On Britspeak and the origin of A Capital Idea
A story in the LA Times discusses the growing number of Briticisms making their way into American speech, including "queuing up," "went missing" and "at the end of the day."
Why are they more prevalent lately?
"We've always had a cultural inferiority complex with regard to the Brits," Stanford University linguist Geoffrey Nunberg says, "that they speak correctly and we don't. We even say we 'use the queen's English.' And why should that matter to us?"I find that Britspeak crops up in my writing and speech when I watch BBC series (I can't get enough of "Wives and Daughters" and "Pride and Prejudice") or read British novels. (In fact, the name "A Capital Idea" came from watching P&P; one character is always saying "Capital, capital," and it was stuck in my mind.)
Just such intellectual Anglophilia may be what's behind a virus that's infecting American media these days: Britspeak. We have become a nation of journalistic copycats, betraying perfectly good American idioms along the way.
Adding British expressions to your vocabulary, Nunberg says, "makes you sound pragmatic, a little cynical." Smart, in other words. And it's a cottage industry in some quarters.
All that being said, take a couple of minutes to read the whole article. It's a fun -- but quick -- read.