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Two articles about "Americanisms".

This one is written by a journalist and it's about language that originated in America that has made its way into British English.

I had no idea that words like "talented" and "reliable" were once (or are still) considered objectionable.

Readers were invited to contribute their own Americanisms:

The list from readers is a mishmash of corporate jargon (e.g., "deplane"), abbreviations ("24/7"), phrases that mean something naughtier in British English than in American English ("fanny pack"), terminology that's different in different areas ("shopping cart" vs. "shopping trolley," "bi-weekly" vs. "fortnightly," "math" vs. "maths"), grammatical constructions ("can I get a"), words that have been turned into verbs ("alphabetize," "burglarize"), pop-culture memes that turn into more or less universal slang ("my bad"), words/phrases that I think are regionalisms rather than Americanisms ("that'll learn you," "where's it at?"), and phrases that I associate with a particular class or age cohort rather than a region ("I have an issue," "Let's touch base.")

It's fascinating which phrases/words bug me too ("normalcy," "deliverable"), which ones don't bug me but I can see why they bug someone ("I could care less"), and which ones seem completely normal to me and it never even occurred to me that non-Americans don't use them ("alphabetize," "expiration date").

Also it's fascinating what reasons people give for disliking words/phrases. "Transportation. What's wrong with transport?" "'Reach out to' when the correct word is 'ask'."

There are also 1295 comments. I haven't read them all. :-)

This entry was originally posted at http://firecat.dreamwidth.org/730460.html, where there are comments.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 21st, 2011 10:19 pm (UTC)
Oops you're right! Edited.
Jul. 21st, 2011 07:01 pm (UTC)
Some of those aren't "Americanisms", they're "illiteratisms" which annoy me every bit as much as they do the Brits. And I'm amazed that nobody mentioned "share" for the giving of information, as in "Let me share something with you about that." Talk about tooth-grating -- that one is near the top of my list!
Jul. 21st, 2011 10:24 pm (UTC)
Illiteratisms or deliberate misuses or regional/class variants?

I've been known to say, e.g., "That'll larn you" even though I know the more formal way to say it is "That'll teach you."

I used to dislike "share" but someone I love uses it a lot and that made me fond of it.

One that drives me crazy is "gift" used as a verb.
Jul. 22nd, 2011 03:24 am (UTC)
Two that popped out at me, for other reasons:

"Transportation." What's wrong with transport?
I'll tell you what's wrong with it -- it's a VERB, not a bloody noun! Transport is what you do to stuff. Transportation is the means you use to do it.

What kind of a word is "gotten"?
One WE still use that YOU have forgotten about! We got it from you, you etymologically-ignorant twit.

Jul. 22nd, 2011 03:02 am (UTC)
*tough shit* is my response to the whingers.

if it wasn't for americanisms english would be as dead as french. english is a living language. get over it, naysayers!

and, post 'the wire' i am now waiting for the re-up of poo bags in my local supermarket. if people don't think that's fun then they can bog off. my english is transatlantic as well as regional. we forget that we wouldn't have words like pyjamas and verandah if it weren't for the uk's relationship with india, for instance. english is the polyglot language, that's why it is dominant.
Jul. 22nd, 2011 04:30 am (UTC)
At the grocery Monday, a woman offered me a "buggy." I think of them as carts.
Jul. 24th, 2011 12:49 am (UTC)
Re: "that'll learn you": the use of "learn" for "teach" goes back to Old English. There were originally two verbs, "leornan", to learn, and "leornian", to teach. The two probably fell together during the Middle English period, and the second meaning disappeared from standard English, but survived long enough to take root across the Atlantic.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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