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Basically, I would like to know which of the above is correct, and in what type of context.

From what I understand, the difference between characterisation and characterization might be that one of them is used in American English and the other in British English, but what about charactarisation? Is that written incorrectly?

I just found charactarisation in the title of a thesis, and I find it difficult to believe that they may have made a mistake in such an obvious place as the title. Maybe it has a different meaning? The title was this:

Charactarisation of submillimeter galaxies in the field of a protocluster around the high-redshift radio galaxy MRC1138-262

Is that correct, and if so, does it mean something specific?

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    No, it's just a spelling error. – Glorfindel Feb 9 '17 at 11:02
  • Okay, thank you. And what about characterisation and characterization*? Which one is American english and which one is British? – Alba Crespo Pérez Feb 9 '17 at 12:44
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As with most words ending in -isation or -ization, characterisation is the British English form and characterization is the American English form.

Charactarisation is just a spelling error; things like that happen even in theses.

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  • This must have been covered many times but the -ise ending is not the traditional British English ending (i.e. was not used in the early post-war period in Britain, although does occur earlier). It has spread through the newspapers and the dictionary of lowest authority — MS Word. – David Feb 9 '17 at 20:16
  • There's probably another question on that topic. I'm a continental European and prefer 'British' spelling for everything but the -ise/-ize words. – Glorfindel Feb 9 '17 at 20:54
  • — Germanic I assume, but if you were French you would probably prefer the -ise. Although it's completely off-topic, I find it bizarre that the -ize of my youth has been rejected by newspapers such as The Financial Times that are aggressively courting the US market. – David Feb 9 '17 at 21:03
  • Yes, Dutch (see my profile). Which is quite strange, because our version of the word is karakterisering. Well, that's the literal translation; we'd probably use kenmerken in this case. – Glorfindel Feb 9 '17 at 21:05

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