background preloader

Britishisms and the Britishisation of American English

Britishisms and the Britishisation of American English
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. "Spot on - it's just ludicrous!" snaps Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist at the University of California at Berkeley. "You are just impersonating an Englishman when you say spot on. Will do - I hear that from Americans. And don't get him started on the chattering classes - its overtones of a distinctly British class system make him quiver. But not everyone shares his revulsion at the drip, drip, drip of Britishisms - to use an American term - crossing the Atlantic. "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. Last year Yagoda set up a blog dedicated to spotting the use of British terms in American English.

Viewpoint: Why do some Americanisms irritate people? 13 July 2011Last updated at 11:41 British people are used to the stream of Americanisms entering the language. But some are worse than others, argues Matthew Engel. I have had a lengthy career in journalism. I hope that's because editors have found me reliable. I have worked with many talented colleagues. British children 'turn to American English' 29 May 2012Last updated at 09:24 ET Argentine footballer Lionel Messi was among the famous people mentioned British children are increasingly using American English in their writing, according to a report based on entries to a BBC short story competition. Americanisms: 50 of your most noted examples 20 July 2011Last updated at 02:30 The Magazine's recent piece on Americanisms entering the language in the UK prompted thousands of you to e-mail examples. Some are useful, while some seem truly unnecessary, argued Matthew Engel in the article. Here are 50 of the most e-mailed.

Are 'geek' and 'nerd' now positive terms? 15 November 2012Last updated at 20:07 ET By Kathryn Westcott BBC News Magazine Campaigners in Sweden are trying to force a dictionary to change its definition of "nerd". But after two decades of "reappropriation" has "nerd" - and its sister word "geek" - now completely lost its derogatory connotations? Viewpoint: American English is getting on well, thanks 26 July 2011Last updated at 03:52 American and British English are siblings from the same parentage. Neither is the parent of the other There's been much debate on these pages in recent days about the spread of Americanisms - outside the US. Peeve of the week: 20% correct « previous post | next post » Matthew Engel ("Why do some Americanisms irritate people?", BBC News 7/13/2011) starts out by describing the phenomenon of American lexical influence on British English. His description is even partly accurate: I have had a lengthy career in journalism.

Debate over Teesside dialect and accent continues A TEESSIDE school's attempt to get its pupils to mind their English language has been given a qualified "thumbs-up" by experts. The Gazette told yesterday how Middlesbrough Sacred Heart Primary had sent a letter home to parents, urging them to pick up on their children’s incorrect use of English - including Teesside-isms - to help their literacy skills. Headteacher Carol Walker says it will help equip pupils with the correct basic linguistic skills for life. But while the general idea has been applauded, boffins say it’s also crucial to also allow space for the distinctive Teesside dialect to flourish. Dr Peter Stockwell is professor of literary linguistics at Nottingham University.

November 2011 Words fall in and out of favour over time ‘Times may change, but the word times is not changing that much.’ The opening sentence of the researcher Paul Baker’s article invites us to consider how the frequencies of particular words in the English language rise and fall over time. 100,000 BC: Mankind talks LIFE as we know it would be impossible without language — and yet it is a remarkably recent development in our evolution. Putting a date on when mankind first developed language is pure speculation. But the strongest theory is linked to the variety of sophisticated stone tools being made around 50,000 BC. The skills for making them must have been passed down the generations, and scientists say that is unlikely to have happened without language.

Who makes a language change begin? Are gregarious people linguistic innovators? What kind of people are the first to use a new language feature and so kick off a change in the language? As Derek Denis points out, we can’t predict a language change before it starts, so not much is known about who introduces language innovations. However, a set of interviews from York, England, recorded about 14 years ago, unintentionally captured the start of a change in general extender forms in spoken English.

1215: King John and Magna Carta THE signing of the Magna Carta is traditionally seen as the moment when English kings acknowledged that even they must obey the law of the land. The ceremony itself, on the banks of the River Thames at Runnymede, marked the climax of King John’s struggle with his barons. The dispute had its roots in the feudal structure of English society. Under the feudal system relationships between the King and his barons were dictated by a complex list of rights and duties. How King John signed the Magna Carta (Angevin Film Productions) Short documentary on King John and explanation of Magna Carta from Angevin Film Productions

Forming New Words: Compounds, Clipped Words, and Blends in English written by: Heather Marie Kosur • edited by: Tricia Goss • updated: 10/17/2014 The word formation processes of compounding, clipping, and blending are important concepts when creating words. Also included for download are vocabulary lists of common English compounds, clipped words, and blends. Compounding Compounding is the word formation process in which two or more lexemes combine into a single new word.

Dear sir, do U have NE nice eZ jobs 4 me 2 do? Report finds young people have unrealistic expectations of jobs market and write applications in text speak Many youth only want jobs in sport, pop culture or media, report findsThey cannot turn up to interviews on time and do not prepare for workUse slang on job applications thanks to influence of texting and internet By Daily Mail Reporter Published: 00:33 GMT, 25 April 2013 | Updated: 08:41 GMT, 25 April 2013 Unrealistic expectations: Young candidates are applying for jobs in 'text speak' and cannot even turn up punctually for an interview Young people have ‘unrealistic expectations’ of the job market - with most saying they only want a job if it is in popular culture, media or sport, a damning report reveals today. Many employers are desperate to recruit, but say they are confronted by candidates who apply for jobs in ‘text speak’ and cannot even turn up punctually for an interview, according to the report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Omnishambles named word of the year by Oxford English Dictionary 13 November 2012Last updated at 06:23 ET Foul-mouthed fictional spin doctor Malcolm Tucker has left his mark on the English language "Omnishambles" has been named word of the year by the Oxford English Dictionary. The word - meaning a situation which is shambolic from every possible angle - was coined in 2009 by the writers of BBC political satire The Thick of It. But it has crossed over into real life this year, said the judges.