Three Odd Englishisms

As I was in bed this morning practicing saying the British word for “math” I accidentally licked the blanket. I was rolling over to get more comfortable at the exact moment my tongue was flailing around trying to say “maths.”

1) They say maths instead of math. Why?  Probably no reason other than to make an already difficult subject more difficult to pronounce.

I asked the Internet and found that someone had already asked Yahoo! Answers. The woman asked why they add the s because it’s awkward to say. Of the various replies such as, “We invented the language so we get to use it how we please,” or, “I’m not sure,” my favorite was from a man named Geezer:

If you want to lose the “s” on the end,use a rubber haha.Bloody septics

Um, OK? Speaking of septic, that happens to be third on my list today. (kind of)

2) They say sport instead of sports. Yep, they say “sport” even when they are talking about multiple sports. For example, the newspaper section is labeled “sport.” Which one, I ask. Why, all of them!

3) Over here, don’t expect to read the world “skeptical.” No, you will be reading “sceptical.” I can’t get my head around this. Every time I read that word I automatically silence the c, as in “science,” and think of someone going into septic shock, or I imagine a septic tank and all its horrors. It’s really distracting, and then I always have to go back and re-read the septic sentence.

Obviously there are many, many Englishisms, but these are the top three on my brain lately.



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10 responses to “Three Odd Englishisms

  1. cliffspab

    1 Maths is short for mathematics. Do you guys call it Mathematic?
    2 Would you have a section in a newspaper called “Musics”?
    3 Scar, Scare, Scarce. Do you guys use Skar, Skare and Skarce?


  2. I stand by all my points.

    Adrian says the same thing about Mathematics. But still, the ‘ths’ sound is awkward so it should be deleted (which we did). No one ever says mathematics so it shouldn’t even be a word anymore. Everyone says math or maths.

    Sports is plural. You can play a sport, or you can play many sports.

    Although you do have a point about ‘sc’ words, I still disagree with the sceptical thing, no matter what you guys say. It’s freaky.

  3. Troy

    So when are you going to get to “schedule” vs. “school”? I never understood how they differentiate the sch sound in those words. I do however pronounce it shedule, but think that it should then also be pronounced shool.

  4. Actually, I still use “mathematics” because that is the word. “Math” is an abbreviation, and as such, is surrendering to laziness or sloppy thinking.

    “School” comes from a Germanic root, while “schedule” is from Latin via Middle French. The roots are what makes the difference, typically, between the pronunciations.

    We Americans have to blame Noah Webster for our variant (deviant?) spelling. He made deliberate changes to words just because he didn’t like the British standard. As George Bernard Shaw once observed, “England and America are two countries separated by a common language.”

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