What’s ‘jail’ in English?

According to an article I recently read discussing how the world might look within the next 100 years, the only 3 languages left will be English, Spanish and Mandarin. To be fair, the only part I disagree with is Mandarin- those Chinese are getting to grips with that bastard, largely-Germanic language of English rather well these days.
But which ‘English’ are we talking about?
Anybody, for example, know that the British English spelling of a role (as in a part in a play, id est) is rôle? Like the ô in Welsh- I know. I smiled too! And ‘jail’ is a Yank term for ‘gaol’!
To avoid the risk of a trans-Atlantic literacy fight, I choose to express being in prison as being inCARCERated…. From the Welsh ‘carchar’ and/or Irish Gaelic ‘cárcar’ meaning prison! Woop! ‘IN’ being from Latin, I expect!
But be honest, how many of you lot write gaol and rôle? I bet they haven’t been seen together in a sentence for about 400 years.
‘Thieves have an important rôle to play in gaol’. Oooh, I feel like I’m on Time Team!
And being a fan of science, I’m rather disheartened to hear that the official international spelling of ‘sulphur’ is now ‘sulfur’…. Hmm!
And on a more personal level, according to Chris Moyles Quiz Night on Channel 4, the ONLY correct spelling of ‘ukelele’ is ‘ukulele’…. The one with the 3 es is the British way! Perhaps we should push for the Welsh spelling to be the internationally accepted orthography- iwcalîlî!
¿What’s ‘Smiley face’ in Spanish, then? 🙂


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