(K. Brent Tomer),
PAUL REVERE’S ride through Concord, Massachusetts, warning that “the British are coming! The British are coming!”, is said to have saved America’s revolution from an early defeat that could have proved fatal. Much of the story, sadly for his legend, is myth. But now many Britons suspect that British English is losing a war to the American kind. As with Revere’s ride, it can be hard to winkle out the truth.
In 2011 the BBC published a broadside by Matthew Engel, citing five common Americanisms, and inviting readers to send in their own least-favourite ones. They did so with gusto, adding that these Yankeeisms made them “thoroughly disgusted” and the like. Mr Engel had hit a nerve, and last month he published “That’s the Way it Crumbles”, a book bemoaning the Americanisation of British English. He is at pains to say that he is not anti-American. He merely wants to protect his country’s distinctive dialect.
But in that article from 2011, four of five of Mr…Continue reading