The Americanisation Of The English Language: A Frightfully Subtle Affair



By Paul Baker in The Conversation.


Brits can get rather sniffy about the English language – after all, they originated it. But a Google search of the word “Americanisms” turns up claims that they are swamping, killing and absorbing British English. If the British are not careful, so the argument goes, the homeland will soon be the 51st State as workers tell customers to “have a nice day” while “colour” will be spelt without a “u” and “pavements” will become “sidewalks”. The two versions of English are intelligible but have long had enough differences to inspire Oscar Wilde to claim:

We have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, the language.

My research examined how both varieties of the language have been changing between the 1930’s and the 2000’s and the extent to which they are growing closer together or further apart. So do Brits have cause for concern ?


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