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.)
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.