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Sunday, 17 August 2014

The terminal decline of "English" English.

Now the "Americanism" is now part of our language.

Do you?

Another Americanism creeps into use on television, on the BBC News as well as SKY . Even the media are caught up in this swing towards the American rather than the usual UK use of words and phraseology.  This time it seems we now use the word "homicide" rather than the UK English "murder" to refer to unlawful killing. Not that the word "homicide" is wrong, it is just not what we have historically used to describe that crime. Too many American "cop" shows on television have no doubt ingrained the "American" language into the minds of the viewer who now accept and even use the phraseology in their everyday lives. Kojak, Colombo, LA Law, Miami Vice and others, even going back to Dragnet, have been littered with variations ad nauseum, of the  the "I am lootenant Colombo LA Police Homicide" introduction of the character. Even the British Police seem to be drifting towards the usage of the phraseology.

It is not however, the only example of the traditional English pronunciation of common words being abandoned in place of something from "across the pond". In the space of a day, we all too frequently hear the word "skedule" rather than the usual sound of "shedule" when the speaker is referring to a schedule of events or requirements. Also it now seems acceptable for someone to use "Can I get?" in place of "Could I have?", when asking for an ice cream or a cup of coffee.(and what does "gotten" mean?)

Another perhaps even more common (and intensely irritating) phenomena is AQI (Australian question intonation) the "High rising terminal" originating apparently in Sydney Australia some years ago, but widely used by Mark Liberman and George W Bush and then enthusiastically taken up by American television actors, newscasters, radio personalities and many more to become part of the American language and exported to the United Kingdom where it has spread like an uncontrollable rash. Today, the AQI is so commonly used that it is part of all conversations, on television everywhere in fact, so much so, that the speaker is not even aware of using it.

American spelling has also become part of the "British scene". Even some dictionaries have now surrendered and concede that is acceptable to omit the "U" from many words. It may soon be the case that we will see documents, papers, maps and the like. perhaps even news headline strips at the bottom of BBC News channel screens showing words like "harbor", "color", or a hundred and one other examples although I do believe that I saw the word "harbor" on BBC television recently. Also, I have lost count of the number of times that the "Z" is used instead of the "S" (and vice versa)
Unfortunately, this trend towards a complete integration of the American and English "languages" is irreversible. Even a blanket ban on all American television shows, newscasts, reports or any other form of "contamination" would not prevent the inevitable. The question is what will the resultant language be called? Englican or Amerlish? Neither is particularly attractive.
As someone once said, "Two peoples divided by a common language".