Skip to comments.Americans are angry with us for polluting their language
Posted on 02/07/2011 5:08:46 AM PST by NCjim
After mangling our language for years, Americans are complaining about the invasion of traditional British lingo, says Kath Hinton.
New Yorkers always fall for a nice English accent: whenever my well-spoken sister-in-law visits, they trill at her flowing diction and faultless vowels. Coming from Liverpool, I have a trickier time. In fact, I stopped ordering butter after three waiters in one smart restaurant failed to grasp my pronunciation. "Bootta! Bootta!" I pleaded, while my American friends wept with joy at my embarrassment.
Now, however, it is the words we Anglo-Saxons use, not how we say them, that is causing a stir. After mangling our language for years, Americans are complaining about their own dialect being polluted by "Britishisms".
New Yorker Ben Yagoda, a professor at Delaware University, is studying the invasion of traditional British lingo. He has set up a website to keep track of the wicked, uniquely British words such as "kerfuffle" or "amidst" that are creeping into everyday American usage.
Yagoda's biggest objection, he tells me, is to words for which there are "perfectly good American equivalents, like 'bits' for 'parts' and 'on holiday' instead of 'on vacation' ". They are, he says, "purely pretentious".
Of course, British English has been under assault from this side of the Atlantic for centuries. America's most notorious linguistic anarchist, Noah Webster, decided more than 200 years ago that the English couldn't spell, decreeing that theatre should become theater; favour, favor; jewellery, jewelry; and so on.
(Excerpt) Read more at telegraph.co.uk ...
Has anyone noticed that a Massachusetter trying to speak Brit English sounds like a Liverpudlian? Also of note: Scots trying to deracinate their accent sound Canadian.
Other than that, yea, it's a fairly regular word. Why are you fretting so much about a little buggers' charter anyway?
Ordinarily, I agree with your assertion. There’s nothing more pretentious than a “Shopping Centre” in the USA.....obviously, the property owner/developer is thinking that by using British spelling, he’s creating something high-class. I will however, absolutely defend H.P. Lovecraft, my all-time favorite American horror author. He was an admitted Britophile, and always used British spelling in his stories. “The Colour out of Space” just don’t have the same impact with it’s American counterpart, for me at least. So, I guess when Lovecraft did it, I’m cool with it. Other folks are just pretentious a$$h____s.
It’s interesting that you and several others defend the use of British spelling due to their fondness of literature and poetry. Having no interest in works of fiction or poetry, I cannot agree. I read history, mostly military history.
“whilst”. We don’t say that word yet so many iditos use it to try to sound British.
Luckliy, Robert Heinlein keeps me from being too pretentious. :-)
It’s German. A college friend used to say it, and I found it in Mencken.
British never could speak english!!!
Most of the time, to me, food it food, fuel, something to fill the hole, and I don’t really notice it unless it’s exceptionally good, or exceptionally bad. I thought the roast lamb, which we eat pretty regularly at home, was exceptional, as was the beef wellington, which is my all time favorite.
And the tea rooms in the US cannot seem to get the scones and clotted cream right.
And when did hooded sweatshirts become “hoodies”?
“... the cashier says that the rubbers are in the pharmacy section”.
I like to tease my British friends by saying that I’m surprised we didn’t leave earlier.
Some English food is great, and breakfast was my favorite meal there (for dinner we always had Indian). Grilled tomato half, toast standing up in the toast holder so it stays crisp, thick somewhat tough bacon . . . and mutton chops, which you can’t get here unless you pay $35 at a restaurant like Keen’s. Sausages at the cafeteria. Cornish pasties.
Of course when they try to do American food they are hopeless. Cheeseburgers with the cheese not melted.
Possibly some of this has changed since I was there. I know there was a foodie revolution there in the eighties.
That one bothers me too. It's a Canadian thing also so we Michiganders are likely to hear that a lot.
About the same time "gourmet" became "foodie".
Those two words have different meanings to me. The foodie revolution was when young, ordinary, nongourmet folks started getting into food. The eighties. Gourmets we have had with us for a long time.
I understand there is a difference, but “foodie”, “hoodie”, the ‘90s term “hottie” (for men) are all diminutive nouns. Their usage usually is meant as a subtle put-down of the item or person in question (compare to the ‘70s “trekkie” vs. “trekker” debate), or the superiority of the user over the said item.
Being from the South, standing “on line” always struck me as wrong. You stand in line, not on line. I think that’s a New York deal however, so there you go.
English breakfasts are good but can also be greasy. Kippers, however, redeem many sins but the English kitchen is greatly in need of redemption. When they used to close the pubs in the afternoons one was forced to regulate travel schedules to accommodate the strict closing hours after noon rush and until dinnertime, I could never seem to remember when to eat.
>> we are losing our regional accents <<
And I consider it a real shame. When I drive the Interstates across the South, from Virginia and the Carolinas down to Alabama and Mississippi, I now notice that the teenaged waitresses at IHOP and Cracker Barrel all use “Valley Girl speak,” pretty much identical to Britney Spears. Ugh!
And quite frankly, I'm getting sick and tired of the commercials with voice backgrounds having British accents......there's tons of them now.
I’m chuffed about this thread.
Or my all time favorite - "ax" as in "Let me ax you a question." Pure affectation, and irritating as a mofo.
I mean, really, how unaware is that?
Didn’t ‘braining’ used to mean hitting someone in the head, wheras in some parts of America (mainly gang-banger scumland) it now means ‘blow job’?
I’m a Brit and I’ve never heard that one. It must be a homegrown phenomenae...
But the English themselves have been adding words to the language for centuries - that is one of the side effects of colonialism. There are lots of imported words from arabic, urdu, hindi, spanish and dutch. There is a huge number from French. Most of what were known in Britain as “americanisms” (like “sure” for example) were in fact perfectly proper English words that had gone out of use in Britain itself. That’s interesting, as it means that the language is developing faster in Britain than it is in America, which is rather odd, as you would think it would be the other way round.
That is a very British attitude to food!
If it comes to your shores, just nip it, nip it in the bud.
When Rush was discussing his weight loss program, and he said that you have to change how you view food, I realized that I always viewed food as fuel, and eat according, and my weight at 61 is the same as it has been for 20 years.
,,, when were you last in New Zealand and what did you eat? On the four occasions I’ve been to the US I’ve had opportunities to meet wonderful people and see amazing things with the resultant resolve to keep returning. McDonalds, KFC and other such “food” options have never contributed positive composites to my decision processes. I do recall tasteless hydroponic vegetables and very reasonable priced meals, but don’t claim higher ground on food, whatever you do.
I grew up in Australia, but have been back for over 20 years. I worked hard to get rid of my accent, but some very keen listeners have picked *something* up and asked where I’m from. Only one person actually pinpointed the very scarce accent as Australian.
Grew up in England eons ago - when it was possible to detect; by accent alone, the person’s village of residence.
The English dialects are becoming homogenized - which is rather sad. I hate the present-day “BBC” accents. Everyone has identical, semi-Cockney, nasal monotones - with a tedious inflection/rythm.
I was much impressed by Christchurch, a lovely town, it reminds me in architecture of Princeton.
I have very fond recollections of New Zealand, none of them associated with food. I recall one time running a motor home into a ditch and being unable to drive it out when a farmer came along with his tractor and pulled us out. He was a genuinely nice guy and insisted on giving us a full tour of his farm. It was at the depths of socialism in New Zealand and he explained with a real tear in his eye that he was about to lose his farm and that is last hope was a pasture with a very high fence to contain dear whose antlers he harvested to be ground up as aphrodisiacs for oriental men.
I recall flying with my wife near Christchurch in an ancient biplane when the engine quit so the pilot pushed the nose down to spin the prop and get the old engine going again. Apart from this excitement, I well remember the beauty of the landscape below which rivals that of Bavaria for being green and lovely.
I remember sitting in a pub in Auckland New Zealand watching a rugby match involving the much beloved All Blacks when I was puckish enough to question, "I don't understand how you can take seriously any game played in short pants." It was a narrow thing but I did not go sailing through the window, proving beyond doubt what a sane and reasonable people the Kiwis are.
Just don't eat their food.
I particularly like “whinging” instead of “whining”, and “stupid git”. :)
,,, everything you said after that would lead me to believe you would.
Landing RVs in ditches and aviating without an engine would put me off food as well.