June 17, 2004

Turn about

After a two and a half centuries of British complaints about Americanisms polluting the pure fount of the English language, we've now reached the point where American professor Ben Yagoda feels entitled to complain that "Briticisms have passed their sell-by date, and the odor (or should I say odour) is getting a bit rank".

This is more than just the usual objection to pretentiousness, though that stereotype is certainly there. Yagoda seem genuinely offended that his language is being invaded by foreign expressions, in just the same way that Fowler was, a hundred years ago on the other side of the Atlantic.

Posted by Mark Liberman at June 17, 2004 12:51 PM