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British language purists are shocked that the bible of good English speech, Fowler’s Modern English Usage, has come out in favor of American English. “It is linguistically misconceived and historically unjustified to regard the American influence on English as necessarily harmful,” argues editor Robert Allen. He says American English is “rich” and, thus, its “influence on British English in recent years has been enriching rather than a threat.” The “old school” of proper English seems to think Americanisms are leading to a “moral decline” in Britain, but Allen argues the opposite, noting that insensitive words such as “cripple” for the disabled and “dumb” for those unable to speak are now “virtually outlawed” in the U.S. (RC/Reuters) ...Just so: without American influence, Britons might be speaking German now.
Original Publication Date: 14 November 1999
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 6.
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