American English is increasingly becoming the written and spoken norm for children and teenagers outside the US – even in the UK, according to a new study by Oxford University Press (OUP) …
The report is based on more than 74,000 entries for a BBC short story competition which found that some of the favourite “Americanisms” included trash can, garbage truck, sidewalk, soda, cupcake and candy.
The judges were chaired by children’s writer, Dame Jacqueline Wilson, best known for her series of novels featuring heroine, Tracy Beaker, including The Story of Tracy Beaker, Tracy Beaker’s Thumping Heart and Ask Tracy Beaker.
“The results are absolutely fascinating”, said Wilson. “They give us a unique insight into how young people think and the language that they use.
“Overall, I would say their use of language shows that they recognize the value of a well-chosen word – and the power of an original image.”
Apart from Americanisms, technology – not surprisingly – is influencing the language, with “Google” and “app” featuring regularly.
“It’s certainly sad to see so-called British English being eroded”, said Dame Jacqueline.
“However, it may be that this will correct itself as these young people get older and realize that there is a difference – especially when they move into the workplace or academia, where language has to be more appropriate and precise.”