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Dudes, do we use too many Americanisms these days?

By Joe Tinkler | Fri, 29 Aug 2014 12:49
Dudes, do we use too many Americanisms these days?

Last week when I returned from the cinema (where I had the pick of a plethora of Hollywood films), I managed to catch the last bit of San Diego rockers, Blink 182, perform their usual pop-punk-littered-with-toilet-humour shtick to great effect in front of a youthful and energetic Reading crowd. And as I kicked off my sneakers and sipped on a bottle of Bud, I thought to myself, "Does America have too much of an influence on me?"

Well, my angst was not without warrant, as today The University of Cambridge and Lancaster University have released findings that point to the idea that the sway of America via various mediums has meant that our vocabularies have changed substantially over the past few years.

The study is in its infancy and is currently being referred to as the 'Spoken British National Corpus 2014', which is an initiative whereby linguists from both universities have collected conversations from British speakers from across the UK.

One word that seemed to be emphasise the change quite aptly was ‘awesome’, which features '72 times per million words compared to ‘marvellous’, which has fallen in use from 155 times per million 20 years ago to only two times per million today'.

Speaking on behalf of the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science (CASS) at Lancaster University, Tony McEnery, said: "The rise of ‘awesome’ seems to provide evidence of American English’s influence on British speakers.”

In our HBO boxset culture, our hip-hop and R&B dominated charts and fast food restaurants from across the pond that we frequent more than we'd like to admit, is American culture dominated our lives and how we speak too much? Or is change just a normal, organic part of life and language?

Although, McEnery believes that we'll not know for sure how much the US is ingrained in our lexical fields until we get a more varied microcosm of how we speak currently.

“It is of great importance to collect new recordings from the 2010s in order to understand the nature of British English speech as it is today and not how it was more than two decades ago.”

Until then, we'll just have to chill out and watch some Emmy award-winning dramas whilst we wait for them to do the math. I mean maths. My bad.

Those wishing to send recordings of their conversations, be sure to send them to: corpus@cambridge.com

Tagged: university, study, new, hbo, food, app, america

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