American and British English spelling differences

Despite the various English dialects spoken from country to country and within different regions of the same country, there are only slight regional variations in English orthography, the two most notable variations being British and American spelling. Many of the differences between American and British English date back to a time before spelling standards were developed. For instance, some spellings seen as "American" today were once commonly used in Britain, and some spellings seen as "British" were once commonly used in the United States.

British and American spellings around the world:
  British analyse/defence/labour/organise/programme dominant; English is an official or majority language
  American analyze/defense/labor/organize/program dominant; English is an official or majority language
  Canadian analyze/defence/labour/organize/program[me] dominant; English is one of two official languages along with French
  Australian analyse/defence/labour (but Labor Party)/organise/program dominant; English is the de facto language
  English is not an official language; British spelling is dominant
  English is not an official language; American spelling is dominant

A "British standard" began to emerge following the 1755 publication of Samuel Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language, and an "American standard" started following the work of Noah Webster and, in particular, his An American Dictionary of the English Language, first published in 1828.[1] Webster's efforts at spelling reform were somewhat effective in his native country, resulting in certain well-known patterns of spelling differences between the American and British varieties of English. However, English-language spelling reform has rarely been adopted otherwise. As a result, modern English orthography varies only minimally between countries and is far from phonemic in any country.


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