The Conversation‘s article “The Americanisation of the English language: a frightfully subtle affair” says that Americanisms aren’t killing English.
Spelling goes both directions fairly equally, the article argues.
” Take spelling, for example – towards the 1960s it looked like the UK was going in the direction of abandoning the “u” in “colour” and writing “centre” as “center”. But since then, the British have become more confident in some of their own spellings. In the 2000s, the UK used an American spelling choice about 11% of the time while Americans use a British one about 10% of the time, so it kind of evens out.”
I was relieved to learn that folks is correct, after all, just American.
“The British are still using “mum” rather than “mom”, “folk” rather than “folks”, “transport” rather than “transportation”, “petrol” rather than “gas”, “railway” rather than “railroad” and “motorway” rather than “highway”.”
I am amazed by the discussion of apostrophes, as a class of English majors was unable (or perhaps only unwilling) to explain the rules of apostrophes or admit they knew them.
“Americans also use a lot more apostrophes in their writing than they used to, which has the effect of turning the two words “do not” into the single “don’t”. They’re getting rid of certain possessive structures, too – so “the hand of the king” becomes the shorter “the king’s hand”.”
Having been unaware that gradable adverbs were a thing, I was intrigued to learn that these include boosters (like, for Brits, frightfully and awfully) and down-toners (like quite and rather). American boosters would be really and very. I’m not sure we have down-toners–even the spell check doesn’t recognize the word. (Don’t get too excited. I realize that specialized language for various fields are often underlined as misspelled when they are not. I just don’t know if down-toners is an example of that.)
It’s an interesting article with more than I discussed here.