TV Tropes Org

Forums

search forum titles
google site search
Total posts: [11]
1

The American/British Language Divide:

Following History Maker's thread, I've been wondering... how true is the notion - in this day and age - that "British English" and "American English" have different vocabularies? Traditionally, Americans would use words like "bangs" and "pants" where as Brits would use "fringe" and "trousers".

But with both countries receiving programming and content from "across the Pond", I'm wondering if that divide still exist. Or is there significant crossover amongst their respective users? I know I personally use a mixture of both on a day-to-day basis though I realise that I may be atypical - at least, where I live. But then again, I don't exactly live in a major urban cultural melting pot like London or New York.

Obviously, British English users will understand American English words and vice versa. The question is, would they themselves use it?
 
 2 Khantalas, Fri, 29th Mar '13 4:49:24 PM from ((Not actually a creepy adorable little girl.))
Creepy adorable little girl
My experience has been that the British and the Canadians are fairly insistent on enforcing the divide on their end, but the Statesians are much more casual about using Britisms in their speech, if they are aware of them.
"Be mine, dear big brother."
Terracotta Soldier Man
As an American, I've caught myself using a few Britishisms when none of the American words seem to fit. I tend to use "pants" and "trousers" pretty interchangeably, although I use "trousers" more for khakis and slacks and "pants" for things like blue jeans when I can be bothered make a distinction.

"Widdershins" is also a very fun word. I like the way it rolls off the tongue waii Not an easy word to use in casual conversation without some measure of shoehorning, though.

Not particularly relevant footnote 

EDIT: Formatting.

edited 29th Mar '13 9:55:43 PM by Specialist290

 4 Oh So Into Cats, Sat, 30th Mar '13 4:47:37 AM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Americans don't care but will look at you funny if they don't know it.

Brits will care and will know it, period full stop.

edited 30th Mar '13 4:48:12 AM by ohsointocats

"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~60.4k/100,000 words
So, it sounds to me that British English users are a more territorial and "purist" than American English users. Goddammit! My characters are British in a purely British setting. I wonder if I can get away more if I hint - including through her use of "Americanisms" - that she has been heavily exposed to and influenced by American media - TV, movies, games, etc.
 
 6 Bisected 8, Sat, 30th Mar '13 6:03:35 AM from The home of Richard III Relationship Status: I-It's not like I like you, or anything!
Speaking as a Brit, I've never heard of the word "Widdershins" up until this point.

Anyway, plenty of people use American words and slang here (mostly young adults and teens; some words have been assimilated, some will make you look like you've watched too many American sitcoms). It's only really spelling and grammar that people pay attention to, I don't think there's any concerted effort to avoid it.
 7 Oh So Into Cats, Sat, 30th Mar '13 6:47:48 AM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Widdershins is a silly word that nobody uses unless you're Terry Pratchett.

"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~60.4k/100,000 words
 8 Scorpio Rat, Sat, 30th Mar '13 10:45:40 AM from Houston, Texas Relationship Status: Reincarnated romance
When horoscopes go wrong
I personally don't use British slang or terms when speaking (even when I lived in New York with more exposure to a variety of accents), but I catch myself writing the way a British person might word something. Vocab is different though. How I spell certain words like grey depeds on what I feel like using, but I never add the 'u' to color or humor.
"Only women and cats are allowed inside my armor!"

 9 De Marquis, Sat, 30th Mar '13 11:26:20 AM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
What we Americans like to do is "borrow" words and phrases from other countries, "Americanize" them by changing their use somewhat, and then re-invade their culture with a corrupted version of their own language.

Heh, heh, heh...
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
 10 Oh So Into Cats, Sat, 30th Mar '13 12:06:42 PM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
[up] The best part is that that's not even unique. The M.O. was started by the British.
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~60.4k/100,000 words
 11 Bisected 8, Sat, 30th Mar '13 12:21:34 PM from The home of Richard III Relationship Status: I-It's not like I like you, or anything!
All countries/languages/cultures do it (although the English language is notable for how much of other languages it tends to assimilate).

Half of all western anime related terms are Recursive Translations.
The system doesn't know you right now, so no post button for you.
You need to Get Known to get one of those.
Total posts: 11
1


TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy