Driving at Night

Disclaimer: This post is NOT anti-American or an ‘us and them’ debate of any sort. It’s just a question regarding differences of English.

I have been told previously that most of the English speakers in the world outside the USA speak English closer to the Commonwealth version, as do people in Great Britain, Ireland, Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and the Caribbean.

I’m sure if we added all these folk up, (assuming that it is true they speak Commonwealth not American English), then surely there are more of ‘us’ than in the USA? (See differences between American and Commonwealth English).

Why is it then, that amongst all of this talk of i18n (Internationalisation), that it seems no-one has questioned why (X)HTML doesn’t allow for us to use both varieties of English spelling when it comes to common HTML or CSS tags? An example is color / colour (check out this heated debate), grey versus gray and the great one, center versus centre.

I’ve been writing HTML for 12 years now, and I still manage to write it ‘properly’ half the time, and have to ‘fix it’. I’m sure much of the world faces the same problem.

Funny thing is, Tim Berners Lee, man who ‘created the web’, was educated at Oxford University, UK and was working at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland when his program “WorldWideWeb” was first made available within CERN in December, and on the Internet at large in the summer of 1991.

It’d be fairly simple to add both versions of English into the HTML Specs, wouldn’t it? Maybe I am just naïve.

Google results show that the web is certainly skewed towards our US buddies, with result totals such as;

6,190,000,000 for center, and only 1,270,000,000 for centre.

1,290,000,000 for color, and 199,000,000 for colour.

284,000,000 for gray, and a slightly less 195,000,000 for grey.

…But it isn’t too much to ask that we could use either flavour of english, is it W3C?

Photo: bumpy ride, driving at night.

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