Editing of Traitor's Knot

originally posted by Leonie

Hunter : "I too am not anti-American"

And neither am I, but our (Australian) sense of humour is just a little different to the "standard" US variety, and then hence we have the odd cultural misunderstanding. I have fairly vivid memories of watching "The Dream" during the Sydney Olympics and seeing a very puzzled US athlete (Can't remember who it was) doing his best to respond to questions in a serious vein while the presenters were gently (or maybe not so gently) taking the mickey out of the US…to the complete delight of the audience. I'm afraid most of us just cannot resist the temptation to stir just a little.

I also have a few issues with, as Hunter puts it, "the dumbing down" of the English language and it's resultant spread by "cultural imperialism". Obviously language will change over time - new words are added as our society requires them, different cultures will subtly slant meanings and pronunciations. Let's face it, Australia has taken the cockney art of rhyming slang to a new height. Unfortunately I sometimes feel that "cultural imperialism" can hijack national pride and individualism.

It has been interesting to see facets of Australian language lean towards more and more US style speech patterns - particularly over the last ten to fifteen years. Our accents remain Australian, but it irritates me enormously when children put on false American accents and word intonations to make themselves seem more. (Hopefully you are understanding what I'm saying here and I'm not offending you!)

It also irritates me that even when I change my spell checker in Word to Australian English, it keeps defaulting back to US English. (This of course could have something to do with my level of computer literacy… :smiley: )

Loss of language identity in some ways equates to loss of national identity - and I think that national identity is enormously important for any individual.

On another note - "dumbing down" of language reduces the richness of literature - its subtle shadings and delicate tones (and here I am speaking more of the lack of vocabulary that appears to be overtaking us)and the lack of appropriate punctuation is a real issue. Good punctuation changes meanings and shadings enormously and adds so much to what is written.

Anyway, time to hop off yet another hobby horse and get back to the real world.


originally posted by Memory

Just like Cheryl - except the opposite way round - I don't like reading books that spell things the opposite way from what I'm used to. Seeing 'color' in a book rips me straight out of the story (as seeing 'colour' does for Cheryl). I'm so glad that Janny's books come in UK editions, as they're such great stories that I'd hate to lose the flow of them just because of spelling. It's just like how you don't notice your own accent, so a book written in the 'tone' of what your used to could believably be set anywhere. If it uses spellings or idioms that immediately place it, to you, somewhere in the real world, then you lose that belief.

When I was younger and used to read Eddings, I remember that Sparhawk always used to say 'neighbor', which made me imagine him as an American!

I think that the only thing to be done is to have British editors edit American texts into UK English, and American editors do the opposite for British books. That way, everyone's happy!

originally posted by neilw

Funny how this thread has got lively :smiley:

Language cannot be controlled even in one country…France tries…IMHO trying to control a language is a waste of time but maybe in a global publishing enviroment there is money to be saved!?! And jobs to be lost I guess…

I am English and a hyphon in the word anyone *is* odd for me. I have been reading for around 30 years and never seen this…and I'm picky enough to remember (even if I do often forget what I ate yesterday and am average at spelling) Looks like a dubious compromise to me and the editor might be making a mistake :wink:

Hyphons are, if I was taught correctly, just an intermediate phase in the word's existence where 2 words eventually become one.

Imagine saving the ink of all those hyphons on each print run. One could print an extra book at no additional expense :smiley:

"any-one" was not found in the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary

Any-one also fails the "google test" :wink:

But, any-way, I don't really care; it did not spoil my enjoyment of the novel *at all*. I loved every page.

originally posted by Trys


I didn’t get your e-mail. Could you try again.


but if the English language continues to be abbreviated, then I forsee that future generations will be reduced to communicating with clicks and grunts!

And so we will have come full circle. :smiley:


There are people using Latin. The ridiculous pomp and ceremony in the Vatican recently was all conducted in Latin I believe.

Reciting centuries old litanies is not ‘using’ language. It is not being used on an everyday basis for communication between people.

I don’t disagree that language may be devolving. When I watched Ken Burns’s Civil War series on PBS and they read letters from simple soldiers to their loves at home, the level of language would have to be considered to be higher than what the average soldier is probably capable of today.

However, language is what is. It changes and that can’t be stopped. I, for one, don’t see a conspiracy here (fyi, I do see them elsewhere ::smile:: ).


Grits?!!! YUCK!!! :smiley:


However, grits are “A ground, usually white meal of dried and hulled corn kernels that is boiled and served as a breakfast food or side dish.” I think the potato thing you referred to is “hash browns”.


US release has a different cover and will have an appendix and some other background material…

And closeup maps or sketches on the pages facing an opening chapter page. If you go to http://www.paravia.com/JannyWurts/Version2/BulletinsReleases.html the first item listed is the UK edition of TK. Further down the page is the US edition with a different cover.

Language cannot be controlled even in one country…France tries

From a show I saw a few years ago, do does Quebec, Canada. They have (had?) laws that limit the use of apostrophes and control the size of English signs.

Any-one isn’t accepted in US English either unless the word is broken across a line.

As to posts that ruffle feathers, I would remind that it is very difficult to know that one is joking when one can not hear the joke in the voice or see it in the face (and based on the interview of the American athlete mentioned above, may be difficult even if those things are accessible). So I would ask, to avoid flare-ups, that emoticons be used to express the joke… to avoid misunderstandings.


originally posted by Cheryl Detmer

That's why I do my LOL's so you all know when I'm teasing or having fun. I don't think of it as dumping the language though. It's an advancement and progress if anything. Change is always part of life. It's just where you're brought up and what you are comfortable with and a matter of taste for each person. Grits yuck you're right on that Trys. lol lol All of Janny's artwork and writing is beautiful no matter which version.

originally posted by Deborah McNemar

Language changes just as fashion does (hemlines and hyphens, sheesh!). We certianly don't speak Olde English anymore, lol. While I agree that the American vocabulary has suffered greatly over the past fifty years, I absolutely hate the term "dumbing down". But that's why we need writers like Janny who use the language to its fullest and give us a reason to whip out the dictionary and broaden our own horizons.

Spelling doesn't bother me when I'm reading. Color or Colour is fine. The hyphens would be worse though and visually disruptive.

And for the record, Grits aren't bad. You just had to grow up eating them to fully appreciate all the condiments on the table ;-}. I've had them with syrup, ketchup, salt and pepper, bacon, cheese and gravy. Not all at the same time, mind you. Think of grits as a blank canvas and you'll do better.

Mumphing about grits…when in Oz they eat VEGEMITE???

(Janny, who detests BOTH. How culturally devoid of palette…)


I have read so many books, from all walks and styles, no permutation of usage or spelling bothers me a bit…the "style" used for TK in the UK was Oxford English Dictionary…so the copyeditor told me.

The copyedit for Hell's Chasm's UK edition was done by one of my editors, and that one was far more relaxed.

Lots of meanings get lost, spellings change, cultural drift - the "usage" of the word "enormity" and also the word "pleasantry" - the original meanings of these words, strictly put varies widely to a chasm's worth - in books printed today, few writers know these words at ALL and the dictionary has not changed their meaning - and yet, usage on both has drifted enormously.

I often see words that mean ONE THING (slang taken from old nautical or other ancient uses) switched to words that sound the same, but are not the same root - used "interchangeably" - and it usually makes me laugh, rather than put my back up.

More a that's interesting…sort of hmmmm.


I just hate "rules" and a 'stake up the arse' attitude, I guess. Evolving language, except where the depth and variety of expression is narrowning - doesn't get my back up.

originally posted by Cheryl Detmer

I tried grits just last week and no thanks. LOL I'm not into hash browns either though. I don't think American language has suffered. It's kids that use slang words and they catch on that changes the language and spelling but the dictionary is the same for spelling the original way. Language does evolve and change and that's good I think. LOL Janny on the grits. I never understood ketchup on eggs either. lol grin grin

originally posted by David Gardner

A good example of the "evolution" of English is how "couldn't care less" is morphing into "could care less", which in fact means the complete opposite. :smiley:

I can't recall ever seeing "any-one" in common usage, but the dictionary does say that "anyone" is often written as two words. So depending on the context, a hyphen could be necessary to disambiguate the "one" from whatever word follows (I can't actually think of an example at the moment).

Vegemite is great! It's just that too many people spread it on too thickly… Or are told by their Australian friends to spread it on too thickly so that they can have a truly memorable first time. (Hohoho). Vegemite is great when it's spread extremely thinly through melted butter on toast.

(brief delurk)

originally posted by Cheryl Detmer

You say tomato, I say tomato. lol lol That seemed appropriate to say here. lol I didn't even realize that until was shortened to till. When I started writing, my dad pointed that out to me and I thought I didn't even realize I was doing that. It's just one of those shortened words.

originally posted by R’is’n oc

If anyone thinks Janny’s books are ‘dumbed down’ by the lack of a few dashes and apostrophes, they really ought to be taken out and subjected to Paravian presence.

Concerned linguists have been trying to stop ‘the rot of language’ since writing was invented - hasn’t worked.

In fact, English has gorged itself on language terms and has over a million terms in its official lexicon. It either poached words from the language it encountered, or invented half a million terms to express concepts like ‘small metal widget that helps a type of medical machine, found only in smaller rescue helicopters, remain steady’ or to confuse people by using a word to express ‘a way to keep paying workers less money for the same amount of work’.

I read they still use the Victorian exclamation ‘balderdash!’ in the Indian Parliament to negate opinions. Recently, BBC used the term ‘sexed up’ for the WMD report scandal. I doubt they use ‘balderdash’ in The Commons these days!


Viva inventiveness!

originally posted by Tom Balogh

As an ex-Cambridge (England) English student, I had to put in my oar. 'Any-one'? Not the English I studied and I am really confused as I saw that and assumed it was american-ese. I now wonder if I was right, wrong or just confused.

Although, I would use 'til, not till.

originally posted by R’is’n oc

’til when? 'til '‘til’ became till?


originally posted by Cheryl Detmer

Roisin, I'm with you on all that and I never saw Any-one like that either. That is strange to me. It's not here in the states that I've seen. I like that taking them out subjected to Paravian presence. lol

originally posted by Trys


So if I put grits on my plate and add a condiment or just put the condiment on the plate how would I tell the difference in taste? <g,d,rlh>


originally posted by Laurence J Johnson

Hello everyone, what a vital page this has become!

I have laughed so much in the last day or so, my thanks to you all for that, and seperate thanks are due to the instigator, that's our Hunter from down under!

Hello Trys, I sent the e-mail to the address which is shown in your profile, is it correct?

Skol from Laurence.

originally posted by Deborah McNemar


By the thicker, grainier texture, lol. Grits, like haggis, is a cultural thing not to mention and acquired taste…

*makes mental note to try Vegimite*

originally posted by Trys


Latest e-mail came through fine. Must have been a hiccup (or is that hiccough) the first time. :smiley:


LOL. I tried grits when I made a trip to Atlanta for Dragon*Con in 1995. I think we stopped at a Crackle Barrel in South Carolina for breakfast and tried the sampler platter. All of us being from north (4 from NYC, one from Philly area, and me from Pittsburgh area) none of us really knew what to do with them. I seem to remember trying butter on them.


originally posted by Leonie

I must say that grits sound… interesting!!! Anything that requires so many different varieties of condiments to be edible makes me wonder why people are eating it in the first place. :smiley: I suppose it's a bit like chokos - sort of a "filler" food.

On the other hand, Vegemite is delicious!!! Spread thinly on hot, buttered toast - mmmmmmm mmmmmmmm. Time for breakfast - must go and have some.

originally posted by Blue

Restaurants have a tendency to cook grits in huge batches before opening, and let it sit there and congeal…ugh!

I have enjoyed this thread, despite the "Anti-American" vibe. I never once thought the British or Australians posting here were being in any way prejudiced against Americans. But they are right, correct grammar is NOT being taught as thoroughly any more.

There is an obsession with making everyone in the US a mathematician, and little emphasis on teaching proper usage of English. I spent more time in math classes at college than I did in English classes, and yet, I was trying to get a 2 year degree to become an office assistant.

During my last tenure in a community college, a few years back, I took a Business English course, which was the first grammar class I had taken in over 20 years. I was 30 years old at the time.