Volume 92, Issue 59

Wednesday, January 13, 1999

sleeping with the enemy


Millenium paranoia won't destroy you

Finding "U" with a graduation degree

Finding "U" with a graduation degree

Two years ago, a letter appeared in this very newspaper questioning the spelling on that hallowed piece of paper for which we are all here for – the university degree.

The student asked, having 18 years of formal education, whether we should see the culmination of our efforts misspelt on that ribbon-bound document. Everyone knows "honour" is spelled with a "u" – only Americans and illiterates (forgive me for being redundant) would disagree.

Admittedly, the recently published Oxford Canadian English Dictionary recognizes both spellings (they also recognize 200 different pronunciations of parmesan). Surely this is due to the multiplicity of usages which result for the most part from the influence of print journalism and other media from our southern neighbours.

However, a decisive step was taken a few months ago by our own national news agency – the Canadian Press. The agency reverted to British English spellings due to overwhelming consistency on the part of their member papers. So now we can see "honour" in The Globe and Mail, not to mention the publication in your hands at this moment, but you will not find it on your degree.

I have but a few months until my degree is in my hands and I sincerely hope that the administration will sort themselves out in time for my "honours" designation to be spelled correctly. Undoubtedly, the offices involved will claim the paperwork and time necessary for such a conversion would be too great. The problem is that only positive support will make the administration act and the issue does not seem highly important.

You know what though? I put in a lot of time and money for this degree and it is going to bug me years from now if nothing is done. It's got to happen soon – why not this year?

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Copyright The Gazette 1999