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What do you find really infuriating?....or is it just me?


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Showing 1-25 of 247 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Apr 2011 18:25:02 BDT
Mrs Pisaroni says:
It might just be me being picky and apologies to anyone offended by it, but the most excruciating,infuriating and irritating thing for me when I'm reading is lazy editing. By this I mean American authors (that's why I'm apologising in advance) whose books are published in the UK but whose lazy speech is retained- if I have to read another 'COLOR','LABOR','VISE',MOM','PARLOR' etc I think I'll just give up. I'm currently reading a book,set in Renaissance Italy and the author comments on a '......horse's swaying ASS !!!' If I didn't consider it sacrilege I'd change the spellings myself. I know that these spellings are not, in themselves, incorrect but for an English reader they jar big time. Rant over !!!!

Posted on 5 Apr 2011 18:35:00 BDT
'......horse's swaying ASS

Translates as a "horses swaying donkey". If they mean arse why not say arse.

Seriously, though, I have to agree with you. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about it, apart from not buying the books.

Posted on 5 Apr 2011 18:45:19 BDT
Lez Lee says:
I don't suppose you'll be visiting the USA then? Do you never watch American films or listen to American songs? Do you really expect a whole vast nation to change its spelling, grammar and speech patterns because they annoy the British? Why do you read American books if you get so upset?
Has it never occurred to you that our language might be equally annoying to them?
What a narrow-minded, insular and even colonial attitude!

Posted on 5 Apr 2011 18:48:45 BDT
Suggest you read Mrs Pisaroni's comment more carefully.

Posted on 5 Apr 2011 18:51:02 BDT
metier says:
Another 'peculiarity' of american spelling is the difference in UK words ending with 're'. Centre becomes center. Metre, meter. Litre, liter. Calibre, caliber. Lustre. luster, to name just a few

Posted on 5 Apr 2011 19:03:49 BDT
VCBF (Val) says:
Most UK publishers do use English spellings for their editions, but not all the budget ones do so. (I would assume that US publishers change the spelling of their editions to US English where appropriate as well.) Has this got worse in kindle editions?

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Apr 2011 19:35:35 BDT
Last edited by the author on 5 Apr 2011 19:36:17 BDT
Jooleey says:
I completely agree. I can ignore the American spellings and I have no problem whatsoever with Americanisms spoken by American characters. What I do find so SO annoying is a book set in England with English characters, using words like drapes, cents, ass oh and the very worst of all is Fall for Autumn.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Apr 2011 19:39:47 BDT
Last edited by the author on 5 Apr 2011 19:41:15 BDT
Mrs Pisaroni says:
@ Lez Lee Actually I regularly visit the USA and I wasn't expecting them to change anything. It isn't just American authors though, many translations of European works use American spelling too. Thanks for your sweeping concluding sentence!!!!! made me smile.

Posted on 5 Apr 2011 20:11:58 BDT
Last edited by the author on 5 Apr 2011 20:39:01 BDT
Edgar Self says:
When British books are published in Baja Canada, editors rigourously excise tyre, kerb, judgement, lift, Bath chair, bonnet, neighbour, vigour, odour, et alia, but for some reason British publishers balk at paying for translations from the American. There is surely nothing more intolerable than this, unless it be period charm. -;)

Posted on 5 Apr 2011 20:50:28 BDT
Last edited by the author on 5 Apr 2011 20:53:35 BDT
monica says:
I'm grateful for this thread and have changed name of hero in my upcoming debut novel from Etienne le Blanc to Stephen the White, so thanks.

I sincerely don't know whether most of these posts are tongue-in-cheek or not. I truly hope they are.

Having said that, the most egregious example of the sort I know was in a hard-boiled novel for which British terms were substituted for American. Joe or whoever goes into a bar in Brooklyn or someplace equally earthy, says to Sam behind the bar 'Gimme as many ryes as this'll buy in a leap year'. Then he slams a twenty-pound note onto the bar.

monica, author of upcoming debut novel The Deadly Scent of New-Mown Hay: A Mauve Tale featuring Stephen the White.

Posted on 5 Apr 2011 20:53:13 BDT
Lez Lee says:
:-)

Posted on 5 Apr 2011 22:15:04 BDT
[Deleted by Amazon on 7 Oct 2011 09:27:49 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Apr 2011 22:18:53 BDT
Florence43 says:
Hoorah, at last a writer who uses language in a new, interesting expressive way. Give him a Booker!

Posted on 5 Apr 2011 22:33:09 BDT
Whs McIntyre says:
Gotten.

Posted on 5 Apr 2011 23:10:38 BDT
Jooleey says:
I think some people are missing the point here. I don't think anyone is complaining about Americanisms. It's the inappropriate use of them that is a problem. A book set in Regency London with the heroine walking down a sidewalk, with her mom and a neighbor, admiring the color of the leaves in fall, then slipping and falling on her ass; is about as silly as two cowboys in a saloon talking to each other in cockney rhyming slang.

Posted on 5 Apr 2011 23:30:23 BDT
Roger Cave says:
I read this with a smile on my face. I wrote a book a short while ago and released some sample chapters.
Now the book is called Medusa Defence. However, I was approached by an American reader to ask why I hadn't spelt it Medusa Defense.

Because I wrote it in English, old chap!

Posted on 5 Apr 2011 23:53:41 BDT
Virginia says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on 6 Apr 2011 14:14:47 BDT
Cuban Heel says:
Hmmm, it's an interesting one isn't it? I remember an American actor once (can't remember who) commenting on criticisms about an American accent in a film about the Romans, or the Greeks or something. He made a good point that in terms of authenticity they probably didn't speak with clipped English accents either, although we all quite happily accept that...

I have no problem reading American books that have American spellings. But I agree if you're writing a period piece, or one about a very specific time and place, you do really need to avoid colloquialisms from your own social reality. "Julius Caeser pointed out to Brutus that what he had said was just whack dawg". No, no, no.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Apr 2011 15:36:57 BDT
Edgar Self says:
Something also needs to be done about the striking clock in Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar". We tried to tell Marlon Brando that Marc Antony wasn't from the Bronx, but, alas ... I wonder what Shakespeare's accent was like, as an actor?

Posted on 6 Apr 2011 15:45:35 BDT
Last edited by the author on 6 Apr 2011 18:05:51 BDT
Mark Porter says:
I don't see the problem with American spellings if the book is set in America or if the author is American. I can put up with that far more easily than with the horrendous over use of cliches such as 'piercing blue eyes,' 'shaft of light,' 'scudding clouds' and hundreds of others. 'Salt and pepper hair,' 'shiver down the spine.'

The book being available on Kindle in the UK may not be an indicator of a British involvement at any point in the editorial process. I take it as read that if I read an American writer then the spelling will be American English.

I read Jonathan Franzen's 'The Corrections' again late last year, I expected American spelling and got it. Just finished reading Richard Yates and the same applied. Started an Elmore Leonard book this morning and....

I do sympathise however.

Posted on 6 Apr 2011 16:19:48 BDT
Ben Kane says:
@Piso Mojado: do you definitely know that UK publishers don't pay for Americanisms/American spelling to be taken out of books written by US writers that are published here? A strange thing, if that's the case. My books, written here, are always given a US makeover before being released Stateside.

@Cuban Heel: a good case in point is the film The Eagle, currently showing in cinemas here. All the Roman actors have American accents, and all the British have...British accents. To my surprise, it worked very well, showing the real differences between the races.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Apr 2011 16:36:58 BDT
Florence43 says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Apr 2011 20:02:31 BDT
Edgar Self says:
Ben Kane -- I've no idea, of course, and thought only to put the boot on the other leg in hope of easing the tension. Books are often retitled trans-Atlantically, but as I rarely read US authors in UK editions, I can't say. Berta Geissmar's memoir of Beecham and Furtwaengler, called "Baton and Jackboot" in England, became "Two Worlds of Music" for the Colonial trade. Thomas Mann's perfectly good "Lotte in Weimar" was bowdlerised into "The Beloved Returns", but both of these were translations from the German.

It used to be that the plates were shipped, re-bound, re-published (re-titled?) but now it's probably all done with a keyboard stroke. I have noticed a great decline in the standard of proof-reading, pagination, word-division and the like.

Posted on 6 Apr 2011 21:42:15 BDT
Looking at the credits for Gladiator yesterday, my Other Half remarked that Russell Crowe had a voice coach, which set me to thinking that the Romans all spoke in that upper crustish way, which worked in a way that a mish mash of English, American and Strine wouldn't. Who can forget the anomaly of John Wayne drawling "This must surely be the son of God"! With an American written novel, set in America the language doesn't bother me, but anacronisms in historical books or set in England drive me ape. Oddly enough gotten is the one that doesn't bother me, as it is an example of correct Jacobean grammer, which survived in the colonies, but fell out of favour in the mother tongue.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Apr 2011 16:26:59 BDT
Mark Porter says:
Lynne, you raise an interesting point there. Another example is the much maligned term 'soccer.' the word 'soccer' originated in the UK and is widely regarded as an American term.
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  62
Total posts:  247
Initial post:  5 Apr 2011
Latest post:  10 Jan 2013

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