disc and disk

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by mathman, Nov 15, 2019.

  1. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    Are these two words (disc, disk) completely synonymous, or are they used in different contexts? If syn., why both spellings?
     
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  3. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Disk is American English for British English disc. (The French is disque.) So they are indeed synonyms, cf. traveller and traveler, colour and color etc.
     
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  5. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

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    There are some particular cases where it depends on the object.
    E.g. magnetic storage devices such as hard disk drives, or floppy disks, etc, irrespective of whether you are English or UK, and similarly you have Compact Discs, which is also used in the UK and US.
    Some sports use disc, not disk, and in medicine I think it may even depend which field it is that determines the preferred spelling.
    But otherwise, year, in general the K is the US and the C is the UK preferred way, although K is increasingly more common in the UK.
     
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  7. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah, more cultural imperialism.

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  8. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    I think the rot started in UK English (and Australian English too, which is closer to UK than to US) when floppy disks (discs?) became consumer items. Since a lot of the technology was imported from the US, the terminology went with it.

    Speaking personally, these days I tend to refer to computer disks with a "k" and to other kinds of discs with a "c", but at this point in time that's little more than a personal idiosyncrasy. It would be fighting a battle that is already lost to try to insist on one spelling or the other. In the end, I think "disk" will win through sheer weight of numbers.

    On another topic, my spelling checker just corrected me when I wrote "artifact" instead of "artefact". On checking, I discover that I have been corrupted by US influences in this matter of spelling!
     
  9. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    It's impossible to be corrupted by U.S. trends. All trends should derive from U.S. standards, obviously.

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    You have discs associated with your spine. You have floppy disks in older computers. The "disk" spelling is mainly computer related.

    None of this makes any sense of course but that's the U.S. way. Everyone else should follow.

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  10. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 70 years old Valued Senior Member

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    Why?

    Race to the bottom?

    Guess the US has increased the number of standards it has by lumping in the low ones

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  11. Seattle Valued Senior Member

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    Someone's got to be at the bottom. We might as well be the best at it. Go, USA!
     

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