What has the world come to when the BBC starts using American English?
It's come to war, that's what. So thinks The Daily Mail's Matthew Engel
who's calling for a "war on words that snuck into our skedule." He was
horrified to hear the BBC home affairs editor "[refer] to 'specialty
shops,'" rather than "speciality shops." Why is it so important?
(with the i) is a lovely word, full of rolling syllables. His version
is the kind of usage that comes out of the mid-Atlantic and needs to be
dropped back there, from a great height.
Then comes the longer list of travesties inflicted by "cultural imperialism":
leading hates include 'snuck' as the past tense of 'sneak' and 'dove'
as the past tense of 'dive; driver's license instead of driving
licence; overly rather than over; autopsy for post-mortem; burglarized
instead of burgled; filling out forms instead of filling them in; fries
for chips; chips for crisps; and food to go as opposed to take away.
is also period instead of full stop; and of course 'Hi, guys', guys in
this case being of either sex. These last two usages are associated
with Tony Blair, which seems to redouble the irritation factor.
also mentions an Americanism that, though he may not realize it, has
annoyed as well. The trend is "the verbalisation of
nouns: incentivizing and all that rot." His other complaints may have fewer American backers, though. Engel wants absolutely no mention of "touch[ing] base"
or "ludicrous baseball metaphors," leading him to call for "a blanket ban on
references to baseball in British conversation unless the perpetrator
can explain the infield fly rule." Signing off, he suggests "a more
general solution: a growing understanding that Britain has a language
of its own," and lists an email address to which readers may "continue
to send [their]pet-hate Americanisms."
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