this article, the Cultural Committee of the League answers many requests for a Southern
orthograpy guide for the spelling they are seeing used effectively in the Patriot and
such superb state League journals as Nat Rudulphs Southern Eventsa
model state publication of its sort (from Alabama)and new journals like League
member David Rocketts important The Agrarian Steward (Monroe,
spelling in these is based largely (but not exclusively) upon British
orthographythat orthography predating Noah Websters assault on diversity that
culminated in his famous comformist dictionary. (Noah Webster was the consummate Yankee
codifier and the chief centraliser of the language.)The following are four of the most
frequently used orthographical musts:
1) The Second Syllable our
Nouns and Verbs. Examples: (n.) flavour, honour, labour,
colour, humour, neighbour and (v.) to favour, to
honour, to labour, etc. As a means to remembering to spell these words this
way, we might think that we are making them our own words and strengthening our
Three-syllable words like advisor, protector,
will not take the our form.
2) The Subversive S-Z.
Remember it by realising that when we are converting the z to s,
we are being subversive of homogenisation and centralisation. These words
can be either nouns, and you can see that the s precedes ation
forms, or verbs ending in ise. Examples: (nouns) decentralisation, organisation,
dramatisation, and (verbs) to organise, politicise, recognise,
3) Dates. My
own pet changeover is the manner of giving dates. Place the day-numeral before the
month. (I promise you you will like the ease, clarity, and efficiency of it.) Thus 4
July 1776, 20 December 1860, 12 April 1861, etc. The best place to begin
this practise is when we write letters and checksa time we may be concentrating a
little more than usual on what we are doing.
4) The One-Syllable Contractions.
Omit the apostrophe on these: wont, dont, arent, cant, aint. I think I'll add caint
out of allegiance to my Upcountry Carolina heritage. Caint is a wonderful
elision of cant and aint and is honestly and manfully powerful-as-hell,
especially next to the milk-sop cant when it is given the decadent swank of
the broad a of Boston or the nasalised venom of the keeint of Brooklyn.
contractions (woudnt, shouldnt, couldnt hasnt, hadnt,
etc.) should retain an apostrophe.
Southern speech has
strongly resisted codification, so if you go astray and create a new word, and it
communicatesno harm done. Better to create than be cloned and mindless.
Lets work on these in the
coming months, and I will provide a new lesson in the next Patriot. In the
meantime, continue to send any local Southern words from your area for us to catalogue.
GO TO LESSON TWO...