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7 February 2011
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Language change
Elsewhere on BBCi
American words make it into the dictionary
Elsewhere on the web
Is America ruining English?
Americanisation: a four-letter word

In Your Area
What do you think about your local accent?
Talk about Voices in your area

Did You Know?
95% of people in Northern Ireland think of themselves as having a moderately strong accent, compared to only 63% of people in the east of England.
Voices poll results

Semantic change
Intrusive 'R'

Your comments

bob jefferson from hertfordshire
Language is changing from our english to an american slang version. The young people of the world are writing, typing and pronouncing words wrong. Many young people leave off the G when you put ing on the end of a verb, this is very horifing.

Trask D. from Canada
While British people may be loathe to accept it, and will never admit it, the fact remains that American English is a DEFINED and DIFFERENT language than British English, and is defined as such. The vocabulary, spelling and even grammar rules are sometimes different because American English draws from a VERY SIMILAR but DIFFERENT set of rules. American English is no less valid as an independent language than is Italian a modern variant of Latin. While some people might want to be utter snobs and not recognize the factual nature of this situation, it remains. American English and British English are languages which are so similar as to be almost indistinguishable at first glance, but are most certainly DIFFERENT languages. Stop being a snob and accept that someone else might not be speaking your language, and you can't define the rules FOR them, or decry their influence on your own.

Monica from UK
I think language change is bound to happen no matter what, so we have to get used to it. I don't think that there is any right or wrong according to people's pronunciation of words, as this is what makes everybody different and indicates where they come from.

Lindsay McIntosh,from Sweden
Help! I feel like I'm a commoner from up North living in a country that has been taught 'grars' instead of 'grass', 'barth' instead of 'bath' AND now 'lucky' is pronounced 'lacky' AND I say 'grapes' wrong as it sounds like a drawn out graaapes but a grape is a grape NOT a 'greyp'? Am I getting hung up about nothing? P.S I'm teaching Swedish children English and I'm worried about my dialect:[

Ken in California
Hey y'all, lighten up! (Please pardon my imperfect/improvised language for a minute, unless perfect english is so much more important to you than another's sincere attempt to communicate.) Few seem to understand or are willing to accept how language snobbery has evolved; language snobbery is a leftover form of bigotry that accelerated human evolution in our language-forming days. Like other forms of built-in bigotry/snobbery, we modern humans need to understand this inner drive to act or feel superior to others in this way or that, and temper it with understanding and compassion. I challengie y'all to explain why your desire for perfect english isn't just caused by a vestigial tribal instinct. (I'll grant that a certain, predictable amount of language stability is extremely important, but I would be more interested to hear from language "experts" here how we should be able IMPROVE some of the illogical and silly problems that abound in "proper" english.)

Sean Raymond from Basildon
Interesting....I suppose the English language has always been influenced by others and this 'Americanism' of our language is just an extension of that. I personally though cannot help but feel a tad sad that the uniqueness of our language (I personally think anyway) is disappearing. For instance, why is no one a lad, a bloke, a geezer, a chap or a fella anymore but just a 'guy'. I realise guy is probably not an American word but the way it's used now is definitely an Americanism, even the women are guy's arrrrgghhh. Watch a programme like Friend's and you will see Three girls talking and they will say something like 'see you later guys' whyyyyyy???. And it's catching on here, I just started Uni and when my teacher greeted us she said "how's it going guy's?" I'm looking around thinking but "there's girls here too!!" but alas I seem to be the only one that seems to realise or be bothered (in a nice way) about this. What happened to "hi everyone, or " hi you lot" etc ??. One more Americanism that grate's, why is nothing a programme anymore but a 'show'?? Then we have the word 'mad' - it seems to be almost non existent - replaced by the word 'crazy' arrrgghh it drives me mad - oh I mean 'crazy'. - oh well. Phewww ok I can go to sleep now.

Nick White from Lichfield
One thing that really annoys me is the Americanisation of dates. Why do so many people insist on addopting the dropping of 'the', for example July the fifth is now 'July fifth' or even worse 'January five'. I've noticed how even the BBC are adopting this way of mentioning dates when running trailers for forthcoming programmes!

R Clark from Sussex
Some things are a mere question of style,and don't really upset me, while others seriously impair effective communication, thereby diminishing the wonderful subtlety of the English language. There is, for instance, a difference between "Did you see the Monet exhibition?" and "Have you seen the Monet exhibition?" The first implies that if you didn't then you are too late as it's over, whereas the second suggests that if you haven't then you can still go to it if you want. Americans particularly seem to treat them both as if they were the same, when they're not. It's all very well to say it doesn't matter, but it seems a shame to dumb down our language. The tendancy to say "This one" when one means "This" also grates. I've noticed it seems to be mostly, but not exclusively, foreign learners who do this, so I guess we can forgive them. But to say "I have this one" when it is not part of a set is wrong. And it makes me want to scream!

Elizabeth from Sarnia
Those people who think that it is foolish to be concerned about the changing and less precise use of language might well consider this fact, in my opinion. Words are the framework of our thought and feeling and therefore of all of our social actions. An undefined concept leads to confused and ineffective actions. Words and syntax are the steel framework of our consciousness and therefore vitally important to the quality of our deeds. My own concern for young people who can not contruct a clear sentence is that they will not be able to construct a clear thought . This leaves their actions in a vague and undefined realm of confusion. I do not think it is petty to appreciate the vital nature of language as a precurser to our decisions and deeds. I would like to hear other peoples ideas on this point.

James from Manchester
We have very little formal linguistic education in the UK, so a lot of our ideas about grammar are well wide of the mark. People who complain about pronoun usage like, 'from you and I' and 'me and David went' are actually showing themselves to be poorly educated. These examples are not in any way 'incorrect'. The idea that they are wrong is based on the misconception that if a conjunction phrase is in a certain case, every individual component of that phrase should be in that case. The subject is 'me and David', not each one of the phrase's individual components. 'Me' here is being used as the equivalent of the French emphatic 'moi'. The pronoun after the conjunction is grammatically free and can be in any case so 'between you and I' and 'between you and me' are both possible. The irony is that it is often the people who complain about 'poor usage' who are most ignorant.

Florent from France
I am French and I must admit that I had never thought that the British were afraid of the intrusion of Americanisms in British English. The British worry about the effect of Americanisms in British English... Nonetheless, everyone make fun of the French because they try desperately to protect French from English words... It is true that a language has to evolve to survive, we should be careful and we should not "ill-treat" our maternal language though. Icelandic is still alive, but the Icelanders don't need foreign languages to make new words (whereas French people unfortunately prefer using English instead of Latin or Greek words, both these languages being the basis of the French language with some other ones). Icelanders can fairly easily understand a text written during the 12th century, because their language is still the same and they use old Scandinavian words to make neologisms. It is also true that during centuries, they were far away from the other nations and languages, contrary to the British or the French. Nearly all the languages are mixtures of languages. For example, English is mainly composed of Germanic words ("warm" for exemple), French words ("wardrobe", and "éclair", LOL, for instance), Scandinavian words ("egg", "daughter", "daughter" being "dottir" in Icelandic). I am sorry if I made any mistake, or if you cannot understand me... excuse my French... LOL

Malcolm Snell from London
Its increasingly common to hear phrases like 'between you and I' in place of 'between you and me', used even by apparently well-educated, professional people. You can hear and read things like: 'Me and him went to the cinema together, and between you and I it was terrible,' and I know primary schools where such writing would not be corrected or even attract comment. As far as I can see, schools are making no attempt to teach the proper use of personal pronouns even for the formal purposes we normally expect grammatically correct English in. I don't resist linguistic change, but our pronouns are sliding into chaos.

S Stretton, Southend.
I lost count of the number of funny looks I got in America for saying "can I have" rather than "may I get". I agree with Carol, text speak is far more annoying than Americanationisms. LOL.

Natalie from Suffolk
All languages that are changing and evolving are living languages. A language that does not change is dead. You may not like linguistic changes and you will certainly have your opinions on new language varieties but at least our language is alive!

Liam from Inverness
I must say, coming from the highlands of Scotland, I genuinely struggle to understand a lot of english people due to pronouncing "arm" like "am" and "door" like "dough." There is a vowel difference, but one I struggle to hear because those vowels don't exist in the dialect here, nor in my first language, gaidhlig. But the one thing I hate that is slowly becoming more and more acceptable is "would of" and "should of." When people can't tell the difference between a verb and a preposition, there's issues. Unnecessary shortening of words however, or writing things like "woz" instead of "was" really annoys me. It's not even laziness - it's the same length! As for the rising tone, I use that, and so don't see the issue. In my dialect at least, where a statement is meant as a question, extra words are used, generally 'aye' at the end, to signify it's a question.

John of Bristol
The rules of English are an abstract construction of generalisations, they falsely pre-suppose that language can be bound by rules. In fact the colloquial language existed first and the rules were subsequently constructed in an attempt to provide a 'correct' frame of usage. However like trying to herd cats it is not a possible task, and once again proves the adage that rules are meant for the obedience of fools but for the guidance of the wise. I am passionate about English and its correct usage, which actually is to communicate, and communicate not only meaning but passion, empathy and humanity. People use phrases like 'innit' as a cultural bonding, to assume it is intended only to communicate some meaning is narrowing the wider general use of language. In my younger days I too became upset about the dumbing down of my mother tongue, but in reality the world is becoming better educated, and more sympathetic to the fact that life is not black and white and that rules should be questioned. English is the greatest language in the world, because it organically adapts and adopts, long may it do so, and long may it be wrested from those who attempt to constrain it.

Michael in Wolves
I think the Americanisation of the the English Language is something which is always going to get English people's backs up. Whilst I am usually a descriptive assessor of the English Language rather than a prescriptive assessor, it somehow manages to rile me too. Whilst I cannot explain why this happens (other than a general resentment of American Imperialism) it is an unfortunate affliction in Britain. As per the article we are no closer to "real" English than our American cousins and whilst you may despise the Americanism of the language I don't hear wide dissenting voices when people in the north east say "treat" (to rhyme with wet) instead of treated, or "yam" in the black country instead of "you are". There are regional varieties and we should accept it. As long as we can communicate there isn't a problem. As for the "charver" comments, I think these are slightly offensive. If someone picked on a "goth" or an "indie kid" in a public forum I'm not sure they would receive the shame chortles of amusement. All you're doing is showing your insecurities.

Rob Phillips from Somerset
More so than any American encroachments upon standard English, i hate this latest fad for political correctness enforced by our over-excited institutions, such as "blackboard" altered to the more pc "chalkboard", the name stems from the colour of the board, the word carries absolutely no connotations

David from USA
The English language never was perfect and isn't going to be perfect. Language evolves and it's as simple as that.

Gilbert from Maryland
I appreciate a well spoken sentence as much as the next person; however it does annoy me when a sentence or phrase is spoken incorrectly on purpose. Linguistic creativity should never include intentional ignorance, which is wide spread in the US. With that being said, the level of snobbery flowing from my ancestors place of origin, England, is repulsive. Did anyone read the article? British-English is no more correct than US-English! I do love British land, history, and culture, admittedly more than my own, but give me a break!

Mike Jones from Washington state, USA
As an American, I'd like to say that I really like the British form of English. When spoken by a native speaker, it sounds very regal and more formal than standard American English. And hearing it imitated and butchered is murder to me (several students in my Japanese class do it all the time). That being said, however, I'd just like to point out that not all Americans butcher the English language. In fact, I've lived here all my life, and I've never even heard some of the examples that have been given in previous comments. Granted, we do have our flaws: the apparent and tragic death of the adverb, the misconception that "is" is a stand-alone word rather than a conjugation of "to be", and the frightening overabundance of double (and sometimes triple) negatives. I even have a friend who never fails to use "seen" instead of "saw," as in, "I seen a pretty girl at work today." But all languages are, and always will be, evolving. Does this mean we should just sit back and let our language degrade until it's nothing but a bunch of grunts and moans? No. But we also shouldn't nitpick about every little deviation from the norm. Natural languages are full of irregularities, and English is no different, especially considering the fact that we're discussing two entirely different dialects. Be glad that they're as similar as they are: most dialects of Japanese are not even remotely mutually-intelligible with the standard dialect!

Jack from Heslington
Where do I start... well, I've noticed that recently on the BBC people are saying "take a... (eg "look") instead of HAVE A... (eg "look") like they used to. Another insidious Americanism is "fill out", what exactly is wrong with "FILL IN (eg "a form")"?! This whole thing is a recent acceleration due to the most evil contamination of English yet - the "Talking like people out of the sitcom 'Friends'" phenomenon - raising their vocal intonation at the end of almost every sentence (as well as the flurry of "oh my god"s, "its like"s and "..and I was like yeah"s they pack in to conceal the vapidity of their converstion), I have to stop people now and tell them they're doing it, "it's like, oh my god, i so want it to stop?". Then the dimwitted practise of using "which" for every relative clause instead of "that" - please go and read a grammar book - and learn how to use a semi-colon whilst you;re at it - even dictionaries fail to give the correct definition of what a semi-colon is for - it is NOT a pause somewhere inbetwixt the length of a comma and a full stop; it has a specific grammatical function and meaning; as does a colon: look it up! ...I and always insist on saying "I've got" instead of "I have", which sounds utterly american to me. And can somebody stop people from using "regular" to mean "normal"? deport them to America, that's what I say!

Cath from Bucks
I do not mind how Americanisms are affecting our language, however I am a teenager who believes the accents of my fellow classmates are ridiculous. A sort of cockney/ Jamaican accent a lot of people use has the potential to wreck our accent and change our language into a slang-like, badly presented accent. Who knows? In fifty years children could be brought up with this ridiculous accent. It's a shame that our distinctive accents in the UK could be destroyed.

Linda Sutch from Epsom
It does not surprise me that our children are reported to have such a bad grasp of English, spelling, expression and grammar with all these different methods of communication around. I have sympathy for teachers and parents trying to help their children with school work, particularly if assignements involve the children finding out things for themselves and not being aware that a source of reference might be expressed in a different manner to British English. I get confused when trying to use help functions on a computer and find that the terms are spelt in American English, subsequently taking longer to get the help needed. I work in the NHS and I have seen patients being unable to understand some professionals, partly because of the way they address the patient and partly because of the expressions they use. It's little wonder that some people who are hard of hearing or have some cognitive impairment which impedes their understanding of what has been asked of them. This has on occasions resulted in people being branded as have dementia, but when spoken to in a clear, slow and jargon free manner they are perfectly able to express themselves. This also involves the professional giving the person time to express themselves thus avoiding a misdiagnosis.

Dan and Chloe, Newcastle
Hello, we are studying english language at A-level at this particular moment and we are researching prescriptive views of the english language. SO far we have decided that this seems to have been blown out of all proportion. Yes it is a language and it will be needed but to be so argumentative about it seems, well, rather silly. Thankyou for your views though, they have enlightened us and gave us a little giggle! kiss kiss darlings

Laura E, Bedford
I detest the use of words in a sentence without any meaning for example 'innit' (not as you might think because it is used instead of isn't) but when it is added onto the end of sentences such as 'we are going out innit' It makes no sense at all! It tends to be a Southern problem, along with, assuming that the Southern pronunication is correct - as a Northerner I often have problems with people understading grass and path etc and am simply told 'oh you MEAN grarss', which is extremely patronising!

David Harriman from Cornwall
I don't think this is American, but what really annoys me is the way people raise the final note of their conversation, so that everything they say sounds like a question. "And also" should not be used together, because they mean the same thing. I object to being called a "Brit" instead of British. I hate to hear "Medieval" pronounced "Medeeval". You meet a friend, you don't "meet with them". Why do people clutter their conversation with "..and it was sort of like.."?

Casey from Minneapolis, USA
There is no stopping the eveloution of English, for the better or worse. In my opinion it's for the worse here in the US. I lived in the UK for three years and noticed many things I had said all my life as an American was incorrect. The problem is that no one here in the states would ever correct me. One example is using good for well, and bad rather than poorly. It's perfectly correct in the USA to say "sleep good" or "how are you?", response would be, "I'm good." Or, "I did so bad on the test." It's funny in America when one says they are well they are looked at as not speaking correctly.

Laurence Hallewell, Colchester
My prejudices are against (1) Those who fail to realize that "moot" is the root of "meet" and so meangs "a coming together, especially for a discussion or debate" and has nothing to do with its US homonym "mute", as in "the question is now moot/mute." (when they mean "no longer moot." (2) Those, including my own children, who pronounce "salt" with the short vowel of "bolt" instead of the long vowel of "all." (3) Similarly, those who pronounce "room" with a short vowel. (4) English folk who have adopted the fake aspirate of early Victorian snobbery in "herb" and criticize Americans for pronouncing it correctly ("erb"). (5) Anyone who replaces a short word such as "Argentine" or "oriented" with an unnecessarily elongated form such as "Argentinian" or "orientated." (6) People who give Romford or Coventry their spelling pronunciation, failing to realize that English writes an "o" for a "u" whenever it is next to am "m", "n", "w" or "v" just so as to make the word easier to read in cursive or medieval handwriting, as in money, monkey, wolf, London, some, Wolverhampton, etc. etc. (7) Those who do not pronounce a final R even when the next word begins with a consonant, as in IRA mispronounced eye-ah-eh. (7) Those who in a similar situation pronounce a nonexistent final r, as in "Lore and order." (8) Americans who omit the R in arse and even spell it without one. An ass is what Our Lord rode into Jerusalem on.

Tim Henderson from Houston
Very entertaining thread. I must confess, thou, that my mother and teachers in the 1960's used to berate the bad grammer of us children as an unholy deviant from the 'King's English.' In Ohio, no less. Still, I agree with the other writer that appreciates the many evolutions of the language. The turn of phrase from British authors, like J.K Rowlings, for example, delight many American readers. So, in my best American English, "Vive la différence."

Colin Sharpe from Connecticut
As an Englishman living in the USA, the things that annoy me most about "American English" is the use of "Different than" rather than "Different from" or "Different to". I also notice the widespread use in written English of "Your" in place of the correct "You're" as a contraction of "You are".

Kevin from Uk
Friends, English or any language is about communication. No more and no less! Different accents may make you felt uncomfortable but please open your arms your heart to welcome another person who merely speak English- the universal language.

Jackie D from Middlesex
I find it annoying when people order a coffee and they say "Can I get...?" rather than "Can I have...?". It sounds so self-conscious, as if they've just started trying to learn Starbucks-speak.

Steven Burns, Reading
What annoys me most? Two things. First, people saying "Can I get". The answer is "Yes, you can get, but only if you say 'Please may I have' first". I hear "Can I get" over and over again in shops and pubs, it is not just the wrong question to ask, it is impolite. Where has this come from? Do people think it's "cool" to speak to shop, bar and restaurant workers in a dismissive and impolite manner, are they trying to point out to those around them that they are in some way superior to these people and, therefore, do not need to address them in a polite manner? Secondly, "Yeah, no". It seems to be becoming a standard form of response when a question is asked these days. Which is it, "Yes" or "No"? It can't be both at the same time!

Andy B from Hull
There are two southern English pronunciations that really annoy me: Firstly, the addition of an extra 'r' sound in words such as 'glass', 'brass', 'grass' and 'fast' - these become: 'glarss', 'brarss','grarss' and 'farst'! I find it funny that this 'rule' suddenly changes for words such as 'ass' and 'fat' and these last two words are pronounced just as a northerner would say them! Secondly, the annoying habit of changing the 'u' sound. It's changed to an 'a' - a southerner would pronounce my home city as 'Hal'; the word 'must' as 'mast' and finally, 'fuss' as 'fass'!

Thom, York
Surely it's AmericaniZation?!

Gordon Nicol from Dallas
As an exiled Scot living in the netherlands of civilzation, Dallas, Texas (Bush country) I always cringe when I hear what George Bush does to the English language. In Scotland, we have our very own vernacular which we use amongst our own but, when speaking to those who don't understand the Scots tongue, we speak in the universal English language. Imagine if Tony Blair spoke in the Scots tongue, "Helo'rer. Hoo's it goan? Ah dinnae ken hoo long it's bin since we had sic a braw day." Well, I couldn't believe my ears when I heard a BBC announcer quite clearly say "noocular". What has the world come to when the BBC's own emulates that so-called president who inspired the bumper sticker, "Some village is missing an idiot." And this, I'm afraid, isn't an isolated incident. I've heard this pronunciation two or three times. Until now, I held the BBC in extremely high regard as does most of the US, but this is a terrible blow to that high standard. Come on BBC wrap some knuckles and tell your people it's bad enough when Bush uses bush-isms, but we don't need "our chaps" imitating His Bushiness.

Lauren from the US
As someone going to school for linguistics I love that there is such lively debate over these isssues and I'm glad that the majority of people seem to appreciate that languages- ALL languages- change over time as societes and cultures change. Every language and dialect should be appreciated for what it represents and what it means to those who speak it, none are any better or more valuable, at least linguistically. As for what Rich M noted, that the "linguistically poorer" cousin of English in the US "just does not have the scope or breadth of the British version," well that's just a bit silly isn't it? He mocked the word bugularise for being improper (what counts as improper anyway?) but doesn't it add something to the language? Does it not allow you to express an event more precisely or perhaps more vividly? I do believe it does and I do think that the ability to coin new words or the phonomena of the evolution of semantics adds a richness to any language. And that's my bit.

Alix, Kent
The Enlish Language has changed constantly throughout time in order to adapt to it's more modern form. This will undoubtedly happen again to accomodate a bew generation of speech. Look back, for exmaple, to the Great Vowel Shift or how the English Language has changed already, it has and to vast extent. The dictionary is constantly being updated so as to include new lexis, this has always happened and will continue to do so. People nowadays seem to be so set on keeping our language the way it is however why are people really so scared to let new lexis into our society? Language is never going to stay the same, it will always change so why try to prevent the inevitable?

james s from newcastle
I am seriously annoyed that people, southerners in particular are misusing the word "charv". They are pronouncing it without the 'r' and this is INNCORRECT! I am at liberty to tell you all that this word derived from the geordie culture as an expression to describe the chaRv scum that hang around in bus stops around the region. Although these people are thought to be anyone who wears burbery this is wrong; actually charvas are more likely to be dressed in rockports, berghaus' and either a henry lloyd or fred perry jumper. Therefore your definition of this word is wrong.The word originated from the scottish term for child similar to the geordie word bairn. And unlike the romanian version is spelt with an 'r'. As the romanian gypsies came to our country later than the scottish clans this is more probable to be the original roots of the modern word charv. PLEASE CHANGE ACCORDINGLY!!!!!

Gail C. from Florida formerly U.K.
What a load of rubbish. Is this all people have to worry about these days? Lucky them!

Is it just my imagination or do computers use American tense and sentence construction, even if they are set to UK English default Language?! I believe that you should be able to speak as you like, as long as you make sense, but this is the main problem with the 'youth culture' today, they do not make sense when they speak (if you can get more then a one word answer that is). I have read a number of points here and believe that if everyone used 'Plain English' it will help those from areas that encourage 'Youth Speak', simply because they do not understand Jargon or long and complicated phraseology. Why use ten words when you can use two?

Roy F from Slough
Different spellings and pronunciations are one thing, but what about words used incorrectly? The most obvious for PC users is "alternate" instead of "alternative". These two words have completely different meanings and the one adopted by Microsoft, and increasingly by us all, is the WRONG one.

Mark Hughes from Walsall
Yes, I agree with using 'O' instead of 'zero' in 'phone numbers, and 'railway station' being better than 'train station'. What about George Bush's 'nucular' instead of 'nuclear weapons'! Bless him.

Laura, from Missouri
As an American "Americanisms" don't generally bother me, however, certain phrases used repetitively such as, "ya know wha Ahm sayin?" and "wha's up?" are driving me mad.

Keith Murray from Venezuela
A lot of people in all parts of the English speaking world suffer from language snobbery, but there is no doubt that the English are the worst offenders. People should learn to respect other people's way of speaking. What an extremely boring world it would be if everyone spoke exactly the same as everybody else.

Betty Greenhough from London, Ontario, Canada
I am a retiree (born in Leeds, England), married to a Beckanham-born English man. We have often had friendly arguments about the origin(s) of the English language! I always say that 'true English' was born in the north of England - and that 'BBC English' as I remember it when I left England in 1956 is NOT true English as is spoken generally! Any comments?

TK, in the UK.
There is no RIGHT or WRONG in pronunciation as differences are just that, differences. By trying (and failing) to say what is right or wrong, we are creating an unequal, prejudice and prescriptive world of '1984'. It didn't work when the first dictionary was created, and it won't work now. Language changes over time and we can't stop it unless we're all dead and then it won't matter! We should not create hierarchies of what dialects are "better" or "worse". What is more important is to ensure our children can use language to their advantage by code switching as and when desired, and emancipate them in this way. Many of the postings here worry me. I believe what is important is not what is right or wrong, but communicating as precisely as you can. I feel people's grasp of grammar is more worrying! Take; "Stop Children" - does that mean stop the children from doing something, or does that mean; stop, there's children about?

katherine critchley, Liverpool
I am increasingly annoyed with the misuse of the words 'myself' and 'yourself' in business and on television. I received a memo asking my to hand a report '...back to myself' and heard a TV presenter talking about how 'myself and a friend visited...'. What is the problem with just saying 'me'? These people don't seem to be able to break down their sentences.

Glenn Hadikin from South Korea
All living languages change with time, we just have to get used to it. The only stable language is a dead one such as ancient Greek.

Garry in Cambridgeshire
As a nasty American with a love for linguistics living here in England I find much of this comical. As the article stated, a great many of the 'Americanisms' you so deplore are actually left-overs of 16th century English that American English has preserved. Shakespeare uses the word 'trash' nearly two dozen times. He never uses 'rubbish' once. We still use 'gotten' as a vaild past tense of 'to get.' The use of 'of' which seems to be a particular irritant (kind of, sort of, or even 'twenty of seven' for time) is an artifact of the time when 'of' was an indefinite preposition that could adapt its meaning based on its use in the sentence. That is no longer permitted in the more MODERN English spoken here, but is still acceptable in the more antiquated form of English spoken in America. Oh, and as I was poring through some old church records in Derbyshire a few months ago, I was amazed to find the words honor, color, and labor all being spelled without the 'u' by multiple vicars over a period of nearly eighty years in the 16th century! Before you decry some 'Americanism' do bother to pick up an old Oxford dictionary - you may find the word in question only seems new because it died out here so long ago no one remembers it. So then, exactly who's mucking up whose language here? The reality is no one - it's a living language. Your version is no more authentic than mine or the Canadians' or the Australians' or the Indians'. Let the French try to stop time for their language - let us allow English to continue to grow.

Ted Hewlett from Canada
So many are upset because others use terms they are unfamiliar with. It makes more sense to be upset with verbal innacuracies and verbal pretense. I find some objections to Americanisms sad because they seem to be reflective of hostility to Americans as people. That is equivalent to racism. I've recently come back from my seventh visit to England--my favourite country to visit outside Canada. I find the English people friendly and welcoming, but it pains me to see the rampant anti-Americanism there, though it is found in Canada too. Sure there are extremes of American characteristics just as there extremes of English characteristics, but it is only the minority in both groups that have them. Living only a short distance from the border with the United States, I have visited that country many times and found the people generally friendly and welcoming, as I have found the English (whether relatives or strangers.

Terry Denman from London
I presume Rich M from Wales is using 'mad' in the American sense of 'angry'. And he doesn't seem to know the difference between 'it's' and 'its'. So much for good British English!

Ian - from London. But Brummie Born
Having read through the various postings on the board, I have to say I agree wholeheartedly with most. Not mentioned (I don't think) is the habit amongst young people to say "innit" at the end of a sentence. Whether question or statement of fact. And how about this (Australian) variant on an everday English word? "Removalist" - for "Removal Man" or "Remover?"

Michael Taylor from Leeds
How come Americans seem to think we all talk Queens English, just watch Renee Zelweger or Paul Vandyke try to do an English Accent, they ought to speak to people from places with distinct accents like Barnsley, Newcastle and Liverpool and see what the English Accents really like.

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