The Worldwide Weblog of Donald Pincher

by Joshua Gaskell

Tag: Amerenglish

Monday, 4th May 2015

The businessese phrase going forward is criticised for being a modish, redundant and irritating example of groupspeak. The new edition of Fowler’s, for example, calls it ‘much maligned’, and the OxfordWords blog laments the fact that it ‘now seems to be tacked on unthinkingly to every utterance’.

I wonder whether it offends the ear as it does on account of being American not only in origin but also in grammar. Adverbially speaking, forward is fast gaining ground over forwards, with British and Irish English the remaining strongholds of the latter. So let’s keep it that way; and, if we must jargonise, do so in our native tongue – going forwards.

Thursday, 19th February 2015

I can’t remember the last time I ordered a cup of tea in a café and wasn’t asked to confirm that yes, I do just mean an actual cup of tea; or English breakfast as Americanised dunderheads insist on calling it.

N.B. English breakfast is bacon and eggs, and English breakfast tea is a roundabout way of saying tea.

Sunday, 1st February 2015

Schwa is

A term in phonetics for a central vowel sound represented by the symbol /ə/. […] Although not represented in the conventional alphabet, schwa is the commonest vowel sound in English. It typically occurs in unstressed syllables, and in the following list is shown for illustrative purposes as if it were an everyday letter: əbove, əgain, səppose, photəgraph, scenəry, sofə. (Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language)

Further to my definition of spelling pronunciation: since schwa isn’t represented in the alphabet (and with the American-influenced tendency uniambically to stress unstressed syllables), will it always remain ‘the commonest vowel sound in English’?

Saturday, 24th January 2015

When I write an email and Firefox’s American dictionary underlines with red words like favour, artefact and jewellery, it sometimes makes me doubt myself, and I feel like Chris Finch doing the quiz with David Brent: ‘You’re putting this thing in my mind… this poison.’

Tuesday, 13th January 2015

On the side of a bus I see an advert for a book, which contains the legend, ‘Available in all bookstores’. I thought advertisers working for global companies were paid a lot of money to tailor their drivel to local populations. The creeping in of store is troubling at the best of times, but even more so in an encouragement towards a good old bookshop.

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