Another British invasion? War of words

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    Sep 27, 2012 3:54 AM GMT
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19670686

    Britishisms and the Britishisation of American English
    By Cordelia Hebblethwaite
    BBC News, Washington DC

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    Sep 27, 2012 3:57 AM GMT
    Some of the examples of Britishisms entering American English definitely aren't true. For one thing, "washing up" almost always means to wash one's hands or face. A parent telling a kid, "go wash up" would be understood as so. It seldom refers to washing dishes. Also, I've yet to hear "move house" catch on.

    I feel like a lot of these exist on both sides of the pond, but perhaps they're just more common in the UK (and most likely the rest of their commonwealth) than in the US.
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    Sep 27, 2012 3:38 PM GMT
    Personally, I very much look forward to the day when "fag" will mean "cigarette." icon_smile.gif
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    Sep 27, 2012 3:39 PM GMT
    themachine saidPersonally, I very much look forward to the day when "fag" will mean "cigarette." icon_smile.gif


    Haha! If only!

    I wonder how many British tourists or immigrants in the US get into a bit of trouble when asking for a pack of fags icon_rolleyes.gif

    Even though I've long known that fags are cigarettes, I have to admit I still cringe a little every time I hear it when watching a British movie or TV series.
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    Sep 27, 2012 4:20 PM GMT
    Rule Britannia!!! As the people who brought English across the pond on the Mayflower, I am all for the correcting of 'Amercian English'...an oxymoron if ever there was one!! ;)) Kidding, each to his own, I kind of like of the differences and still joke about being told by my teacher on my first day of school in the US that if I did not behave I would get a spank on my 'fanny'....you can imagine how disturbing I found that phrase (and still do) having being born and schooled in England to that point!
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    Sep 27, 2012 4:50 PM GMT
    nicodegallo saidhttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19670686

    Britishisms and the Britishisation of American English
    By Cordelia Hebblethwaite
    BBC News, Washington DC



    Interesting, and how refreshing. Next task - their spelling.........lol icon_lol.gif
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    Sep 27, 2012 5:16 PM GMT
    I've always found it ironic how the British standard insists on spelling Latin words closer to French considering the longtime rivalry between the British and the French. Even though many words in English entered the language through French and Anglo-Norman, most American spellings are closer to the original Latin spelling icon_wink.gif

    Anyway, English spelling is more of an etymological representation than phonetic because the phonology of the language has changed faster than the writing system can keep up with. Plus the vowel system in English is ultra complex throughout the English-speaking world. It's virtually impossible to create a phonetic spelling system that would work for all the different varities of English. It's not like favourite makes any more sense than favorite and vice versa in terms of knowing how to pronounce the word.
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    Sep 27, 2012 7:46 PM GMT
    Canadian English and spelling is a broader mix of both American and British but leans more towards American mainly because we're right next door.
    I've found some odd ones though like when I moved to Vancouver and they had pubs, not bars.Going down to Seattle and ordering a glass of beer it's a schooner, never heard that anywhere else.
    In England it's a toilet or WC,, in Canada it's a bathroom or washroom or washroom. You never hear anyone saying where are the toilets or I have to go to the toilet.. It's I have to go to the bathroom.. or can I use your washroom

    Spelling is all over the place in Canada and there are always stiff "British" Canadians who are adamant about keeping Canadian English British.. They even write letters to the editors on such things. The thing is,, they're wrong many times themselves. They see colour or parlour spelled color or parlor and get enraged yet both spellings are equally correct in Canada although 90% of people do add the U.
    These same traditionalists neglect or are unaware of other words that are spelled the American way and always have been.
    Examples.. Aluminum, curb, carburetor instead of aluminium, kerb and carburettor..

    When I was in school we were taught to spell program as programme but it's never been spelled that way for decades plus. Even government documents etc don't spell it that way anymore, yet the traditionalists never mention it. All they see is the missing U in color basically.
  • thadjock

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    Sep 28, 2012 3:32 AM GMT
    nicodegallo saidPlus the vowel system in English is ultra complex throughout the English-speaking world. It's virtually impossible to create a phonetic spelling system that would work for all the different varities of English. It's not like favourite makes any more sense than favorite and vice versa in terms of knowing how to pronounce the word.


    Proper english isnt' difficult if you interact with people who know how to use it. I can't understand why americans strive to pronounce every letter in every word, they don't really seem to grasp the concept of silent letters ...it drives me crazy to hear people pronounce the "T" in often, the "W" in sword, etc.
  • Aodhan

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    Sep 28, 2012 3:35 AM GMT
    come on Ireland Gaelic Language haha
    Im kidding, I live in the British part of Ireland but long Live Ireland!


    Erin go bragh, agus póg mo thoin ;P
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    Sep 28, 2012 3:38 AM GMT
    WhyWhySee saidWe've kept some of the old British phrases on the East Coast of Canada. More-so than the West Coast.

    For example, people in Vancouver and Calgary laugh at me when I mention the engine bonnet.


    WTF is an "engine bonnet"?
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    Sep 28, 2012 3:44 AM GMT
    Aodhan saidcome on Ireland Gaelic Language haha
    Im kidding, I live in the British part of Ireland but long Live Ireland!


    Erin go bragh, agus póg mo thoin ;P


    I've always found it interesting how Irish is the first official language of the Republic of Ireland when it's spoken by a fairly small minority. It's hard to come by outside of Gaeltacht. Although statistics on the language can be confusing as it's hard to determine how many people truly consider themselves fluent in Irish and use it regularly.
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    Sep 28, 2012 3:49 AM GMT
    Since when was "book" as in "book a flight" considered British? That's how I've usually heard it. Sure, you could say "reserve a flight", but most Americans, young and old, would say "book a flight".
  • tigrisblue

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    Sep 28, 2012 4:32 AM GMT
    thadjock said
    nicodegallo saidPlus the vowel system in English is ultra complex throughout the English-speaking world. It's virtually impossible to create a phonetic spelling system that would work for all the different varities of English. It's not like favourite makes any more sense than favorite and vice versa in terms of knowing how to pronounce the word.


    Proper english isnt' difficult if you interact with people who know how to use it. I can't understand why americans strive to pronounce every letter in every word, they don't really seem to grasp the concept of silent letters ...it drives me crazy to hear people pronounce the "T" in often, the "W" in sword, etc.


    And what exactly is 'proper english'?

    Not to be needlessly contrary, but with such a wide abundance of dialects across the English spectrum, it's really a ridiculous notion to assert that there's a 'proper' way to say any English word out of that dialectal context; the same applies to grammar, to some extent.

    This is especially the case when what is considered to be normative English pronunciation has the annoying habit of shifting every few decades. The accepted American 'standard' of today (essentially central midwest), for example, is not the same as it was fifty years ago (northeast/eastern cities).

    Also, historically, the 'w' in 'sword' was, indeed, pronounced; 'sword' is an ancient word that has roots far before the appearance of even Old English (see Frisian, proto/Indo-European, etc.) Notably, the shift from Middle English to Early Modern English saw the loss of a great number of previously voiced phonemes, such as the case with 'Knight,' which was historically pronounced something like 'kniht' or 'cniht'/'cneht'.

    In short, pronunciation shifts, often. It's also very regional, and every region has its own quirks. Notably, people who aren't familiar with certain words tend to see a word in writing and pronounce it in what seems a natural way for their dialect, especially if the word's pronunciation is not intuitive (as is often the case with English). Hence you get situations where the 'w' in 'sword' is pronounced (there is a linguistic process for this, the name of which I can't remember just this moment).

    And yes, some people are not familiar with the word 'sword', but that's a monster for a different thread.
  • thadjock

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    Sep 28, 2012 5:17 AM GMT
    tigrisblue said
    And what exactly is 'proper english'?

    Not to be needlessly contrary, but with such a wide abundance of dialects across the English spectrum, it's really a ridiculous notion to assert that there's a 'proper' way to say any English word out of that dialectal context; the same applies to grammar, to some extent.


    .......said George W. Bush's speech coach. "yeah sure, stick with Nyoo-kew-LUR, most of the media isn't sure whether it's wrong or not anyway."

    Trying to suggest that there isn't a proper way to pronounce english (or any other language) words is the ridiculous assertion. Why do pronunciation keys even exist if there are no rules?
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    Sep 28, 2012 5:25 AM GMT
    I use "outwith" which is a VERY Scottish term.
  • tigrisblue

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    Sep 28, 2012 1:24 PM GMT
    thadjock said
    tigrisblue said
    And what exactly is 'proper english'?

    Not to be needlessly contrary, but with such a wide abundance of dialects across the English spectrum, it's really a ridiculous notion to assert that there's a 'proper' way to say any English word out of that dialectal context; the same applies to grammar, to some extent.


    .......said George W. Bush's speech coach. "yeah sure, stick with Nyoo-kew-LUR, most of the media isn't sure whether it's wrong or not anyway."

    Trying to suggest that there isn't a proper way to pronounce english (or any other language) words is the ridiculous assertion. Why do pronunciation keys even exist if there are no rules?


    Because pronunciation (and even the classification of language) is extremely politicized and people are enormously judgmental when others don't sound like they do. Not to mention that certain dialects are stigmatized (such as many American Southern dialects) for not matching up with the normative standard of the time, among other reasons.

    For a language example.

    Urdu and Hindi are mutually intelligible, but it is enormously unlikely you will ever hear a Pakistani call their language 'Hindi'. Far too much animosity. In a less violent case, Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish are all largely mutually intelligible, and stem from the same language roots, but you will, again, never hear any of those countries refer to their language as something not of their own (ie, the Norwegians calling their language Swedish is not going to happen). There's far too much nationalism and national/regional/community pride tied up in language politics.

    If Texas Southern English were the normative American standard of the day, George Bush's presidency would likely have had a very different flavor, as he would have been speaking as was fully expected. Instead, he did not speak the standard dialect, and so was caricatured and lambasted (for that reason among many others, but again, different monster for a different thread).
  • thadjock

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    Sep 28, 2012 2:10 PM GMT
    tigrisblue said
    Because pronunciation (and even the classification of language) is extremely politicized and people are enormously judgmental when others don't sound like they do. Not to mention that certain dialects are stigmatized (such as many American Southern dialects) for not matching up with the normative standard of the time, among other reasons.


    If Texas Southern English were the normative American standard of the day, George Bush's presidency would likely have had a very different flavor, as he would have been speaking as was fully expected. Instead, he did not speak the standard dialect, and so was caricatured and lambasted (for that reason among many others, but again, different monster for a different thread).


    Pronuciation is not extremely politicized. It's true languages are living things that evolve, but at any given time there are accepted standards for the "correct" pronuciation of every word. There's a good reason for that, in some languages, something as subtle as placing the emphasis on a different syllable, or changing a hard consonant to a soft one, gives the word an entirely new meaning.

    You consistenly confuse mispronuciation with dialect. They're two very different things. Nyoo-kew-LAR is not a quaint east texas dialect, it's a mispronuciation, period.
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    Sep 29, 2012 12:44 AM GMT
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    Sep 29, 2012 12:56 AM GMT
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    Amen and long live the Queen, How Elizabeth has seen presidents come and go and Obama will be just another one of them, and Popes too; but Elizabeth goes on..........
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    Sep 29, 2012 1:15 AM GMT
    tru_blu_auzzie said
    Amen and long live the Queen, How Elizabeth has seen presidents come and go and Obama will be just another one of them, and Popes too; but Elizabeth goes on..........


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    Sep 29, 2012 1:24 AM GMT
    I remember as a kid how if we saw a word in a book with British spelling it was a big deal. There was anything like the interchange with British English like there is now. We never saw or heard it.
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    Sep 29, 2012 1:25 AM GMT
    tru_blu_auzzie said
    Amen and long live the Queen, How Elizabeth has seen presidents come and go and Obama will be just another one of them, and Popes too; but Elizabeth goes on..........

    She supposed to go on. She doesnt get elected.