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Old 28th Jul 2011, 10:36   #11
David
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Default Re: Annoying Americanisms? A rebuttal

I have to say, I largely agree with all your rebuttals, Ono, except for number 4 ('24/7') which really does get on my wick. Not because I'd ever considered it an americanism though - I hadn't and had thought it was some sort of text speak thing. But it just makes me cringe and I do tend to make an instant (and unfavourable) judgement about the person saying it, perhaps because it is so often erroneously used - typically I will hear people saying they have been "working twenty-four seven on such-and-such" which is clearly just not true - but also because I think there are more elegant, less harsh and brusque ways of saying things than reducing them to a sequence of numbers. But that may just be me.

I was listening to some of the discussion about this very issue on Radio 5 this morning and one word that kept cropping up that does irritate me is "closure". Again, though, this isn't particularly because of it being an americanism - as with "stress" it is more to do with what it says about modern society!

Bill: I must take issue with your implication that all British people go around saying 'cheers' instead of 'thanks'. 'Cheers', like people calling me 'pal' or 'mate', I find really irritating and I tend to associate it with rough blokes who drive white vans, though that may be more of a regional thing (certainly 15 or 20 years ago people around here weren't saying 'cheers' when 'ta' would do so it must have been imported from elsewhere). I often speak to southerners and Londoners who are patently not white van drivers who say "cheers, mate" to me and it sounds perfectly natural.
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Old 28th Jul 2011, 10:50   #12
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Default Re: Annoying Americanisms? A rebuttal

Excellent thread. We used to do shit like this all the time. Well done all.

I am a habitual user of 'my bad', that is my confession. Almost entirely a Buffy-based decision, so would go with Ono's 'yoof' theory there.

The only one for which I would still hang on to a reactionary dislike is I could care less, but I like the way it's been explained away above.

This subject still has legs, though, as was evidenced by a just-under-the-surface simmering exchange between US/UK writers this morning on the radio. At no point did the level of debate approach the standard witnessed here.
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Old 28th Jul 2011, 12:59   #13
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Default Re: Annoying Americanisms? A rebuttal

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Originally Posted by ono no komachi View Post
26. As an expat living in New Orleans, it is a very long list but "burglarize" is currently the word that I most dislike. Simon, New Orleans
 
I have no argument for this one, since a perfectly good verb 'to burgle' already exists. All I can think of is that the illustrious brass players of New Orleans kept getting it mixed up with 'to bugle' and wanted a new word to avoid confusion.
According to etymonline.com, burglarize is actually the older form: first recorded use was in 1871, while burgle was first heard the following year, 1872.

I read this article quickly last week and seem to remember it wasn't so much about Americanisms in themselves, but about British people using them inauthentically. In which case Simon really has nothing to complain about, because I have never heard a British person say 'Burglarize'.
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Old 28th Jul 2011, 13:10   #14
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Default Re: Annoying Americanisms? A rebuttal

I think that's the case with a lot of usages that we think of as specifically belonging to US English, inasmuch as many usages survived there that died out or changed in the UK.

Also, I would like to make clear that I didn't genuinely think that 'burglarized' originated in New Orleans, I was just being a bit daft regarding the association of New Orleans with jazz.
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Old 28th Jul 2011, 16:08   #15
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Default Re: Annoying Americanisms? A rebuttal

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Bill: I must take issue with your implication that all British people go around saying 'cheers' instead of 'thanks'. 'Cheers', like people calling me 'pal' or 'mate', I find really irritating and I tend to associate it with rough blokes who drive white vans, though that may be more of a regional thing (certainly 15 or 20 years ago people around here weren't saying 'cheers' when 'ta' would do so it must have been imported from elsewhere). I often speak to southerners and Londoners who are patently not white van drivers who say "cheers, mate" to me and it sounds perfectly natural.
I never meant to imply anything so monstrous. But I've only heard "cheers" used by the British, or by Australians, or Irish people who don't fall under the "British" umbrella, as well as those who do. So it still counts as a Britishism, and one I happen to like. "Mate", too, is good.
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Old 28th Jul 2011, 16:47   #16
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Default Re: Annoying Americanisms? A rebuttal

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(By the way, a neologism I like is 'game-changer', which I heard for the first time just a few days ago, and seem to have heard several times since. I do love a phrase which makes its meaning so instantly clear.)
My personal favorite is "slobberknocker". I still giddily cherish the memory of hearing it used for the first time by an Ohio State football game announcer: He said, describing a vicious tackle: "Wow, that was a slobberknocker!" His co-announcer said, slowly and incredulously, 'It was a What?' and you could hear the disbelief in the voice as it rose to a high-pitched, emphatic 'WHAT?" I laughed my ass off then, and still love telling the story.
It's all there: sound, and sense and expressiveness that borders on poetry of a very hilarious kind. It still crops up once in a while (or in a blue moon), but almost always among sports (football) announcers, and always with a laugh--but an appreciative laugh!

I agree that expressions which serve are to be cherished; especially those that are fresh. They may not always obey all the rules, but the rules are not written in stone. If they can do better than expressions which obey the rules (i.e. offer more, either of expressive power or immediacy of sense) they are welcome additions, even if only in their native and original settings.
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Old 28th Jul 2011, 17:12   #17
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Default Re: Annoying Americanisms? A rebuttal

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Excellent thread. We used to do shit like this all the time. Well done all.
I whole heartedly agree about the quality of the thread, and am excited to learn that this type of exchange was once so common. It is great fun and I learn stuff, too. What's better 'n 'at?

Ono, seriously, I think you should submit your rebuttal to the BBC for publication. (Maybe they'll even ask you to submit more commentary in the same vein in the future!)

Cheers, mates
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Old 2nd Aug 2011, 12:36   #18
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Default Re: Annoying Americanisms? A rebuttal

At the risk of showing my age it's remarkable how language changes in so short a time without us really noticing. I remember the first time I heard the word 'Guys' used to mean females as well as males (as in Guys and Dolls) I was in a Starbucks in LA* and I overheard someone (male) behind me say - "Are you guys sisters?". I fell of my mental chair trying to get my head around this bit of weird American transgenderism. Now, 20 years later, it's a commonplace.



* It's also remarkable how horrible coffee was in this country 20 years ago. It was shit. Watery thin brown arsedribble. The only way to get a decent cup of coffee when you were out was to find a place that served espresso (in itself a task and a half) and get them to make what used to be called a 'Red eye' in the States and is now known as an 'Americano' over here. A task that often required the use of very short words and sometimes diagrams drawn on napkins. Starbucks may be a horrible multinational but it has improved the quality of coffee drunk in this country 100 fold
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Old 2nd Aug 2011, 16:22   #19
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Default Re: Annoying Americanisms? A rebuttal

One day, 'arsedribble' will be as commonplace as it deserves to be.
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Old 2nd Aug 2011, 18:14   #20
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Default Re: Annoying Americanisms? A rebuttal

"Guy(s)" used to mean "any human person" is still not that common, at least as far as I can tell. Anytime I hear someone use it in reference to one or more females, I'm still taken aback. But then, the same thing is starting to happen to "dude".
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