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Different Spellings of English Words

2001, August 30. Thursday. Arltunga Historical Reserve.

In the harsh outback regions of Australia, nature breaks down man made roads and buildings quickly. Many communities have dealt with this by making their homes in the one place entirely protected from the elements – under the earth. This has the added advantage of temperature control, as extreme heat and cold do not penetrate the ground quickly, and temperature usually stays close to twenty-two degrees Celsius (ådegrees Fahrenheit).

But imagine slaving a twelve-hour day down a dusty, dark mineshaft, then returning to an underground home. The thought of a cosy protected place would not seem so inviting. The historic mining community at Arltunga was all built above the ground, and although they were well built – all made of stone - today very few of the buildings could be described as anything more than ruins. Those which are still standing have been restored by the Australian Heritage Trust.


The best preserved of the remains which we saw, was a sturdy little jailhouse standing beside the police station, but even this would not keep its strength under the conditions. In 1911, the officer who was in charge at Alice Springs reported that the Arltunga Police station was in poor condition and that: “the last time I saw a European prisoner in custody there, he was tied up by chain to the leg of the constable’s bed.”

Some members of the team were struck by the spelling of the word ‘jail’ a.k.a. ‘gaol’ on the signposts at the police station site. As an Australian, both spellings are familiar to me, though some of the others had never seen one or the other version.

You may have noticed in our updates that some of us spell words differently, especially ‘colour / color’ and ‘metre / meter’. We also noticed (when discussing out recycling system) that the Americans in the group say ‘Aluminum’ while the English and Australian way is ‘Aluminium’. We discovered that this particular example occurred because the first English dictionaries to be taken to the United States of America contained a printing error omitting the second ‘i’

Looking at our past updates, what examples can you find examples of different spelling variations? Perhaps you can find some typos we missed!



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