The Economist on Americanisms
linguistically speaking, is launching a relentless assault on the English
language. "Americanism," as it is called by all you non-Yanks,
is everywhere (Go us!)
But is it all that bad?
Here’s what The Economist has some advice about avoiding American words
and expressions that have infiltrated the English language worldwide:
Try not to verb nouns or to adjective them. So do not access
files, haemorrhage red ink (haemorrhage is a noun),
let one event impact another, author
books (still less co-author them), critique
style guides, pressure colleagues (press
will do), progress reports, source
inputs, trial programmes or loan money.
Avoid parenting and, even more assiduously, parenting
skills. Gunned down means shot.
And though it is sometimes necessary to use nouns as adjectives, there
is no need to call an attempted coup a coup
attempt, a suspected terrorist a terrorist
suspect or the Californian legislature the
California legislature. Vilest of all is the habit
of throwing together several nouns into one ghastly adjectival reticule:
Texas millionaire real-estate developer and failed thrift entrepreneur
Similarly, do not noun adjectives such as centennial
(prefer centenary), inaugural (prefer
inauguration) and advisory (prefer
warning), or verbs such as meet (meeting)
and spend (spending).
Avoid coining verbs and adjectives unnecessarily. Instead of downplaying
criticism, you can play it down (or perhaps minimise
it). Upcoming and ongoing are better
put as forthcoming and continuing.
Why outfit your children when you can fit
Avoid, in particular, the language of American advertisers. Do not
ski Vail, or Val d’Isère.
Do not go out in search of a dining destination, a
driving experience or even a writing experience.
Previously on Neatorama: 50