Published on October 19, 2012
It’s Friday, and what better time to reflect on a recent item that made news on both sides of the pond: Americans are barmy about Britishisms!
According to University of Delaware professor Ben Yagoda, who curates the Not One-Off Britishisms Blog (NOOB), British English words are creeping into the American vernacular, words like “flat,” “shag,” gobsmacked,” and “loo.” Some of these borrowings seem to have clear routes into U.S. English; for instance, did any of us use “shag” in its carnal sense before Austin Powers graced the silver screen? Other words seem to be altered when they hit these shores; for example, I am known to be “snarky” (just ask me about the “Snark Jar” in my office), but according to Yagoda, the British meaning is “unfriendly, nasty” whereas I use it to mean that I am being sarcastic (nasty and unfriendly are just a bonus!).
Now that I must conclude this bloggy bit, I am tempted to say “cheers,” as I “pop” off on “holiday” with my “mates,” storing my “kit” in the “boot” of my Jag. But, as it turns out, I’ll just be going home to my mutt dogs in the Indiana woods. Nothing very English about that, to be sure.