[lit-ideas] Re: English

  • From: Robert Paul <rpaul@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2011 14:07:50 -0700

Julie C wrote:


Indeed. Not long after Cornwallis surrendered to the Americans and the French at Yorktown, the British sailed home and left a tremendous amount of linguistic debris scattered on the beaches. The Americans, inspired by Benjamin Franklin's example of thrift, collected most of it and put it to their own use. The unforeseen consequences of this were to impede the expression of clear ideas and plain speech among the Colonists and their descendants for centuries. We are only now, as Tristan Benoit has put it, 'winning back the right to speak and to write as God

The Modern Language Association, in cooperation with the Committee to Promote American Words and Phrases, has begun a program to encourage school children in Britain to speak of the hood and the trunk of an automobile, rather than its bonnet and boot, and to replace the present rebarbative British pronunciation of 'controversy,' and
'corollary,' with their soothing and mellifluous American counterparts.

A plan to reform British constructions such as 'General Motors have declared a small dividend,' 'Toot Baldon have
defeated Chelsea,' is underway.

List members may be interested in Patriotic responses to the BBC's whingeing, at





Robert Paul
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