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The Americanization (Americanisation) of English

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The Guardian has an interesting article on the evolution of the English Language and whether American English is choking out traditional English English. One point I found interesting is that colonists in the Americas and speakers of English in the homeland spoke a very similar English before the American Revolution. Apparently, it was not until the mid-to-late eighteenth-century that the upper classes and speakers in London and the southeast began to drop their "r's", or speak with non-rhotic English. This is called the "received pronunciation," (received from whom?). Today only three percent of the UK speak with received pronunciation. I notice that many of the news readers on the BBC World Service now DO pronounce their "r's".  Interesting look at the evolution of English and what it means to be English. 



And a related article, "Do You Want Fried With That?"


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All too mindful of Lerner & Loewe's magnificent My Fair Lady. In particular, the great song "Why Can't the English Learn to Speak?" It does reflect the difficulty in communicating even among neighbors, much less among different peoples spread across the globe! (Or perhaps the Chief of Police in Young Frankenstein?)

Americans are actually spared some of the British English local and/or class snobbery despite our multitude of accents and dialects. Yes, Texans say "y'all" and Brooklynites say "youse guys" but it's all just part of the melting pot here.

Is American choking out British? Quite possibly. There are a lot more Americans after all. (Although in truth that rather pales compared to the number of English-speakers in India.) One big factor is surely the world's film industry, and radio, television and internet broadcasts, which are often American in origin. But there's no doubt that "received pronunciation" will keep these massive melting pots from merging any too quickly.

Thanks for an interesting lead in.

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We can probably thank Bill Gates, Microsoft, and America that British English still exists. After all if there wasn't a choice between US and British English in the Word spell checker, we would long ago have adopted American spelling and grammar with a generation who read and write using a PC, tablet, or phone, and for whom printed dictionaries are almost Dickension and encyclopedias are unknown dinosaurs from a bygone age, long since replaced by Wiki.

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