Americanisms de-planing the English Language

British English seems to be increasingly affected and modified by Americanisms thanks largely to the amount of US television available across all our satellite channels.

One example is that many UK children believe that the number to dial in an emergency is 911 rather than 999.


Another is the increasing use of very daft words. I frequently hear people refer to getting off aeroplanes as “de-planing”. Whatever happened to disembarking? I never hear of people describing getting out of cars or taxis as “de-caring” or “de-taxiing” or getting off a boat as “de-boating”. So why have aircraft been singled out for such abuse? I was on an aeroplane once and even heard someone refer to disembarking as “de-boarding”. Goodness me.

In everyday conversation the American influence is getting a grip. Thanks to the way they talk in the LA valley, where many TV serial dramas are set, we no longer “say” things anymore. No these days we “are like”. As in:

“I went in to see my friend today and he was like, great to see you, how are you? And I was like, I’m great but I can’t decide whether to buy an iPhone 4 or not. And then he’s like, oh I think you should get the iPhone 4 because it has HD video and I was like, coo- well!” This is known as “The Like Quotative” – it is spreading like wild fire and no one under the age of 50 is safe.

My latest bug bear is the use of the word “math”, as in “do the math”! When I was at school mathematics, or maths, was plural. It had an S on the end. When did it become singular? It’s never been mathematic has it? I am thinking of running a campaign to get the S put back in Math.

Language has been changing for centuries so I guess we cannot escape from this monstrous hybridisation of our language. But some of the current evolution of British English just makes me want to get out of here.

Or would that be, “I want to de-here!”

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