Testing Canada’s ‘honour’: Does orthography index ideology?
Recent studies in orthographic variation have assumed identity-driven motivations for spelling choice (Lipski 1975, Schieffelin & Doucet 1994, Sebba 2000), linking this motivation to national ideological positions. In the Canadian context, Heffernan et al. (2010) propose a method for representing the connection between national sentiment and orthography using quantitative measures and, using data extracted from the University of Alberta’s student newspaper The Gateway, demonstrate a strong quantitative correlation between anti-Americanism and a decrease in the use of American spelling variants. This paper tests the ideology/orthography connection using Heffernan et al.’s method on data from the University of British Columbia’s student newspaper The Ubyssey and finds an insignificant connection between ideology and orthography. However, this correlation appears to be indicated differently across different article genres. Observations are made on the methodological difficulty of establishing the orthography/ideology connection.