"Common English"

Victoria Neufeldt vneufeldt at M-W.COM
Mon Sep 27 12:23:22 UTC 1999

I don't recall ever seeing the term "common English" (or "Common English")
anywhere else.  It could possibly be a useful term (although the initials
make one think of Common Era or Church of England).  There is also the
potential ambiguity of "common", which could be construed as something like


Victoria Neufeldt, Merriam-Webster, Inc.
47 Federal Street, P.O. Box 281
Springfield, MA  01102
Tel. (413) 734-3134 ext 124
Fax  (413) 827-7262

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
> Of Lynne Murphy
> Sent: Saturday, September 25, 1999 8:00 PM
> Subject: "Common English"
> Hello,
> I'm using the _BBI dictionary of English word combinations_.  It very
> helpfully distinguishes British from American English using the
> abbreviations BE and AE, but also uses "CE" which is listed in the
> abbreviations guide as "Common English".  This seems to mean "in either
> British or American English", although it's almost always used in
> contrast to AE or BE, and assumed in any entry that's not marked BE or
> AE.  Here's an example of its use.
> "In CE one can also be a fan of a certain sport--a football fan.  In CE
> one can also be a fan of a certain team--a Dodger fan, Manchester United
> fan. In BE, however, one would usu. be called a supporter of a team."
> My question is:  is the term "common English" common?  I can't find a
> definition of it in the front matter of the dictionary, and since the
> first place where I saw "CE" was not as nice and explanatory as the
> "fan" entry, I spent a lot of time finding examples of CE in order to
> deduce that "common" didn't mean "colloquial" or "Commonwealth".
> Thanks in advance,
> common Lynne
> --
> M. Lynne Murphy, Assistant Professor in Linguistics
> Department of English, Baylor University
> PO Box 97404, Waco, TX 76798 USA
> Phone:  254-710-6983     Fax:  254-710-3894
> http://www.baylor.edu/~M_Lynne_Murphy

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