Pet hates - Americanisms in the UK

I have come across this BBC article on their website :

It shows how a language changes surreptitiously at work and at play - or to use US speak “it just goes to show …”.

I’m not quite sure how I feel about this article. :slight_smile: Several of the Americanisms are simply bad grammar, and I don’t think we have the monopoly on that.

Some of the comments are simply hilarious. Also, I was surprised to hear one guy say that he caught himself using ‘shopping cart’.

I think we are sort of halfway in between, in terms of language use, and also in terms of distance (if you go the long way!).

A lot of those aren’t even Americanisms.

Americanisms are fine if they actually add anything to the language. Unfortunately many common phrases don’t.

One on that list that drives me up the wall lately is ‘to reach out to’ to mean ‘to contact’. It seems to be sales speak, and it doesn’t add anything at all to the language, and salesmen of my acquaintance use it to emphasise the effort they make in speaking to somebody; nobody ever ‘reaches out’ to them.

Also, often used by the same salesmen, ‘revert back’ to mean ‘reply’ is verging on nonsensical. For a start, you can’t revert in any other direction than ‘back’, and it means ‘to return to a former state’. Why not use ‘reply’ which is shorter and unambiguous?

I don’t know whether either of these are Americanisms, but I think they would annoy me even if I were American.

I agree with one commenter :

"Hwæt! Wé Gárdena in géardagum
þéodcyninga þrym gefrúnon
hú ðá æþelingas ellen fremedon.

I trust everyone who has complained about Americanisms creeping in to the English language will have no trouble understanding the above. That’s what English looked like around 1,300 years ago.

Language evolves."

I probably use some sort of “Americanism” every day, without realising. I’m really not bothered by it, though. I get more annoyed by people complaining about it.

Is hēr ǣnig þe Englisce spricþ???

To me, an Australian, who doesn’t consume huge quantities of spoken American language, and notices the more radical differences in print more easily, I don’t use them like some people. I’ve even noticed people pronouncing the word ‘new’ as “nu” not as “nyu”. That’s something new to me in the last few years. And it’s usually by people who watch more tv than they work. It’s a surprise that even such people exist to me! haha

I think that you forget one thing James123. Yes, language changes, but people are resistant towards it. My step-daughter never uses the simple past ‘I saw’ and only ‘I seen’. It amazes me that a 19 year old doesn’t know the past tense of most verbs and says things like ‘bringed’ and ‘buyed’. She’s a very uneducated person, and that’s not simply a judgement on her language ability. It’s simply that she doesn’t know much of anything about anything. Language doesn’t really ‘evolve’. That’s the wrong term for what language does. But, I’ll forgive you for that. I can’t forgive ‘bringed’.

I have more Yiddishisms in my actual speech but never use them in writing. We all change our language to meet our perceived needs.

p.s. I understood some of it, James. :stuck_out_tongue: (This from someone who has Old English audio recorded by modern scholars hehe)