Americanism or the Influence of American English upon British English

The British colonization of America in 1600 had its effects on the English language which led to the rise of Americanism in English which had its distinct flavors both from the cultural and linguistic point of view. Several centuries have passed since the first British settlements in America and in these centuries both British and American English have developed and matured in divergent ways while casting a deep influence upon each other.

A lot of what the British refer to as Americanism is nothing but the original British expressions that have been preserved in colonies long after they disappeared from Britain. Terms such as “fall” for autumn, “faucet” for tap, diaper, candy, crib and so on serve as great examples in this context. Archaic British usages like gotten as the past participle of get, aim to for the later English use of aim at are some important preservations. Besides, there are many words in the English vocabulary which are perceived in different lights. For example, “politician” has a demeaning sense in America but it is devoid of the same in Britain. Already existing words such as store, shop, lumber underwent shifts in meaning whereas new meanings were awarded to many words such as mason, clerks, pull and so on.

The primary difference between British and American English is in the rhythm, intonation of speech (former has clipped syllables whereas the latter has a drawl and a nasal tone), differences in grammar, morphology and orthography. There have been a lot of developments in the new American speech and written language because of differing conditions of life and foreign influences which has greatly influenced British English.

American English has a marked tendency to use nouns as verbs such as pressure, interview, advocate and so on. Compounds such as bandwagon, hitchhike and hyphenated attributive adjectives like for-profit, ready-for-all are major influences. Many compound nouns such as stop-over, add-on and Americanisms formed by alteration of existing words like phony, bossy, pry are very productive!

Native American loanwords such as tomato, barbecue; a large inventory of words designating real estate concepts like outlands, apartment, backyard; terms connected with the U.S. political institutions like gubernatorial, filibuster; transport  and road infrastructure terminologies such as, overpass, downtown, subway; household words describing occupations such as bartenders, bouncers; merger, downsize, delisting from the world of finance and a lot of sports terminologies such as Monday-morning quarterback, game plan are great examples of how American influence has added to the English vocabulary. In this context we cannot ignore the hoards of slang word which have found their way into the vocabulary owing to American influence through movies and slangs. For example, dumb for stupid, pass out for die, tube for television, shades for sunglasses. These terms are often used at a colloquial level.

It can be concluded that American influences has revitalized and invigorated British English and at the same time also caused impoverishments. American English which derives its linguistic legacy from the Queen’s language is fast  disseminating across the globe owing to America’s cultural imperialism on a global scale due to its status as a super-power, globalization, U.S. media bloom, promotional and publication houses and so on.

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