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Daniel Beijerling
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An interesting discussion indeed. If I go to www.askoxford.com and perform a dictionary search for “center” I get the following definition: centre (US center) • noun 1 a point in the middle of something that is equally distant from all of its sides, ends, or surfaces. 2 a place where a specified activity is concentrated. 3 a point from which something spreads or to which something is directed: the city was a centre of discontent. 4 a political group whose opinions avoid extremes. 5 the middle player in some team games. Clearly in official British English there is only one spelling with multiple meanings. This does make for some interesting reading though: “The centre [meaning 3] of attention was the team’s centre [meaning 5] in the centre [meaning 1] of the centre [meaning 2].” The idea that the two different spellings have two separate meanings is something that has apparently developed outside of the UK. When we direct our focus to former British colonies, we see that both the spellings and meanings are often used inconsistently and interchangeably. For example, in the middle of Hamilton city, New Zealand – where I live – you will find the “Center Place Shopping Centre”. You will also find that the “Information Centre” provides information about the “city center”, including the location of the nearest medical centers/centers, the “Hamilton East Medical Centre” and the “North Care Medical Center”. While surfing the internet I came across the following controversial article that you may also enjoy, entitled “The British Don’t Know How to Spell” in which some interesting comparison are made between British and American English. Since English is my second language I have no patriotic preference. In fact, considering that many English speaking countries now actually have their own official English dictionaries, it is probably a little pretentious to only include British and American English in a debate as to which spelling and/or meaning is most correct or preferred.
Toggle Commented Apr 28, 2010 on Center or Centre? at Ask the English Teacher
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Apr 27, 2010