I fought, I really did. One year of living in the UK, and I managed to maintain my z’s. Organization had one. Realize had one. Hell, ‘z’ was even called ‘zee’ rather than ‘zed.’
Two and a half weeks of working as a copywriter/editor in Glasgow will change one’s spelling.
The ‘u’ in ‘humour’ and ‘behaviour’ and ‘colour’ were easy, I had used them since moving over here and had, in an experimental turn in high school, managed to tick off several of my teachers who pleaded with me to spell like an American. I eventually acquiesced when my creative writing teacher got annoyed with my use of ‘whilst.’
Since coming over to the UK, I’ve embraced the previously taboo spelling. I assimilated ‘whilst’ into my vocabulary. Pants became trousers immediately (and well, undies remained undies or became pants or knickers). Favourite pub discussions became discussing language differences with my British friends and sometimes in the company of another American, one who wasn’t trying to assimilate as much as I.
Theater became theatre. Center became centre. Rotaries turned to roundabouts. Wrench became spanner. As a joke my mum sent me a British-American dictionary, which I haven’t really opened because I’ve committed a lot of the differences to memory..
I held onto my precious ‘z’s. That is, until my boss was reading what I had edited and pointed out, ‘There’s a zed there.’
‘Oops,’ I replied and promptly changed it.
‘There’s a rogue zed there,’ he said a few minutes later. ‘And another one.’
Since then, I’ve become hyper aware of zeds. And calling them zeds. I’ve renounced the ‘zee’…oh blast.