[Ads-l] US slang with British origins?

Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Mon May 14 13:05:50 EDT 2018


I am not convinced gear ever caught on in the UK. I never came across it in
my seven years there.

On Mon, May 14, 2018, 6:04 AM Stephen Goranson <goranson at duke.edu> wrote:

> "Gear" surely did not catch on in the US, as far as I know, and maybe also
> "fab" by itself, though the "fab four" did likely influence the U Michigan
> basketball "fab five."
>
>
> Stephen
>
>
> ________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society <...> on behalf of Geoffrey Nunberg <...>
> Sent: Saturday, May 12, 2018 2:47 PM
> To:...
> Subject: Re: [ADS-L] US slang with British origins?
>
> I think I wasn’t precise enough here. I was asking for egs of Britishisms
> used in vernacular slang in the way that “you guys” and “awesome” are used
> in the UK. It was Lynne Murphy’s book that led me to think about this, and
> of course Ben Yagoda has been assiduously documenting the influx of
> Britishisms like “one off,” “spot on,” “dodgy” etc. But as best I can
> determine, these usages are pretty much associated with journalese or the
> speech of the PBS-subscribing classes. Take “brilliant.’ Ben Y cites
> examples of UK “brilliant” in a travel resource application, a NYT
> classicial music review (and to Alex Ibanez, a former MLB player who’s now
> an ESPN analyst). In the NYT, Alex Williams sees it cropping up in the
> speech of "Americans (particularly, New Yorkers) of the taste-making set
> who often have no more direct tie to Britain than an affinity for 'Downton
> Abbey.’” (He also ascribes these usages to the “chattering classes” and
> "smart-set Americans under 40.”) But however diffused it may be now, it
> hasn't made any inroads in the slang of young people who use “awesome,”
> which by contrast is ubiquitous among younger British speakers. (As Ben
> Zimmer noted in WSJ piece a couple of years ago, not even the Beatles could
> give “fab” or “gear” a foothold in American slang.)
>
>  Similarly “one-off,” “early days” “put paid” &c., which are now
> more-or-less common journalese and in some cases may even have lost their
> accents, but  which don’t figure much if at all in the speech of Berkeley
> undergraduates, say. And where “you guys” is pervasive in vernacular
> British English, it’s unimaginable that young Americans would ever take to
> referring to one another as blokes or coves—after all, where would they
> pick it up from?
>
> So I think Mencken’s point still holds, making appropriate adjustments for
> the changing social geography. Britishisms enter American via the upper
> strata, however they’re defined, and only occasionally precipitate into the
> everyday American vernacular (maybe I should call it Flyoverese?). So it
> may be misleading to equate the American adoption of theses words with the
> spread of Americanisms in the UK.
>
> I have more on this but I should probably save it for a LanguageLog post.
>
> Geoff
> > ________________________________
> > From: American Dialect Society <
> > ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Geoffrey Nathan <geoffnathan at
> WAYNE.EDU
> > >
> > Sent: Saturday, May 12, 2018 12:37 PM
> > To:
> > ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> >
> > Subject: Re: US slang with British origins?
> >
> > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> > Sender:       American Dialect Society <
> > ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> > >
> > Poster:       Geoffrey Nathan <
> > geoffnathan at WAYNE.EDU
> > >
> > Subject:      Re: US slang with British origins?
> >
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> >
> > Lynne has a large number of examples of recent borrowings from the left
> sid=
> > e of the Atlantic to the right in her recent book. Here's a random set
> from=
> >  page 278:
> >
> >
> > gobsmacked
> >
> > knock-on effect
> >
> > run-up
> >
> > kerfuffle
> >
> > puckish
> >
> > one-off
> >
> > liaise
> >
> > bespoke
> >
> > getting sacked
> >
> > baby bump
> >
> >
> > I know there's lots more, but since I grew up in in Canada in a
> British-spe=
> > aking household I'm not a reliable judge.
> >
> >
> > Geoff
> >
> >
> > Geoffrey S. Nathan
> > WSU Information Privacy Officer (Retired)
> > Emeritus Professor, Linguistics Program
> >
> >
> https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__blogs.wayne.edu_proftech_&d=DwIFaQ&c=imBPVzF25OnBgGmVOlcsiEgHoG1i6YHLR0Sj_gZ4adc&r=uUVa-8oDL2EzfbuMuowoUadHHcJ7pjul6iFkS5Pd--8&m=O5Yr-JBSuf5Hd4R1B27JGEyL98sWjeqXBbnA-JEa3lI&s=y9vJTtQV74LbpFRHigrbe0Xka7nw7RSN4p-aUKQ8uvc&e=
> >
>
>
> Geoffrey Nunberg
> Adjunct Full Professor
> School of Information
> University of California at Berkeley
> Berkeley CA 94720
>
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