The Economist on Americanisms

America, linguistically speaking, is launching a relentless assault on the English language. "Americanism," as it is called by all you non-Yanks, is everywhere (Go us!)

But is it all that bad?

Here's what The Economist has some advice about avoiding American words and expressions that have infiltrated the English language worldwide:

Try not to verb nouns or to adjective them. So do not access files, haemorrhage red ink (haemorrhage is a noun), let one event impact another, author books (still less co-author them), critique style guides, pressure colleagues (press will do), progress reports, source inputs, trial programmes or loan money. Avoid parenting and, even more assiduously, parenting skills. Gunned down means shot. And though it is sometimes necessary to use nouns as adjectives, there is no need to call an attempted coup a coup attempt, a suspected terrorist a terrorist suspect or the Californian legislature the California legislature. Vilest of all is the habit of throwing together several nouns into one ghastly adjectival reticule: Texas millionaire real-estate developer and failed thrift entrepreneur Hiram Turnipseed...

Similarly, do not noun adjectives such as centennial (prefer centenary), inaugural (prefer inauguration) and advisory (prefer warning), or verbs such as meet (meeting) and spend (spending).

Avoid coining verbs and adjectives unnecessarily. Instead of downplaying criticism, you can play it down (or perhaps minimise it). Upcoming and ongoing are better put as forthcoming and continuing. Why outfit your children when you can fit them out?

Avoid, in particular, the language of American advertisers. Do not ski Vail, or Val d’Isère. Do not go out in search of a dining destination, a driving experience or even a writing experience.

Want more? Head on over to access the in-depth study for your reading experience over at The Economist. See if you can figure out all the ruckus they're talking about: Link - via Metafilter

Previously on Neatorama: 50 Disliked Americanisms

Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

I hate when Americans pronounce 'kilometer' as 'kill-AH-mitter'. It is a 'KI-lo-meter.'

If the '-meter' word is a distance (such as millimeter, centimeter, etc.), then you stress the first syllable.

If the '-meter' word describes a device that measures something (such as thermometer, barometer, etc.) then you stress the second syllable.

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Wow. I'm sure you hear us say that particular word all the time, too. Don't let it get to you so much. It's normal that people from different countries use different pronunciations, after all. British pronunciation is not a standard for Americans.
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I hate it when people claim there is but one way to pronounce something. English has been around awhile and has gone through many changes and will continue to change as it is used more on different continents.
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Well, this sort of thing won't stop. It will continually increase around the world. As more people adopt the language, the more it will change.

If people have issues with how English is spoken, they would probably develop an ulcer travelling abroad.

The only thing that can enforce "proper" English is strict education. Which we know won't happen.
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