A lot of care was put into the book Movement & Form, including the choice of vocabulary. There was an amazing discussion around the choice of words in a private conversation among the backers of the first edition printing, in response to a letter by Samantha Youssef, asking for their insight and feedback. Read the letter below, discussing the choice of words for the book Movement & Form.
Letter from Samantha Youssef to the backers of the first edition printing of Movement & Form:
August 25, 2015
Before we send the book to print, there is something I want to present to you as it is a discussion my editor and I have been debating on occasion over the last week. It is a change we could easily implement in five seconds before we send the book off, and I have been putting it off as we have been focusing on wrapping up the book, but I can no longer delay the decision! As a warning, I have written a long story to explain it, so if you don't have time to read this you might want to close your email now!
As you know, the book is printed in Canada. So we are using Canadian english for the book. In a nutshell, Canadian english reflects its British heritage but also incorporates a mild french heritage flavour as well as the phonetic english influence of our American neighbours. There are certain spellings that are set in our language and some that are left to the option where we are allowed to go either way. For example, we write colour favouring British spelling, and not color as seen in American spelling. We also still use the "s" for "practising" as a verb, but "c" for "practice" as a noun. All this to say, we have two options for a particular word: "draughtsman" and/or "draftsman." Both are correct in Canadian english, though one is distinctly British and the other is distinctly American.
When I wrote the manuscript, I used the term "draughtsman". My editor has advised me, after much discussion with her colleagues, it would be preferable to use the contemporary phonetic spelling. It seems to be more commonly used in North America, and while "draughtsman" isn't wrong, it would be considered the alternative spelling.
I also recently taught a workshop and asked the group how they would spell the word, and they all wrote it as "draftsman."
I have been quite stubborn about holding onto my precious "draughtsman" word, though it seems that all arguments say that "draftsman" is the better choice. I recognize that, as the artist and reader, there is a chance it would break the flow or cause confusion as "draughtsman" comes from an older style of english. Another argument is that it can date the book since it would appear that eventually our english is moving in the phonetic direction.
The Canadian Oxford dictionary is one of the more prominent resources for Canadian english. So I looked up the word "draftsman" and saw this (including a short summary for draftsmanship):
Then I went to look up "draughtsman"...
There was also a more extensive definition for "draughtsmanship" as well as a definition for "draughtswoman" (there was none for draftswoman)
We still have the two alternative spellings for the word as viable options.
Then I thought of one of my favourite words, drawer. When I was a student in art school, I had said that "I am trying to become a better drawer". A colleague I knew pointed out to me that I should never say that word to describe ourselves, that we don't say "drawer" we say "draftsman" (they were american so I imagine that is how they would have spelled it if they had written it). As "drawer" became something that my stubborn side held on to, I thought I'd just try looking up "drawer". This is what turned up:
So I felt like that settled it! It was meant to be "draughtsman!"
However, my editor still insists that while not wrong to use "draughtsman" it would be better to use "draftsman" as it would be more widely understood. As well, most of my colleagues seem to be using "draftsman." It is also something to consider for future generations as the word seems to be more commonly used in North America.
I realize that, just like working on a film, it has to be about what makes the film best and not always about personal choices. So I feel I must step aside to a more appropriate word.
I thought that since you are all a part of making this book happen, I would put the question to you and see what your thoughts are. We're going to send it to print the blues tomorrow, so I have till then to let it swirl around in my thoughts.
To explain my love of the word "draughtsman" and why its hard for me to let go of, is that to me it encompasses qualities of drawing, whereas I see "draftsman" as referring to more technical expertise. I recognize that this is a personal distortion of the words, but it's just the glasses I'm looking at it through.
As well, I was taught it as "draughtsman". A lot of my drawing training comes from schools of thought belonging to turn of the century (late 1800's/early 1900's) art academies. My favourite books on drawing are written from artists at the turn of the century from British and European academies. My favourite artists come from that period.
Also, because of my background in ballet, I embrace and appreciate a certain way of creating art. Much like dance, there are a range of methods and varieties of the art form. I have always enjoyed trying different dance styles, contemporary, hip hop, ballet jazz, theatre dance, tango, social dancing, and so on. But there is something beautiful to me in an art form that is cultivated. There is, of course, a technical and rigid discipline to the training, but once you make it through, the expression available to you is beyond anything else. Ballet is like that, it works and trains the dancer at the highest standard, and if you achieve it, its not technical anymore but liberating and expressive. There are no limits to what you can do. Art forms like that are grounded in their traditions as well. They are cultivated. To me, "draughtsman" represents that tradition of a way of drawing. The artists at the turn of the century recognized this, they were academic, but that training allowed them to become expressive and impressionistic. So I realize it is an older word, and perhaps would not be appreciated by a contemporary audience, but it represents something more than "draftsman" to me. It represents an era and a movement.
My editor reminds me that it is my book in the end. But she, and most others, seem to prefer the term "draftsman." As well, to most people, "draftsman" would hold the same meaning as "draughtsman" does to me.
I don't want to keep a word that people won't recognize. It's about how the book reads and communicates to you, that is more important than personal quirks. So I thought I'd see your thoughts on it, if anyone cares to comment, I'd love to know! I wouldn't have procrastinated the decision if I didn't feel there was equal value to either word. It's something that I put aside as we were finishing the book, but I have to make a decision, and this is your book too! If "draughtsman" feels too awkward or disconnected, I'd rather make sure that I put in the phonetic spelling of the word. As it is right now, I've kept "draughtsman" in the book.
In any case, it's great either way, I've just procrastinated making a decision about it, so I thought if anyone wanted to contribute, I'd put it out there! :)