European CentER for Constitutional and Human Rights?!

David   Tue Oct 30, 2007 11:29 pm GMT
There is a new website called "European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights":

I think it's an example of bad spelling choice. They say they are a EUROPEAN centre and have a European perspective, but the use the American spelling "Center" in their name.

I wonder if they don't realize that the only English-speaking countries in Europe are the UK and Ireland...
Guest   Tue Oct 30, 2007 11:37 pm GMT
I agree, CENTRE would be better. Maybe some Euro burocrats are so obsessed with US that they immitate their spelling.
David   Tue Oct 30, 2007 11:47 pm GMT
That's not the reason... the European Union institutions always use British spelling.
This new centre is organized by a number of people from Germany.
Maybe they are not even aware that the spelling is not suitable. It might be a good idea to send them an email.
Lazar   Wed Oct 31, 2007 12:19 am GMT
I agree that if they define themselves as a European organization, they should definitely use British spelling.
furrykef   Wed Oct 31, 2007 1:56 am GMT
I don't think that being a European organization should require you to use British spelling. After all, the more important thing is to have an international language, and US English also makes a reasonable international standard whether or not the US is involved. (Of course, British English does, too.) It would be odd for them to make that decision deliberately, though, so my guess is that it was indeed an oversight.

If they had the page in every major language in Europe, meaning that most of the people reading the English page would be British, then using US English would indeed be inappropriate. But the only languages offered are German and English, so it could be read by people from just about anywhere. That doesn't really provide any reason to use US English over British English, but it does make it seem less inappropriate.

- Kef
Kef   Wed Oct 31, 2007 6:30 am GMT
I hope you are not a native English speaker, because your second paragraph makes no sense.
furrykef   Wed Oct 31, 2007 7:14 am GMT
I am. What doesn't make sense about it? I reread it and don't see any grammar mistakes or lack of clarity of thought. I could have worded it better, probably, but it's comprehensible.

Here, let me put it this way. You can view their website in either English or German, right? If instead they offered a list of European languages by region, like "English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Romanian," etc., then it wouldn't make sense to use US English because US English is not a European language. But that's not how they're doing it... they offer German and English. The English website might be read by not only anybody from England, but also anybody from Spain, France, Italy, Romania, etc. The more important thing in that case would be to have an international language and not strictly a European one. There's no rule that says a website for a European organization has to be in a European language. It only works out that way because most Europeans speak only European languages. If, hypothetically, 50% of people in Europe spoke Chinese as a second language and nobody spoke it as a native language, it would still make sense to offer their page in Chinese.

That said, again, I don't think there is terribly much advantage in using US English over British English in this situation. Indeed, I would prefer British English in that situation myself, mostly because the differences are so small. All I'm saying is that the logic that a European organization must use a European language is somewhat flawed. But, hypothetically, if there were a chance that US English would be understood more readily by people in other countries than British English, then US English would be a more appropriate choice even though it isn't European.

- Kef
Guest   Wed Oct 31, 2007 7:14 am GMT
I don't unterstand the last comment. I think I understand what Kef wanted to say.

But I agree with the others that "center" is not a good choice if it was made deliberately. Both British and American English can be used for an international audience. But being "European" really makes the choice "centre" more appropriate, because "centre" reflects European culture in the title.
Guest   Wed Oct 31, 2007 7:35 am GMT
How does spelling reflect culture?
Guest   Wed Oct 31, 2007 10:15 pm GMT
Re: How does spelling reflect culture?

"centre" is spelled that way because of French influence on the English language, while "center" is spelled that way in the US, because Webster wanted to cut ties to British tradition and simplify the spelling.
Guest   Wed Oct 31, 2007 10:21 pm GMT
I don't think that Center simplifies the spelling of Centre too much. Anyway many USamericans don't pronounce the t, so it would be Sener.
servan   Wed Oct 31, 2007 10:33 pm GMT
I am a European citizen who speaks US English and I am not a British citizen, so it sounds good to me that this European Center uses American spelling
Milton   Thu Nov 01, 2007 2:15 am GMT
NATO/Military uses US English, at least in Southern and Eastern Europe.
David   Thu Nov 01, 2007 12:53 pm GMT
Well, I am also a European (and not a native speaker), and I don't like the spelling "center" too much, because it's not a European spelling. "Centre" is a European spelling, however.

@Milton: NATO does use British English as a standard. Have a look at their website, for example: (defence) (programmes)
Milton   Thu Nov 01, 2007 2:56 pm GMT
9.440 results on ''defense''
2.730 results on ''programs''

I don't like British spellings, I think US spellings like center, color, labor
are much closer to the Latin origins. US spellings are also used in Canadian scientific literature and some of them (like Labor) are used in Australia too.