BBC: Geoff Nunberg snaps and quivers

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According to Cordelia Hebblethwaite, "Britishisms and the Britishisation of American English", BBC News 9/26/2012:

There is little that irks British defenders of the English language more than Americanisms, which they see creeping insidiously into newspaper columns and everyday conversation. But bit by bit British English is invading America too.

"Spot on – it's just ludicrous!" snaps Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist at the University of California at Berkeley.

"You are just impersonating an Englishman when you say spot on."

"Will do – I hear that from Americans. That should be put into quarantine," he adds.

And don't get him started on the chattering classes – its overtones of a distinctly British class system make him quiver.

But not everyone shares his revulsion at the drip, drip, drip of Britishisms – to use an American term – crossing the Atlantic.

Now, I've known Geoff Nunberg for more than 30 years, and I can't recall ever seeing him quiver with outrage or revulsion, even metaphorically, about a point of usage. On the contrary, his usual attitude in matters of usage politics is the relaxed urbanity that he expresses in this passage from a Language Log post ("Don't get your kilt in a bundle" 1/16/2012):

If the greatest linguistic threats we're facing are things like the confusion of prone and supine and a deteriorating grasp on the lie/lay distinction, then we'll probably muddle through. It's like hearing someone warn of grave domestic security threats and then learning that he's mostly concerned about Canadian sturgeon-poaching on the US side of Lake Huron.

So what's going on? Is advancing age turning Geoff into Conan the Grammarian? Has a squad of journalistic ninjas from The Onion infiltrated the BBC, as in the recent Fars News Agency exploit? (If so, the author's name, "Cordelia Hebblethwaite", was a nice touch.)

Or was this just another example of approximate quotation gone sadly wrong, like John Wells on cow dialects, or David Harrison on Chulym, or John Rickford on linguistic "rules"?

My money is on the third (and least interesting) option: "When in doubt, blame the journalist" is a reliable rule of thumb in such cases. But perhaps Geoff has had a conversion experience, and Longman (or rather, Pearson) will soon announce that the long-awaited Fifth Edition of Strunk & White will become Strunk, White, & Nunberg.

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41 Comments »

  1. LDavidH said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 9:19 am

    The original article was quite interesting, anyway – as a Swede married to a Brit with American friends, I found the list of "Britishisms" quite illuminating!

  2. Picky said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 10:25 am

    Well, the article was indeed interesting, if not very enlightening. As to Professor Nunberg, why don't you ask the man? Did he snap? Did he quiver? Good lord, he's a mate of yours isn't he? Just ask the bloke.

    [(myl) I know the answer to my question -- but the question is more interesting, in my opinion.]

  3. Lazar said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 11:12 am

    As an American with a British grandparent, one of my favorite imports is gormless – "lacking intelligence or good sense". If someone demonstrates the opposite qualities, though, then they obviously have seykhl.

  4. diogenes said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

    I saw the article and thought that Dr Nunberg's outbursts seemed uncharacteristic of the man. I was going to bring it to your attention but you got there first.

  5. M (was L) said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

    Hmm. It never occurred to me that seychel is the same thing as gorm.

    My kids picked up a great deal of their language development from Doctor Who, although they also learned very young (from me) to mock Shining Times Station whenever George Carlin as Mr. Conductor used Ringo Starr's scripts and said things like "Well lads, let's have a go then."

    The US TV industry seems to have "discovered" British actors and talk-show hosts again, and this time it's not only PBS. At the same time, Doctor Who keeps sucking up to America, placing his adventures in American settings, populated by only-slightly-wrong American characters.

    Or maybe it's an alternate universe. Sometimes that happens you know.

    What I'm on about, you should pardon the expression, is the transatlantic communication in daily culture at all levels which seems to be on the increase – and the inevitable result of such exposure, borrowing in both directions.

  6. Robert Coren said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 12:48 pm

    I spent so much of my life consuming English (meaning "from England") literature that I can hardly tell US from British usage any more. I find myself saying things like, "Well did you [such-and-such]? Well, you should have done" without thinking about it.

  7. Jan Freeman said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

    I too was dubious about the notion that Geoff Nunberg "snapped" anything to the reporter, but as a journalist I defaulted instantly to Mark's third option: It's very common to juice up a quote by using a more-vigorous-than-warranted verb to characterize the speaker's delivery. For me the surprise in the piece was Geoff's describing "will do" as a Britishism. I would never have suspected.

    [(myl) I had the same reaction. But I'm not clear which "will do" we're talking about:

    Any detail will do.
    I will do my best.
    Please shut the door. - Will do!
    You never know what he will do.
    ... etc. ...

    There are plenty of examples of all of these in American English, but perhaps some of them are commoner in Britain, or once were commoner there.]

  8. J.W. Brewer said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 1:40 pm

    Now I'm thinking this whole post is some sort of subtle joke relying on Britishismistic wordplay. Perhaps "snaps and quivers" is cockney rhyming slang for something vaguely comical and/or obscene?

  9. ALEX MCCRAE said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 1:53 pm

    I blame this whole creep-of-Britishisms-invading-Am. En.- phenomenon on that faux Brit, Madonna, who after spending several years living in the U.K, married for a spell to Brit film director, Guy Ritchie, all of a sudden started sounding like some proper limey 'toff'—– her native Brookynese* morphing, seemingly overnight, into an affected English-inflected speech mode, w/ 'gobsmacks', 'fummoxes', 'brilliants', and 'spot-ons' peppered throughout. Blimey!

    By-the-by, I think the English actor Hugh Laurie, lead actor in the long-running (now ending) American TV dramatic series, "House", does a masterful job of handling an American accent in his curmudgeonly portrayal of Dr. House.

    When interviewed on talk shows, Laurie speaks w/ his 'normal' English accent, but w/ a distinctive educated air….. hardly w/ a London Cockney flavor, like say Sir Michael Caine's natural speech mode.

    *Not quite sure if Madonna grew up in Brooklyn, or the Bronx. Could have even been New Jersey.

  10. Mark F. said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 2:15 pm

    Surely, the "will do" that is referred to is the utterance used in response to a request. And I had no idea it was particularly British.

    I would definitely be interested to hear GN's description of the interview.

  11. Gene Callahan said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 2:55 pm

    Will do:

    It's in this situation:

    A: Are you going to the movies today?

    B: Yes, I think I will do.

    THAT is not American.

  12. ALEX MCCRAE said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 3:11 pm

    Mark L.,

    Thanks for the timely correction of my original "Britishism", san the "s".

    I'm currently engrossed in watching the Ryder Cup golf tourney on the tele (there's a true Britishism), being contested at the storied Medinah course, outside of Chicago.

    Ironically one of the competing Brit stalwarts, Luke Donald, has resided in the Windy City for several years now, so he may have some mixed emotions going into this contest. But surely national pride trumps place of residence in this particular unfolding Ryder Cup scenario.

    At this juncture the Internationals and Brits appear a tad flummoxed by the strong early showing of the Yanks, thus far in the team play phase of the competition, despite the fact that Tiger Woods has lost his first two matches w/ partner Steve Stricker.

    Jolly good viewing for any diehard golf aficionados out there, for sure.

  13. Sili said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

    My vote is for The Onion. Why should the Beeb be better than the Fars in these matters?

  14. J.W. Brewer said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 3:27 pm

    Madonna Ciccone grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, so when she arrived in New York in 1978 one would expect her to perhaps have had some (inland) Northern Cities Shift in her vowels, but nothing local to NYC. Someone could perhaps compile interview audio from various points in her career to track the evolution of her accent from there.

  15. Jonathan Mayhew said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 3:42 pm

    I know "spot on" is British, but I hear people use it with no affectation. Soon (if not already) people will hear it and not know it's British. Then it will be American too. This might have already happened. I can hear in my mind's ear as simply an idiom appropriate on both sides of the Atlantic.

  16. M (was L) said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 3:54 pm

    According to wikipedia, she's from Bay City, Michigan; which makes her Scottish, but only on Saturday night,

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madonna_(entertainer)

  17. Kenny Easwaran said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 4:14 pm

    Is it also possible that Geoff Nunberg was playing Conan the Grammarian, because that's the way to get the BBC to play along? It could be a useful act intended to spread the information that it's not just Americanisms recently invading the UK, but that language change occurs always and everywhere, in all directions.

  18. ALEX MCCRAE said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

    M (was L),

    Your observation re/ the Brit invasion of talent into even non-PBS, American television, is well taken.

    Immediately, the slightly naughty, very bright, quick-witted, and amiable Scot expat, and proud Glaswegian, late-night TV talk-show host, Craig Ferguson, comes to mind.

    Ferguson became a U.S. citizen just a few years back, and appears fully committed to making his mark, and permanent home-base in America. Still retaining a fair chunk of his charming Scottish brogue, he's attracted a sizable loyal fan-base over roughly a seven year run on late-night CBS Network TV.

    I haven't watched him for quite a while, but when I did tune in more regularly to his show, he would often do very disparaging parody sketches of Prince Charles, wearing huge prosthetic ears, protruding, crooked false teeth, and a weird comb-over type hair piece— making the apparent heir to the British throne seem like some foppish, out-of-touch, silly dandy.

    (As a loyal British Commonwealian, and proud Canuck, I must confess I found Ferguson's caricaturing of Charles bordering on cruel, verging on outright creepy. But that's just me.)

    Clearly, Ferguson isn't a huge royals fan, although I don't believe he has the same distaste, or antipathy for the younger crop of Brit nobility, namely William, Kate, and Harry.

    Ferguson has been very open, on-air, about his earlier, long-term battle w/ alcoholism, and how, roughly eighteen years ago, he vowed to embrace sobriety, gave up the booze, entered a local 12-step recovery program, and has, to his credit, remained sober, ever since.

    Ferguson's willingness to occasionally shelve his comedic side and discuss more serious subjects, on-air, from a very personal perspective, has seemingly endeared Craig to his growing audience, even more.

    I remember, years back, when, in his intro/monologue he expressed his upset over how the pop-culture media had been negatively piling onto the singer Britney Spears when her life was seemingly running totally amok; around the time she had gone and shaved off all her hair, for no apparent reason.

    Ferguson was urging folks to see Spears as a lost and confused soul, who could use compassion, and moral support, rather than ridicule. mockery, and derision.

    I really admired Ferguson for his outspokenness in this instance, realizing that this guy may be a professional comedian/ actor, first and foremost, but he also has true depth of character, and a caring, empathetic heart.

    Well, enough of my tangential ramblin', and babblin'.

    I'm hieing out of here.

  19. the other Mark P said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 4:36 pm

    making the apparent heir to the British throne seem like some foppish, out-of-touch, silly dandy.

    I think Prince Charles manages that all by himself. It just is that some people consider it rude to point it out.

  20. ALEX MCCRAE said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 4:57 pm

    @J. W. Brewer

    Thanks for the Madonna Ciccone original stomping-grounds clarification. The environs of Detroit it is. (Boy, was I off course. Where was my inner GPS when I needed it? HA!)

    It WOULD be a cool study, tracking the evolution of Madonna's accent over the span of her performing career. I believe the Brit affectation has kind of abated, of late, in recalling the few recent interviews I've heard of the aging, but still relevant pop diva.

    I believe she expressed some umbrage over one fairly recent Lady Gaga hit song allegedly sounding an awful lot like one of her signature tunes, and publicly made her discontent known to the press.

    I view Lady Gaga as today's rightful heir-apparent to Madonna, although the likes of Madonna and Grace Jones were kind of the pioneers of out-there, pushing-the-envelop stage histrionics in the pop music realm.

    @M (was L). Was that Scottish-only-on-Saturday-night dig re/ Madonna's Bay City, MI, roots, a backhand nod to the popular early '70s Scottish rockers, the Bay City Rollers, hailing from Edinburgh, Scotland?

    Hmm… I can still recall those controversial B&W nude (art) photos of a late-teenage/ early twenties, Madonna, sans makeup, (or clothes). Those images created quite a stir when they first came into public view, well after her career had taken off. I believe they may have been shot when she had first arrived in NYC, and needed some income to just pay the bills.

    The rest, as they say, is history.

  21. John McIntyre said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 5:43 pm

    I suspect that Professor Nunberg was having her on.

  22. jan Rivera said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 6:14 pm

    I'm an American; if I say it, it's American speech. I say "Spot on," "Will do," and (if presented with a reasonable suggestion I may or may not commit to) "Could do." If Brits can wear jeans, I can say "suss" without affectation.

    Do you get my drift? Then good enough! I mean, isn't it non-prescriptivists who get (or should I say "come over all"?) smirky about, say, the French futilely trying to keep Americanisms out?

  23. M (was L) said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

    @Alex McCrae – Is that a teenage girl with a plaid scarf I see behind you?

  24. M (was L) said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 6:29 pm

    @Alex McCrae again -

    Craig Ferguson, and at least two daytime talk, er, chat shows now being heavily advertised. BBC America on cable in many markets (and showing little more than Top Gear most of the time).

    It's not quite the Archers on NPR, but it's a noticeable development all the same.

  25. Bob Couttie said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 6:37 pm

    "Will do:ish

    It's in this situation:

    A: Are you going to the movies today?

    B: Yes, I think I will do.

    THAT is not American."

    In my experience as a British English native speaker "will do" is used to indicate compliance: "Go over and sink the Spanish fleet, Drake" – "Will do, ma'am". It is used like the now rather rare "wilco" – "Will comply". I suspect it has a military origin.

  26. Keith M Ellis said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 7:15 pm

    @Bob Couttie, the "will do = will comply" has been part of my five decades-old American idiolect. I'm pretty sure that usage is reasonable common here. But the usage Gene Callahan mentions certainly isn't — as I'm sure you know, Americans just elide "do", "done", and the like in similar sentences.

    Is it just me, or did anyone else find that the peeving of various sorts in that article very annoying? Disdain directed in either direction — downward by Brits against "language degrading" Americanisms, upward by Americans against the supposed affectation of Britishism usages — just somehow powerfully makes me want to slap someone. It's the combination of stupid notions about other cultures, which is bad enough, with a willful denial of the utility and joy of the increased expressive variety made possible by these words and phrases. Two kinds of close-mindedness fused into one noxious, insular mindset.

  27. ALEX MCCRAE said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 7:45 pm

    @M (was L),

    Hey mon, are yah secretly Skipe-ing me?

    That young lassie in the plaid scarf could get me in a whole lot of trouble…. if that be all she's asportin'…. if you get me drift, laddie. (Oh behave!)

    Brit sassy funny-man, Rickie Gervais, has been fondly embraced by edgy comedy fans here in the U.S. over the past few years, and appears to have settled seamlessly into the American pop-culture/ comedy scene.

    Having hosted a few Golden Globes gala award shows in recent years*, starred, a few years back, in his own quasi-reality scripted cable show where he played a lowly Hollywood extra who thinks he's 'all-that' and then-some (but ain't), plus a recent appearance on Jerry Seinfeld's fun, new cable show, "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee", Gervais' popularity quotient, and exposure, appears to be majorly on the rise here in America.

    Of course, Gervais was both the creator of, and star in the British hit comedy TV series, "The Office", which was basically adapted for U.S. consumption, keeping the identical name, but w/ Steve Carell playing the obnoxious, self-absorbed Rickie Gervais office manager character.

    This wasn't the first, (or last) time that a hit Brit TV show premise has been co-opted by American TV writers and producers for a strictly American audience.

    Both Norman Lear's hit show,"All in the Family", and the '70's "Sanford and Son", starring Redd Foxx, were based on established Brit sitcoms, but adapted for the U.S. TV viewing market.

    *Admittedly, Gervais' first Golden Globe's hosting effort got mixed-to-strongly-negative critical reviews, as he came off as rather lewd, crude, and a tad rude w/ his edgy on-stage banter. Publicly insulting Hollywood insiders is not a prudent road to hoe, especially w/ a world-wide TV audience of millions, looking on.

    Thankfully, next time out, he was much less controversial, and kept the salty talk, and insults to a bare minimum….. and the critics were much more kind to wacky Rickie, post awards night.

  28. J.W. Brewer said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 8:51 pm

    @Keith Ellis: Maybe the question is whether e.g. "affectation" and "pretentiousness" are not only pejorative words carrying negative value judgments but also (perhaps it would be better if some boring technical-sounding synonyms could be devised without the same baggage) words describing real sociological phenomena which can in principle be marked by inter alia patterns of language usage. If the latter (and this could also apply to "Anglophilia" as a sociological phenomenon as to which value judgments may differ), then trying to figure out whether using a particular Britishism (for an AmEng speaker) is in fact typically a marker of that sort of sociological category (and trying to figure it out empirically, not just assuming the conclusion) seems like a perfectly valid project for descriptive sociolinguistics.

  29. Reinhold {Rey} Aman said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 9:40 pm

    @ ALEX "w/" MCCRAE:

    Please read the "Comments policy" and shut yer bleedin' gob (Britishisms alert!). This is "Language Log," not "Senile-Prattling Log" for endless off-topic droolings about politics, golf, TV, and celebrities. Thank you.

    (Very sorry, Mark; it's a dirty job, but someone had to do it.)

  30. M (was L) said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 9:53 pm

    @Alex McRae – Yes, countless adaptations, there was even an attempt at Red Dwarf (google for it, parts of the US version are on youtube).

    But there was a time that was about the only way to get British work on US TV, excepting PBS, singers/musicians, and the odd character role (think Richard Dawson's Newkirk). I think the idea was that American audiences wouldn't accept furriners so good, and this extended to the East End of London just as strongly as the West End or the City. It's not about elites, it's about furriners.

    Somehow they've decided that Americans are worth the gamble now. Somebody – Gervais, Ferguson, Who, or maybe Idle, Cleese, et al succeeded and nothing succeeds like success.

    TV does what TV does best, which usually means that it does whatever did best last year.

    Not just TV of course; the music biz has been bidirectionally transatlantic for eight days a week, movies too. But this telefuckingnetworkvision, the true opiate of the masses.

  31. M (was L) said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 10:07 pm

    @Rey Aman – Drawing all this back to topic, the point on the table is that mass US culture as represented by TV, both late-night and daytime chat, is now welcoming Brits, and not just Hugh Laurie's flawless impression of an American, but Brits presenting as Brits.

    Once you begin to have that mass exposure, you're bound to have bleed between accents and vocabularies.

    You just will do, and no, I never ever say it that way.

    Right now I'm half-watching BBCA trying to explain why it's such a great thing that they now suck up to stateside audiences. Because apparently they think that's why Americans watch BBC, to see the United States.

  32. Rebecca said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 10:22 pm

    Having been around many children while they were immersed in the Harry Potter books – rereading each book over many times – I can attest that those kids adopted many Britishisms from the books during their immersion. Whether it lasted with them into adulthood, I have no idea. But I still see signs that certain words have shifted their default meaning for kids towards a British reading (eg. "mental") and, based on what they report, it's because of the Potter books.

  33. ALEX MCCRAE said,

    September 29, 2012 @ 11:24 pm

    Reinhold Aman,

    If, perchance you could have gotten your knickers (Britishism alert!) in less of an angry knot, and maybe framed your largely valid grievance w/ me in a little less insulting, and derisive manner, I might accept the thrust of your argument as intended constructive criticism from a concerned fellow blogger.

    But in your bandying about such negatively-loaded, choice phrases as "shut your bleedin' gob", "Senile-Prattling Log", and "drooling about…", respectfully, you do come off as a bit of an irate, inflexible bully.

    Doesn't the Language Log "Comments policy" happen to address maintaining a fairly civil, and respectful tone when participating in online dialogue? Just curious.

    But no worries, I will do my best, going forward, to play down all that alleged trifling sports, TV, and celebrity trivia stuff, and stay largely focused on the language-related topics at hand, in future posts.

    Wouldn't want you to get all hot-and-bothered, again, would we. Just a small tip…. anger, and sarcasm do not become you.

    P.S.: —Great to see my "w/" for "with" is catching on. You 'wear' it well.

  34. Rod Johnson said,

    September 30, 2012 @ 1:41 am

    Rey's tone was intemperate, but Alex, with respect, given your prolixity, garrulity, and the somewhat nebulous relationship of your comments to language, it's not really surprising that people's hackles are being raised. You seem like an interesting person–the traditional wish at this point is for you to "get your own blog" (sometimes abbreviated as "GYOBFW"). (Your reference to Ray as "a concerned fellow blogger" makes me wonder if you have already done that, or if you imagine that that's what you're doing by posting here.)

    I'm not trying to dictate to you—I'm just another schmoe typing in a comment box on someone else's site, after all—but perhaps being mindful of all this might be a good idea.

  35. BlueLoom said,

    September 30, 2012 @ 7:32 am

    @Alex McCrea: I believe the expression is "row to hoe," not "road to hoe." Makes more sense, too. Farmers (or more likely these days, backyard gardeners) hoe rows, not roads.

  36. Rod Johnson said,

    September 30, 2012 @ 9:00 am

    …as I just mentioned here.

  37. ALEX MCCRAE said,

    September 30, 2012 @ 12:50 pm

    @Rod Johnson,

    I really do appreciate your open candor, and frankness in that last post re/ my admitted tendency to ramble on, ad nauseum —as you put it, my "prolixity and garrulity". You opened my eyes, on many levels, there.

    And I can see where my drifting far off topic could stir the ire of fellow bloggers, and perhaps, though Rey's,"intemperate" admonishment was a tad harsh and hurtful, there was a kernel of truth, and merit in what he was saying.

    Rod, your suggestion that perhaps I should establish my OWN blog is well taken. The thought has crossed my mind on several occasions, but as you might suspect, my interests run all-over-the-map, so to speak, so to home in on a singular area of discussion would be a challenge.

    Frankly Rod, from my perspective, you are hardly "just another (blogging) schmoe", but rather seem like a 'good all-around egg', in my books.

    That sage quote from poet Robbie Burns immediately comes to mind, here—"O would some power the giftie gie us, to see ourselves as others see us".

    We all have our nagging blind spots when it comes to how we perceive ourselves, and sometimes it takes others w/ a more objective eye, and less invested motivation to point them out.

    Thanks again, for the sound advice.

    @BlueLoom. Indeed, "Row to hoe" it is! Hoeing a road (particularly a paved one), clearly makes no sense at all.

    I must confess, I've also been guilty of the malaprop,"Get the SKIVVY on", rather than the correct phrase, meaning to get the
    'inside scoop' on, i.e., "the skinny". (It doesn't help that skivvies is a nautically derived term for underwear.)

    Oh, well….. live and learn.

  38. Mr Punch said,

    September 30, 2012 @ 4:55 pm

    The advance of "Briticisms" in the US owes something to Australian journalists, prominent in overseas TV reporting since Vietnam and of course in the Murdoch-owned publications. Everyone says "tarmac" (in an airport context) now.

  39. Peter Taylor said,

    October 3, 2012 @ 1:50 am

    @Gene Callahan, do you have any citations for that usage of "will do" by British sources? It sounds rather off to me (middle class, Home Counties, early 30s).

  40. Rich Rostrom said,

    October 3, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

    Ngrams sez "Will do" had a spike in British usage circa 1810-1815, and has been very low usage since. (The capital is required to differentiate it from "X will do Y".)

    In American usage, it had a spike from 1800 to 1810, then went low until 1980, and has since taken off to an all-time high. It's clearly not a Britishism. Since 1800, it hasn't been significantly more used there than here, and the recent increase has been all American.

    Though before 1800 there were several fits of British usage, but not American.

  41. Joe1959 said,

    October 5, 2012 @ 11:32 am

    re: It's the combination of stupid notions about other cultures, which is bad enough, with a willful denial of the utility and joy of the increased expressive variety made possible by these words and phrases. Two kinds of close-mindedness fused into one noxious, insular mindset.

    Very well said.

    So sad that this excuse for journalism appeared on the BBC.

    As a Brit I cannot deny the increased expressive variety made possible by my exposure over the years Americans and the American media and now, when I hear characters on The Big Bang Theory or Glee using words like "Ginger", I'm delighted to see the linguistic commerce is increasingly two-way.

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