Sunday, 6 June 2010

Oh, those ghastly Americans!

I am informed that Britain has declared war on Americanisms in our language. May I say, in my best Surrey accent: bollocks to you, Matthew Engel (wanker!). Is that English enough for you, mate?

Although I believe there is a modicum of a good argument here, the rest is made up of a pathetic sense of cultural superiority that is just not merited, and ignores the fact that with many differences between American English and English English, it's because the Americans have preserved elements of our common language which we have jettisoned.

The debasement of our native tongue may be aided by certain American habits, but there are more important enemies abroad. It isn't the Americans who've spent the last hundred years attacking 'bourgeois values', such as education and aspiration, denigrating the middle class and bigging up the authenticity of ignorance. It wasn't the Americans who decided that correcting children's spelling mistakes was oppressive and counter-productive to their sense of worth, it wasn't the Americans who have attempted to manipulate language for political ends, changing the meanings of words, deciding what the 'politically correct' term of the week was.

That's right: it's the fucking Fabians to blame!

Still, I'm sure Alan Partridge would endorse it.


Quiet_Man said...

The major advantage of English is that it is a sponge, new words, alternative spelling are happening all the time and no-one really cares about that (apart from grammar Nazis) But when it comes to changing the meanings, yes the Fabians have much to answer for in their politically correct spitefulness.

Trooper Thompson said...

Running the risk of seeming contradictory, I do certainly believe in having a standard, correct English, albeit one that allows for variations. The problem we have is that most people, including myself, are unsure of the rules of our own language, and we should be a little indulgent of mis-spellings, due to the fact that English, unlike, say Spanish, is not written phonetically.

Language is a means of communication, and communication is not aided by poor grammar and spelling, which prevail upon the listener and reader to work out what the speaker or writer is trying to say.

6 June 2010 14:04

Anonymous said...

I'd actually thought the most white-trash American was the worstest -- until I watched Shameless. Took me about 10 episodes before I could watch it without having to guess what was being said. What gets me about that accent is that surely it cannot be easier to say than regularly spoken English??

cisbio said...


one of the great things about those yanks is their propensity to enrich the English vernacular. I also think your average american is better spoken and has a better command of vocabulary than the average brit. I don't know why that would be.

But, as for PCness: the Americans invented political correctness. It is our misfortune that many of its excesses have been copied over here.

Trooper Thompson said...

Cisbio, (or 'yo, homie' if you prefer),

re: political correctness, I think it was the Bolsheviks, actually, but my point is that it was not imposed from abroad, but by home-grown (anti-)social(ist) engineers.

Girl X,

where do you think the American 'cracker culture' came from originally if not these here shores? Check out Thomas Sowell's 'Black Rednecks and White Liberals', it's quite interesting.