To paraphrase the famous saying from Paul Revere: “The British are coming, and they’re taking over our language!” That’s because a growing number of people are suddenly using British words and phrases – known as “Britishisms.” In fact, Britishisms are so popular here today, that a professor from the University of Delaware recently set up a blog to track them all. Some examples?
• He says there’s been a spike in the number of Americans saying “trousers” instead of pants.
• Or “cheeky” instead of rude or bold.
• He’s also hearing more people describe things as “brilliant” instead of awesome.
• Or, we’ll say it’s “spot on” instead of correct or exactly.
Why are so many of us talking like we’re British? Some experts say it has to do with the popularity of British TV shows – like “Dr. Who,” “Top Gear” or “Downton Abbey.” The thinking is that we may be subconsciously slipping more Britishisms into our conversations after hearing them on TV.
Others say there’s a novelty factor involved, from constantly hearing British celebrities on American TV – like Simon Cowell, Cat Deely, or Piers Morgan. So, we may be using Britishisms as a way of impersonating those celebrities.
You can also thank Harry Potter for this trend. After all, experts say if it wasn’t for the Harry Potter books and movies, millions of American kids would never have known that a “snog” meant a kiss, or that a “ginger” described a redhead.