Judge, Judgment, and Judgement

Well, that happened sooner than I thought it would.

Confessions time, not all errors are unintentional.  And one man’s error is another man’s… nuance.

The title of this collection of book reviews is Book Judgement. Judgement. With two e‘s.

There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a fine title. That is providing you’re not stuck with a group of individuals who believes language is meant to bow to the will of the loudest. You see, there are two spellings of the word that means the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions. There is judgment and there is judgement. Yes, there are two recognized spellings of the word. Unless you choose not to recognize the older version.

Some will tell you that the e is removed in American spelling, following a purge of silent e’s especially when a suffix is added to the root word. The British word contains an e, if for no better reason than it was there from the beginning. Still others say that the spelling without the e is more common, and by that more correct. Which makes me shiver with fear given the widespread use of words like thx, the XMas of gratitudinal utterances. 

The OED, or Oxford English Dictionary, which evolves at the speed of a petulant glacier, lists the +e spelling first, listing the -e spelling as an alternate, but using the +e spelling in all examples of the form.

judgementOED

You have to love the OED to put up with reading it by magnifying glass. Oh, look! There’s Judgement!

When I play Scrabble, we use the OED as our judge. It seems appropriate that Book Judgement should follow that inclination, if only as an amusing artifact or to start a bar bet.  And it has the benefit, in my humble opinion, of looking nicer as a word. Really, how do you parse that dgm bit without imagining an e in there to arbitrate the alveolar, glottal, and bilabial nasal sounds without spitting on the listener.

Sorry for that image. Here, have an imaginary towel.

I also think the word looks prettier. Yes, I see beauty in words, in typography, in layout. Are you sure you’re reading the right blog?

In any case, and as I may have gotten too confusing here, people who disagree with my logic (or at least my eccentricity)  can have it their way as well.  Just type http://www.bookjudgment.com into your browser. Isn’t the Internet a magical place?

Everyone happy now?

Judgement…

OK, it sounds a bit harsh, but it’s really all about love.

I love books. Not just the reading of them, although that’s kind of the real point. I love the composition of books.  Their look, smell, feel, and often sound. I stop short of tasting them, at least most of the time.

Typographers, book binders, designers, and even authors spend a lot of time making books not only satisfying to read, but lovely to behold. Something to cherish on the shelf as much as in the mind. To have and to hold.

So that’s what this blog is about. Short love letters to the beauty of books. And maybe a few stings to opportunities not met.

But just a few.

I judge.

And I do hope you’ll enjoy, and if you want to, please contribute! You can judge too.

-Ric Bretschneider
June 24th, 2014 8:15PM