I was holding off on adding to this thread until I remembered there was a cool link I wanted to share about British accents. Check it out: click on the map and listen to an accent. It’s fun! http://www.bl.uk/learning/langlit/sounds/index.html
I run into a lot of cool links when I’m checking URLs for work, and this topic reminds me of work quite a bit. I edit work by British writers and Europeans writing in English often. They are by no means precise (you hit the nail on the head BookPolice), and they use many extra unnecessary, unneeded words. I think they just like to sound smart. The two most important things I keep in mind are the author’s voice and the audience the writer is trying to reach.
In the dictionary, the first pronunciation and spelling listed are the preferred versions (note not correct
), the others are variants. The little audio icon is super helpful, esp. for foreign words, phrases, and names if they are common enough to be included in the dictionary. It’s solved many a debate between me and my fellow copyeditors.