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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.

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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. Learn English online: How the internet is changing language Online, English has become a common language for users from around the world. In the process, the language itself is changing. When America emerged from the ashes of a bruising war with Britain in 1814, the nation was far from united. Noah Webster thought that a common language would bring people together and help create a new identity that would make the country truly independent of the British. Webster's dictionary, now in its 11th edition, adopted the Americanised spellings familiar today - er instead of re in theatre, dropping the u from colour, and losing the double l from words such as traveller. It also documented new words that were uniquely American such as skunk, opossum, hickory, squash and chowder.

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. 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? - Differences between American and British English American English (AmE) is the form of English used in the United States. British English (BrE) is the form of English used in the United Kingdom and the rest of the British Isles. It includes all English dialects used within the British Isles.

New York, a graveyard for languages 15 December 2012Last updated at 19:13 ET By Dr Mark Turin Linguist and broadcaster Home to around 800 different languages, New York is a delight for linguists, but also provides a rich hunting ground for those trying to document languages threatened with extinction. To hear the many languages of New York, just board the subway. The number 7 line, which leads from Flushing in Queens to Times Square in the heart of Manhattan takes you on a journey which would thrill the heart of a linguistic anthropologist. Each stop along the line takes you into a different linguistic universe - Korean, Chinese, Spanish, Bengali, Gujarati, Nepali. And it is not just the language spoken on the streets that changes.

Why Slang Is Good For You Today's program puts special attention on language and identity — how they coincide and why those intersections matter. Michael Adams is an associate Professor of English at Indiana University who studies one important intersection of language and identity: slang. He says slang keeps us sharp — and that there is creative value in the creation of new language among different social groups. "It's not just slang, but any language that's significantly different from what we expect exercises the brain and engages us," Adams says. "We've got lots of room in language to be creative, to twist a word around a little bit, or the form of a sentence around a little bit to be clever." 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.

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. Why Do Brits and Americans Spell Words Differently? Two people, one common language… sort of. Center vs. centre, color vs. colour, realize vs. realise — a seemingly endless list of spelling divergences have cropped up in the 250 years since the colonies and United Kingdom were ruled by one and the same king. Why are there so many differences in British and American spelling, and how did they creep in? Each word has its own unique history, but the primary mover and shaker in this transatlantic drama is the nineteenth century American lexicographer Noah Webster, he of dictionary fame. According to "A History of English Spelling" (Manchester University, 2011) by D.G. Scragg, Webster's dictionary of 1828 is largely responsible for standardizing the accepted spelling of American English.

Manx: Bringing a language back from the dead 30 January 2013Last updated at 19:47 ET A Manx dictionary on the Isle of Man flag Condemned as a dead language, Manx - the native language of the Isle of Man - is staging an extraordinary renaissance, writes Rob Crossan. Road signs, radio shows, mobile phone apps, novels - take a drive around the Isle of Man today and the local language is prominent. But just 50 years ago Manx seemed to be on the point of extinction. "If you spoke Manx in a pub on the island in the 1960s, it was considered provocative and you were likely to find yourself in a brawl," recalls Brian Stowell, a 76-year-old islander who has penned a Manx-language novel, The Vampire Murders, and presents a radio show on Manx Radio promoting the language every Sunday.

A very concise dictionary of student slang Student slang is a rapidly changing lingo, and you don't want to get caught out during freshers week confusing "hench" with "dench". In the interests of preserving your cool, here's our glossary of well-worn faves. Feel free to add local variants and new witticisms in the comments. 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. 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.

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