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I always thought that the whole "er" or "re" thing was the Americans trying to simplify the spelling of the language by spelling it the way it sounds. In doing so they lose the meaning of the suffix though. "er" generally means a person or thing that does something. Examples "swimmer", "computer", "killer", "baseball player", etc. etc. "er" as such is a phoneme and by spelling centre as "center" you lose the recognition of the phoneme in the language. This in my opinion makes it more difficult for learners of English when faced with words that they don't know. If the phoneme is used consistently then when they see a word that ends in "er" the students should be able to take a guess that it is referring to a person in some way. *shrugs* But given that people aggressively defend their own ways of doing things, I doubt that it will happen in the near future.
Toggle Commented Sep 11, 2011 on Center or Centre? at Ask the English Teacher
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Sep 11, 2011