This blog article took a lighter approach to the changes taking place in the UK English language. I’ve talked about text speak is making its way into everyday spoken language and even to the dismay of teachers making an appearance in essays. The article referred to in the blog discusses not a new but a known concern regarding the use of Americanised words such as organized as opposed to the UK English version, organised in UK English articles/work etc
Is this something we should be concerned with, will the UK version of the English language as we know it be taken over? As for the English Language itself ‘..really started with the arrival of three Germanic tribes who invaded Britain during the 5th century AD.’ Seems that before the invasion of ‘immigrants’ a Celtic language was spoken. Over the years influences from other countries have contributed to the evolution of the UK English language from a state which many of us today would not understand. Based on these gradual changes isn’t it inevitable that eventually some Americanised words will be accepted into UK English?
Before you start burning a copy of an American dictionary in protest there could be a small glimmer of light at the end of bleak tunnel.
The Education Secretary, Michael Gove has decided that books by American authors such as To Kill A Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men will no longer be a part of the GCSE syllabus. These books have been a part of the syllabus for as far as I can remember. The books I studied at school (surprised I can still remember these) were Romeo and Juliet, poetry by Seamus Heaney, The Crucible and Lord of the Flies, my sister studied Of Mice and Men.
Did the books by American authors affect my spelling and language and encourage me to deviate and adopt Americanised equivalent words? No.
As a teenager, was I overly thrilled about the selection of books / poetry that were a part of the GCSE syllabus? Also no, not because the books and poetry were not exceptional in their own right but because for a young adult whose experiences of books ranged from the Point Horror series to Nancy Drew wasn’t really prepared for the topics covered and the style of writing of each author / poet.
Whether the books are written by American, British or authors from around the globe in my opinion will make little difference to students if they are not taught in a way for them to appreciate and understand the storylines, characters of the books.
I’m not a fan of any politician, though can understand the point of view of Mr Gove. There are many British authors whose literary talents are overlooked when it comes to the education system. I remember being introduced to the likes of Jane Eyre at school, but Great Expectations by Charles Dickens is a book that found it’s was into my reading collection later on after I had left school. The books being taught at GCSE level are just a drop in the ocean. Reading is something that should be encouraged from an early age as it is many children reach secondary school age with poor reading skills.
Reading is not to everyone’s interest, others struggle with it, and some would argue that reading for pleasure is becoming redundant. I would say to those people come and have a look at the free book shop Essex that is thriving. What started out as a small pokey little shop has grown in popularity that it had to move to larger premises. Readers can donate books, take as many books as they like, all that is asked for in return is a donation. They are books by authors from all around the globe, different genres and even a few in different languages.
As for the UK English language becoming Americanised / Americanized, it is the younger generation who will drive these changes. So get ready for the boundaries of ‘proper’ English and grammar to be breached.