I recently read an article on the BBC that talks about Britishisms creeping into American English. I found it interesting considering that for years all the attention has been on all the Americanisms used by Brits.
[Side note: my spell check knows the word Americanisms but puts a squiggly red line under Britishisms.]
What I loved most in the article, was that the influence of some of the words came from a book. A children’s book no less. Of course, the book is Harry Potter:
“There has also been “a huge up-tick”, says Stamper, in the use of ginger as a way of describing someone with red hair. She sees this as clearly tied to the publication in the US of the first Harry Potter book. Dozens of words and phrases were changed for the American market, but ginger slipped through, as did snog (meaning “to kiss amorously”) – though that has not proved so popular.
I never got why it was necessary to take any of the Britishisms out of it in the first place. (Did they also do this to Roald Dahl stories, I wonder? Does anyone know?)
But mostly I think that books should introduce you to new worlds. And not just the magical world of wizards and muggles, but also real worlds of unknown cultures. The Britishisms make Harry Potter more authentic considering the story takes place in England. So I’m all for leaving the Britishims in. If readers don’t know a word, they’ll usually get it from the context. (Anyone who’s read A Cloackwork Orange will know that.) And children are even better at picking up a ‘new’ language. I think the American publisher simply didn’t give their young audience enough credit.
Read the entire article on BBC: Britishisms and the Britishisation of American English
There is little that irks British defenders of the English language more than Americanisms, which they see creeping insidiously into newspaper columns and everyday conversation. But bit by bit British English is invading America too.