Cheers! The US learns how to speak British
Stone the crows! You're not going to Adam and Eve it. According to The New York Times, Americans are adopting all manner of "Britishisms" in their everyday speech. The article quotes Ben Yagoda, a professor of English at the University of Delaware and the creator of a really rather spiffing site that catalogues US usage of our words and phrases (britishisms.wordpress.com).
Professor Yagoda started charting this trend last year, and has spotted Yanks using "rubbish" instead of "trash", "ginger" rather than "redhead", "cheers" as "thank you", "mate" for "buddy" and "toff" for "Mitt Romney". The NYT puts it down to the success of Blighty's television shows and films (Downton, Doctor Who, Harry Potter), American's looking up the antics of those Middleton gals on the web (I paraphrase slightly) and the celebrities we've successfully exported to the US. While it's heartening to think that jolly old Adele is changing the way lads and lasses on the other side of the Atlantic speak, one rather shudders to think that Ricky Gervais, Simon Cowell and Russell Brand are putting words (or anything else, frankly) into anyone's mouths. Piers Morgan presumably doesn't have enough viewers to help spread Brit-speak.
But when you think of all the Americanisms we've adopted over the years ("OMG", "dude", "touch base", "can I get?", "season" – it's a televsision SERIES guys, "guys"), we need to up our efforts if we're going to beat them at their own game. We need to air drop emergency packages of Miss Marple repeats (you don't get more British that saying "good heavens" when someone's had their bonce bashed in), send the cast – past and present – of EastEnders on a tour of the States (" repeat after me... 'You ain't my muvva'... 'Rickaaaaay') and get some decent bloody celebs over there ASAP. Where's Cilla when you need her?
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