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Britishisms invade American language

Courtesy a reader, from the BBC:

There is little that irks British defenders of the English language more than Americanisms, which they see creeping insidiously into newspaper columns and everyday conversation. But bit by bit British English is invading America too.

Some find it annoying. Others do not:

“I enjoy seeing them,” says Ben Yagoda, professor of English at the University of Delaware, and author of the forthcoming book, How to Not Write Bad.

“It’s like a birdwatcher. If I find an American saying one, it makes my day!”

The popularity of certain Brit TV shows, the Interweb and the prominence of Brit journalists in America may be to blame. We may have to start dubbing “Downton Abbey” like we did with “Mad Max,” which—I’m not joking here—I’ve yet to watch in the original Strine.

Of course, the linguistic outrages go the other way, too—read the BBC’s “Viewpoint: Why do some Americanisms irritate people?” and “Americanisms: 50 of your most noted examples.”

About the author: Just the administrator of this humble blog.

  • http://vmphotography.com.au hoju_saram

    I predict Keith will say something pompous and dogbert will heckle him.

  • keith

    Pompous? I read the story earlier and was heartened by it. The US might not be doomed after all. If they improve their English, if their the government doesn’t start any more pointless wars, and the citizens don’t vote for that Romney idiot then the US might be able to regain some of its former glory. I’m not a huge fan of politicians in general, but if Mitt ‘Magic Underpants’ Romney is the best the GOP can come up with it is a sad reflection on them. If people vote for the daft twat China does deserve to take over as the world’s number one military power.

    @Hoju. I couldn’t really give a stuff about Dogdirt’s musings if I tried. The only time I care about dog dirt is if I have the misfortune to tread in some. Fortunately the dog owners in my neighbourhood are actually quite good about cleaning up their animals’ faeces.

  • eujin

    I predict Keith will say something pompous and dogbert will heckle him.

    So now we’re justing waiting for dogbert’s heckle.

    There’s an interesting conference this week in California about the benefits of using CNG in the automobile industry. I propose we task someone like Keith with explaining to the great America consumer that they need use gas in their cars instead of what they’ve been using up to now.

  • characteristic

    This is purely anecdotal with probably little or no scientific basis, but my impression is that native English speakers in Australia tend to speak better (vocab, grammar, articulation…) than native English speakers in America. Or maybe it’s just the crowd I hang out with in America.

  • dogbertt

    It’s merely interesting to me that a whin(g)y Pom exiled to Korea thinks he is an expert on how other countries can regain their “former glory”. The only glory Keef knows is the one attached to “hole”.

    As far as native English speakers in Australia speaking English better than native English speakers in the U.S., get back to me when the Australians master the long A vowel. Or stop saying things like “arvo”.

  • dogbertt

    I’m not a huge fan of politicians in general, but if Mitt ‘Magic Underpants’ Romney is the best the GOP can come up with it is a sad reflection on them.

    Fortunately, religious bigotry has no place in the U.S., so your mocking doesn’t really carry any weight on the ground here. As I have pointed out previously, “magic underwear” is really no different than “curly strings” that Orthodox Jews wear, or the “pompous mitre” of the Catholic clergy.

    Not to mention, that as the most American of religions, there is nothing at all wrong with having a president be a Mormon.

    But what the fuck do you know? The head of the U.K.’s polity is a family of fucking nudists.

  • jk641

    ouch.

    I was gonna say something nasty to keith for saying,

    If people vote for the daft twat China does deserve to take over as the world’s number one military power.

    Never mind.

  • http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/ jefferyhodges

    I’ve added “whinge” to my American vocabulary . . . but I grew up speaking nonstandard English, anyway, like “yore’uhnz’iz” as the plural possessive “yours” or “stout” with the old meaning of “strong” or “fixin’ to” for the imminent decided future “going to.”

    I sometimes wasn’t understood well at university . . .

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  • keith

    “But what the fuck do you know? The head of the U.K.’s polity is a family of fucking nudists.”

    I really hope that English is not your first language Mr. Dogdirt. Do you know that the ‘magic underpants’ thing with mormons is only one of the many very weird things about them? As for the ‘most American of religions’ tripe, surely that is an honour that should go to scientology?

    My dislike for Romney isn’t so much about his religion, it’s more down to the fact that the guy seems to be a hypocritical, immoral arsehole and a racist to boot. Mormons, if they really believe in all that nonsense are racists. I don’t know what the nudist thing you referred to is supposed to be a reference to, but nudists are certainly less dangerous to the world than racists. Romney, quite frankly, comes across as a sociopath. I think you can tick many of these boxes in what defines a sociopath when it comes to most politicians, Romney more than most though – http://www.mcafee.cc/Bin/sb.html

    As regards my bigotry, I’m certainly not intolerant of people who believe in weird stuff. I just think it’s amusing to make jokes about folks who hold the strangest ideas and most extremists fall into this category. I saw a book a while ago that needs a new title, it was called ‘Religion for Dummies’, I should have wrote to the publisher and suggested they change it to ‘Religion is for Dummies’.

    Who can take anyone seriously who believes in magic stones, magic underpants, tin foil hats to defeat government mind control rays, bread turning into human flesh, xenu, immaculate conception, stoning homosexuals to death, murdering writers and cartoonists, talking snakes, killing doctors, killing people who have other-no faith than one’s own? Those people are the bigots and they, the extremists of all religions are sick and need help. Religion is mysterious, it’s a mystery why anyone believes in all that nonsense in this day and age.

    Next you’ll be admitting that you’re a member of Shinjongji-Mannam cult and-or telling us that you read David Ike!

  • babotaengi

    Joy!

  • hardyandtiny

    “spot on” is not there yet, “fuck off” is in.

  • mickster

    It’s interesting to know so many expressions of the “standard American English” that I learned in school or other educational materials here in Japan are irritating Amercanisms in the home of the English language.

  • Koreansentry

    Chinese, Koreans, Japanese and Mongolian even every SE Asians don’t share common language. Only Americans (North & South) does, speaks predominantly English (British language), Spanish & Portuguese. The “language” represent main cultural identity.

  • mickster

    “nudists are certainly less dangerous to the world than racists.”
    Mmm. I like that.

  • dogbertt

    “Prince” Phillip is the biggest racist of all.

    Wouldn’t surprise me if much of the “royal” family is the same.

    As far as Mormonism, if you judge one religion harshly for its fantasy components, you should be fair (tough concept for a chav, granted) and judge other religions the same. You should also consider the good aspects of Mormonism.

    I’m not a Romney supporter, but fuck me if an ignorant chav who couldn’t make it in bonny olde England will spout off ignorantly about him.