007 4:58 pm

Bourbon Joe wrote:
cowdery wrote:To query Joe, so if somebody asks you what bourbon is, what do you say?


The elixir of the gods. Nuff said.
Joe


Impossible to argue with that.
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