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article imageBritain declaring war on 'Americanisms'

By Laura Trowbridge     Jun 6, 2010 in Lifestyle
British journalist Matthew Engel, a columnist on the Financial Times and contributor to the Daily Mail, has incited Britons to speak out against American words and phrases taking over the UK.
In two different articles found in Daily Mail Online, Matthew Engel spouts off about the British English language being overtaken by the American version of English. Apparently, many other Britons feel the same way about Americanisms invading their old, established language.
Engel writes: "I believe language thrives on give and take, but with the United States it is all take. Americans rarely hear any of our words, let alone adopt them.
But we are so overwhelmed by everything American that the British have lost their grasp on the difference between our form of English and theirs. This is the reality of cultural imperialism."
One example given of the most hated Americanisms is the expression 'I'm good' instead of 'I'm very well, thank you.' The 'I'm good' is especially infuriating to the many unhappy Britons when it is used to decline another serving of food or beverage, instead of saying a proper 'No, thank you'.
Daily Mail reader and commenter Patsy Holden said: ‘I just want to yell, “NO, you are NOT good – you might be really, really BAD.”
Other American words that seem to be taking over the English words the Britons have long established are vacation for holiday, carryout for takeaway, flashlight for torch, cookies for biscuits, fries for chips, hi for hello and hundreds of other words and phrases.
Nor do these Britons like America's pronunciation of words such as 'schedule'. Americans pronounce the word with a 'k' - 'skej-ool'. The Britons have traditionally pronounced it 'shed-yul.'
In another Daily Mail Online article Engel writes: "Nowadays, people have no idea where American ends and English begins. And that's a disaster for our national self-esteem. We are in danger of subordinating our language to someone else's - and with it large aspects of British life.
"Yet no one seems to care. The stern old type of English teacher has died out and many newspapers cannot now afford 'Prodnoses', the last-line-of-defence sub-editors who used to guard the language with a thick pencil."
Engel goes on to complain that the American takeover is hitting Britain's politics, as well. Britain now has a National Security Council and a Supreme Court. There is rumor that the House of Lords will be renamed the Senate.
Engel writes: "But it is time to fight back. The battle is almost uncertainly unwinnable but I am convinced there are millions of intelligent Britons out there who wince as often as I do every time they hear a witless Americanism introduced into British discourse."
He calls for "a growing understanding that Britain has a language of its own. It may or may not be better than American, but it’s different and it’s ours, part of what makes us distinctive. People do care. It’s time for those with some responsibility for the language to start caring, too."
More about Britain, English, Americanisms, America, Language
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