non-US spelling of "Traveller"


#1

Does anyone here happen to know why Marc Miller chose to use the rest-of-the-World spelling “Traveller” rather than the US spelling “Traveler” for the name of his ground-breaking sci-fi RPG Traveller? I’ve heard that it was because of the spelling of “travellers” in some edition of Dumarest. I’ve heard that it was because of Robert E. Lee’s horse.


#2

You’ve got further than me – all I’ve heard is “because Marc preferred it”.


#3

Both versions are acceptable US English


#4

That depends on what standard you apply. I copy edit for a number of US academic publishers. Not one of them has accepted the spelling “traveller” or other spellings that double a consonant that is not doubled in the root verb. That convention appears to be standard with publishers. I personally prefer the older spelling, but I’m paid to impose the newer one. . . .


#5

The rule I was taught is that a final consonant that follows a vowel is doubled before a suffix that starts with a vowel either if the last syllable before the suffix is stressed, or if the consonant is “l” or “r”. That’s the rule I follow, but I consider it very silly.


#6

My friend Jefferson Swycaffer used to complain about the American spellings by saying “traveeler” and “woreshyped.”


#7

/ˈkɪdneɪpd/

20 character minimum


#8

Is that meant to be pronounced something like “kiddnayped”? My IPA isn’t too strong. I grew up spelling the participle “kidnapped,” but I suppose it has an undoubled p now.


#9

The Dumarest explanation seems a little too convenient, but on the other hand Traveller is very much the Dumarest RPG more than any other single influence, so it’s possible. I’ve honestly never seen a serious discussion of the spelling before.

There doesn’t seem to be anything in Marc Miller’s background to have influenced his choice, unlike M.A.R. Barker who used a mix of British and American spellings due to, if I recall, a Canadian educator and travels in India.


#10

Yes. Just so.

I met the spelling “kidnaped” in some edition of Larry Niven’s short stories, and took it for American standard. But Google NGRAM viewer shows “kidnaped” as dwindling from about 1945 and “kidnapped” taking off from the late 1950s.


#11

Yeah. I don’t recall that when I heard that suggested the suggester actually produced an edition of Dumarest in which Tubb and his editors used the doubled “l”.


#12

Like a lot of US\UK ‘rules’ they have almost no historical depth.

See the use of z and s…


#13

My favourite in that way is that Australian place-names such as Sydney Harbor and Coffs Harbor are so consistently misspelled that the error-checker has marked them both earlier in this sentence.

You see, there is no such French word as *harbour. The French for “harbor” is le havre. The English word “harbor” is from Latin harbor, which has no “u” in it. But Australians have become so convinced that leaving the “u” out of words ending in “-or” is a wrong thing that American do that they stick spurious "u"s in where none belong.

At least if we stuck a “u” into “*governour” there would be some sense in that, since the Latin in gubernator.


#14

Of course you mean Tub… :wink:


#15

“Tbb”, maybe?

I haven’t read any of the Dumarest Saga, but the description of The Space-Born sounds familiar, and the title “Little Girl Lost” rings a bell.


#16

American Rock Band Living Colour (spelt with the U) released a Greatest Hits album “What’s your Favorite Color” (both without the U) - Probably to annoy sticklers for spelling on both sides of the Atlantic!

Speaking of international differences, and mentioning French reminds me that the French announcements in Canadian airports announce flights to Londres in England but London in Ontario


#17

I attended elementary school in California in the 1950s. I was taught that when a verb had a short vowel in the final syllable, followed by a consonant, you doubled the consonant when adding -ed or -er or -ing, because the sequence VCV was a signal that the first vowel was long. To the best of my knowledge this was the standard American spelling rule back then. By the time I was hired as a copy editor in 1987, the standard for most publishers was that, in most cases, the final consonant was never doubled. Presumably the transitiion took place in between those years.

Marc Miller was born in 1946, three years before I was, and Traveller was published in 1977. The spelling might not have changed by then; or Miller might have been resisting a relatively new change and going with what he was taught as a boy. (I would do so if publishers accepted it!) In any case I don’t think it calls for any special explanation.


#18

Spelling in English is as varied as the users of the language.
The British tend to use harbour in place names by the way, so one can’t discount the acknowledged influence of a French speaking nobility on English names from the 11-12th century.
Newcastle Harbour
South Tyneside, North Shields NE29 6EE
https://maps.app.goo.gl/8Nh3fDkxPDGuPKgx8


#19

Interesting. Google NGRAMS Viewer shows that “harbour” was the more common spelling in print from about 1570 to about 1880, really taking off about 1740. “Harbor” occurred only sporadically before 1790. “Sydney Harbour” occurred in print in 1827, ten years before the first occurrence of “Sydney Harbor”, and has always been more common.

I shall have to update my beliefs and my spelling practices.