[Ads-l] US slang with British origins?

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Sat May 12 13:08:15 EDT 2018

I hear that the Limeys are now grumping that we colonials insist on calling
the game "soccer" instead of football, but "soccer" is British slang, of a
particularly lame sort, it's true, but that's the Limeys' problem.  In the
later 19th C (I think) the lads at Oxford thought it clever to reduce a
word to one of its syllables and put "er" at the end, as "rugger" for
rugby, "brekker" for breakfast and "soccer" for Association Football.  I
think Mencken has something scornful to say about the "Oxford "er"".


On Sat, May 12, 2018 at 12:13 AM, GEOFFREY NUNBERG <nunbergg at gmail.com>

> Mencken wrote, "It is most unusual for an English neologism to be taken up
> in this country, and when it is, it is only by a small class, mainly made
> up of conscious Anglomaniacs. To the common people everything English,
> whether an article of dress, a social custom or a word or phrase has what
> James M. Cain has called 'a somewhat pansy cast.' That is to say, it is
> regarded as affected, effeminate and ridiculous.”
> That was then, of course, but I have to say I’m hard put to come up with
> examples of current American slang that began their lives as Britishisms,
> in the way that Americanisms like “awesome” and “you guys” have naturalized
> as slang in the UK.
> Geoff
> Geoffrey Nunberg
> School of Information,
> University of California, Berkeley
> Berkeley, CA 94720-4600
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

George A. Thompson
The Guy Who Still Looks Stuff Up in Books.
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998.

But when aroused at the Trump of Doom / Ye shall start, bold kings, from
your lowly tomb. . .
L. H. Sigourney, "Burial of Mazeen", Poems.  Boston, 1827, p. 112

The Trump of Doom -- also known as The Dunghill Toadstool.  (Here's a
picture of his great-grandfather.)

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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