Do you want fries with that? Data shows Americanization of English is rising.
A new study documents the speed at which American English has stretched around the globe – and its influence is even felt within the UK.
The influence of American English has become so widespread that its reach is even felt within the UK. Perhaps that cultural shift is no surprise, as a new study documents the speed at which the English language has shifted across the world.The Fall of the Empire: The Americanization of English analyzed 15 million digitized books published between 1800 and 2010, as well as over 30 million geolocated tweets. The authors searched for differences in vocabulary (eggplant v aubergine, or liquor store v off-licence) as well as differences in spelling (estrogen v oestrogen, or travelling v traveling).The findings varied by geography. In Madrid, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin and other western European cities, American English has significant influence on vocabulary even though British English has historically been the norm. By contrast, in Commonwealth countries such as South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, sweets are preferred to candy.In much of Europe, American vocabulary is even more influential than American spelling. That trend holds in the UK, too: British people might occasionally say rubber band instead of elastic band, but they’re unlikely to swap their moustaches for mustaches. The authors attribute those shifts to “American- dominated television and film industries”.