Brief notice: judg(e)ment

Comment from strangeguitars on my “Internet enlightenment” posting, about the difficult road to the Zen state of Internet enlightenment (no longer caring when someone is wrong on the Internet):

A difficult road, indeed; I wouldn’t have made it past “judgment” (it hurts to type that!).

Judgment is in the strip dialogue itself, not in the erroneously spelled passage within the strip:

Insecurity leads to conceit. Conceit leads to judgment. Judgment leads to being an asshole.

Commenter RF responded:

Strangeguitars: Are you British? In the US the normal spelling is, indeed, “judgment.”

My recollection is that strangeguitars is in fact American, so I was puzzled by his comment. From NOAD2:

usage: In British English, the normal spelling in general contexts is judgement. However, the spelling judgment is conventional in legal contexts, and standard in North American English.

What we have here is variation on a tiny insignificant point of spelling. Both spellings are entirely clear. The British spelling preserves the identity of the base verb judge; the American spelling omits an unnecessary letter (since DG represents the affricate /dƷ/ with or without the E). Faithfulness vs. brevity.

(There is similar variation in acknowledg(e)ment.)

3 Responses to “Brief notice: judg(e)ment”

  1. Robert Coren Says:

    I’m not British, but the spelling without the e offends my tender sensibilities. I’m not sure why, unless it’s an (apparently erroneous) belief that the e is necessary to soften the g.

  2. Randy Alexander Says:

    [I changed my gravatar profile to show my real name instead of my username, strangeguitars.]

    Just my pet peeve:

    It’s exactly the idea that the e is necessary to soften the g that makes “judgment” cringeworthy to me. I’m quite aware that the “briefer” spelling is the more common by far (25x more common), but it still rubs me the wrong way.

    As for the dg combination, I understand the function of the d to be a way of separating the preceding vowel from the following e so as to avoid the vowel-consonant-e combination. (Of course that doesn’t explain why t is often added before ch in the voiceless version of this affricate.)

  3. Jonathan Lundell Says:

    OED cites notable colonials Cromwell, Carlyle, Pope and many others using “judgment”.

Leave a Reply


%d bloggers like this: