Since I sometimes need to explain to Leïla what various English words mean, or clarify fine points of grammar (something which I appear to be spectacularly unsuccessful at), I find myself thinking about the English language more. For example, I know what a matron and patron are, but while I know the word patronize, I've never heard the word matronize.

As it turns out, "matronize" really is a word, but unlike "patronize", it appears to have no pejorative connotations, unlike the masculine form of said word. Once again, men are reduced to second-class citizens.

/me whistles innocently as he strolls away.
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If you're talking about the English language, then surely the words are "patronise" and "matronise".

Let's express our spelling differences in regular expressions, in honor of our host.
RE: Earlier - Oops... ;)

And: English is a hard language. Even most Brits don't understand it, speak it, read it, etc, half as well as they should. Of course, most Brits are really lazy with the whole second language thing too. I know plently of - what's the PC term, erm - *new residents* who speak English pretty fluently, as well as speaking 2 or 3 or languages. If I recall correctly, the Dutch are generally all Tri-lingual. On the flip side, I hardly know any Brits who can speak even one extra language. Do I feel bad about this? Of course. Am I going to do anything about it, and learn a new language? Hmmm, seems unlikely. I am, after all, the product of a lazy, self-indulgent and some what arrogant (without due cause) society ;)

That funny furriners speak better English than most English speakers speak furrin is I'm sure, because learning English is far more useful than learning any particular version of furrin, because English is the world's lingua franca (oh the irony). So their school systems put a lot of time into it. By comparison, putting a lot of time into learning, eg, French, isn't very useful, so we put some time into French, some into German, some into ... the end result being that I can get by in three furrin languages, plus at least order a beer in several more, but am not fluent in any of them.

As for -ise vs -ize, the OED prefers -ize and suggests that most of the time -ize is at least more etymologically correct. I vaguely recall reading somewhere that the English fad for -ise is a misguided post-war backlash against newly imported Americanisms. If only I could remember where I read that ...