I recently saw on an ex-pats column that immigrants felt they had become American when they were used to spelling favour as favor and colour as color. Those unnecessary silent U’s are gone when you settle stateside – but it still feels weird and different for a long time.
But how are such people, as well as properly educated English speakers worldwide, getting the hang of all these new program and software names: Flickr, Tumblr, Waze, Wickr, Loopt and many others that have lost a vowel along the way? Interestingly enough, these are still easy to read and understand – at least for us native English speakers. Our poor foreign colleagues may have just figured out why enuff is spelled enough so this might actually not be that hard.
Most of these shortened names also work because they are used primarily in an online context. So the salesman doesn’t have to explain “its Flickr without the e” on each phone call. Rather the users just see and except it. The fact that flickr and flicker are identical from a trademark point of view, seems to be irrelevant. The USPTO and other trademark bodies may even be allowing these spelling changes more frequently now and not saying they are generics (when spelled right). I will try to confirm this later.
I had long ago predicted (mostly incorrectly it turns out) that we would turn to more foreign words for naming as we ran out of English words. We even did a blog on the success of Gyazo which is a very Japanese word. But I forgot that American are so weak in foreign languages. Instead they prefer interesting new spellings like in these company and product names: Carvana, Eventbriter, Trillist, Zappos, Vivint, BonzoMe, Bubblews, Fyreplug, etc.
PS Some have gone the other way. For example: Digg is a great name. And all they did is add a g that does not get pronounced but adds a lot of strength and emphasis to the written name.
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