Monday, January 28, 2013

Thackeray's use of -ise/-ize verbs in Vanity Fair

In which I list all the instances of this type of verb in Mr. Thackeray's fine work and note certain inconsistencies in the spelling thereof, and do the same for Mr. Darwin and his Origin of Species.


This is part of an investigation I've been doing into the use and spelling of -ize suffix verbs and their spelling (-ize or -ise) in British English. For more details, related posts and the methods I've used, see the -ize / -ise page.
I'm also interested in the development of the use of -ize suffix verbs (eg realize/realise), compared with the use of French-based -ise verbs (eg surprise). And in the extent to which there was consistency in the spelling of these verbs, or a lack of it, in early publishing.
From very early on The -ise/-ize suffix verbs were spelt almost exclusively with a Z, but something happened at the beginning of the 19th century, and the S spelling suddenly became popular in Britain.
During the transition period writers and/or publishers weren't always very consistent. Vanity Fair excellently illustrates both the increase in the use of -ise/-ize verbs (and their derivatives), and this inconsistency.

Vanity Fair

The quickest way to search for these verbs is probably at the HTML version at Project Gutenberg, but this is from an American edition, so all are shown with a z ending. Fortunately, there is an 1849 edition, illustrated by the author and from the original London publishers, at Google Books (links below).
I've listed all the -ise/-ize verbs I can find. An interesting pattern emerges: -ise endings are in the majority, but there are a few -ize endings as well. And in some case the same word is used with both forms.

The verbs in question

Clicking on the links will take you to the relevant pages in the version at Google Books
appear with both s and z endings
recognise (5)recognize (3)
recognised (8)recognized (3)
patronises (2)
patronised (9)patronized (2)
appear only with s endings
appear only with z endings

1859 Charles Darwin, Origin of the Species

This inconsistent use of -ise and -ize endings doesn't seem that unusual. In the 1861 edition of Darwin's Origin of the Species, there are a hundred or so -ise/-ize suffix verbs with S, but there are also ten with Z endings, sometimes with the same verbs in two versions.
naturalised (18)naturalized
organised (10)
recognise (4)(-ed 7)
civilised (6)civilized (3)
uncivilised (3)
fertilise (3)(-ed 9, -es 2)
characterized (3)characterized
acclimatised (2)
economise (2)
specialise (1)(-ed 7)
hybridiser (1)hybridizer
colonised (2)
homologise (1)
authorised (not found)
In the Project Gutenberg version there are more than thirty instances of experimentised, but these seem to have been changed to experimented in this edition. However the New York edition of 1861 still has three instances of experimentised, but none for experimented

Related post



Vanity Fair

Origin of the Species


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