Across the Pond: ReEuropeanization of American English

rubbish queue gutted dishy telly, Across the Pond: ReEuropeanization of American English

rubbish queue gutted dishy telly, Across the Pond: ReEuropeanization of American EnglishSince when are we all British? I mean, I know, we were a colony and all that, but since when do we say “queue” instead of “line?” That’s rubbish! We are even pronouncing it correctly now like we’ve been saying it our whole lives. Actually I think the earliest we saw queue in use was when Windows hijacked our computers and suddenly began telling us our print jobs were lining up. We really weren’t sure what a queue was, but we knew nothing was emerging from the printer, so it must be some type of a problem.

Madonna was born in Michigan, but she now sounds like a Manchester girl. She became popular just before Posh Spice, and that is almost as fun to say as “dishy vicar,” who of course we plan to “chat up.” Such fun! Such fun!

We haven’t started saying robot instead of traffic light or trolley instead of grocery cart or shopping cart. Maybe soon… If we keep watching Sherlock Holmes and Top Gear, the British pronunciations are bound to rub off on us. With online news viewing like BBC and Daily Mail UK on the rise, do we tend to take the European-sounding correspondent more seriously over the American? Where did we learn to say “spot on?” Probably from Harry Potter. Then there was that snowboarder who inspired us to notice the “gingers” in our midst.

I see “bespoke” in fashion magazines more often. Maybe that is the influence coming from fashion weeks abroad. Can’t buy it here. Perhaps ‘Downton Abbey’ is to blame, readying our ears for us to put all those “u’s” back into interiour and inferiour. And posteriour!

A friend in Cape Town just bought a new car. It is a KIA Sportage. As you read, I imagine that sounded in your head like sport and age or edge. But when she says it, it is spore tage. Like plant spores then the end bit of a collage. Ahhhhhhj. With her South African accent, she could pass for British to the untrained ear. And her friend Karen van der Merwe now works in London and plays the accent game. Karen says the French, or maybe it was the Germans, hate the Brits, so, when they visit her place of work, she is careful to pour on the Afrikaans accent so that they like her.

I imagine we do that too with our very Northern and Southern American accents, adjusting to be taken seriously, to fit in, or to gain empathy. Turns out that these extreme pronunciations of words can really cause problems.

The time the Cape Tonian friend told me to put the car keys in the washing machine was confusing. Luckily I realized she meant the khakis. Exact same sound; I am not kidding. Or when she told me to put something in the lost cabinet. How do you lose a cabinet? And how will I find it? She meant the last cabinet, luckily.

Who knows how far this Britishization will go. All the way back to imperialization and colonization? I really couldn’t say. Just pour me a spot of tea and turn on the telly. Dr. Who is queuing up.

What is your newest favourite Re-Europeanized word?



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