Saturday, 27 November 2010

Lickety splits: two nations divided by a common language

The 1950 Manchester Guardian stylebook gravely listed "Americanisms" to avoid, including "aim to do" (instead of "aim of doing"), "balding", "to call" (rather than "to telephone"), "to contact", "to date" (rather than "so far"), "to help him finish the job" (instead of "to help him to finish the job"), "high-ranking officer", "to pinpoint", "teen-ager" and many similar outrages that no doubt exercised letter writers of the time.
In 2010, its readers object to brownstone, duke it out, lickety split, pony up and suck. Can't see the problem myself. English has a long and glorious history of sucking up new words like a sponge. Far better to do that than to worry endlessly about foreign imports as the French seem to do.

More on The Guardian:

No comments:

Post a Comment