This one is mainly aimed at my American posse. Shouts out to you all, brothers and sisters.
This piece in The Telegraph [probably requires free registration] begins as typical Sunday supplement filler, with some random musings on the significance of Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart's choosing to taking a “vacation” in the English countryside. Later, though, it perks up. It seems that, after years of having our vocabulary Americanized, we're polluting American English straight back at-ya:
The US academic Ben Yagoda recently wrote an article bemoaning the influx of “Briticisms” into the American language. Alien phrases such as “gone missing”, “sell-by date”, “one-off” and “spot-on” are infesting such venerable organs as The New York Times.
Oprah Winfrey recently scandalised the country by declaring that she was going on “holiday” instead of “vacation”. Trendy young things have taken to “booking” rooms instead of “reserving” them, and “ringing” rather than “phoning” their friends.
All this, of course, is as balm to the British ego, for so long tormented by American linguistic imperialism. But we are fools to take succour from such flimsy triumphs. Britishness is not cool because of anything we have done, but because the real trend-setters – Americans – fancy trying something new.
I think 'Blogging may have something to do with this phenomenon. It's not that Americans are reading English English 'Blogs, so much as that American geeks are fascinated by English English pop culture and show their in-ness by sharing its vocabulary online. And 'Blogs are currently cool. The very American 'Blog Slashdot, for example, is full of references to the creations of: J R R Tolkien, J K Rowling, the Pythons, Ian Fleming, Rowan Atkinson, and others.
According to the timezone data from my Webserver, PooterGeek now has about the same number of American visitors per day as British ones (though not around 3 o'clock yesterday morning when the bloody thing went down again for three hours). Perhaps it's because I say nice things about you at a time when saying nasty things about you is so fashionable over here. Any country that so offends the complacent, snobbish, anti-meritocratic English middle classes has to have something going for it. And, obviously, as far as I'm concerned, your charming, freedom-lovin' ways just rock.