Friday, June 18, 2004

le mot juste

Apparently, America is undergoing a linguistic invasion from these shores:

At this point, the trend is moving beyond journalism, and to terms that (unlike "go missing" and "run-up") have perfectly good American counterparts. In his campaign for governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger talked about having "a" (not "some" or "a cup of") coffee. A visiting friend of mine talked of "booking" (not reserving) a hotel room. David Letterman recently made fun of Oprah Winfrey's saying that she couldn't appear on his show because she was "on holiday" -- what was wrong, he wondered, with "vacation"? A friend has taken to saying, "I'll ring you" instead of "phone you" or "call you up." From various sources, I have heard repeated uses of "sack" (fire), "row" (argument), and "chat up" (talk to, usually in a flirtatious way). Briticisms all: Together they constitute a cultural equivalent of De Vries's poseur.

I'm afraid I can't resist the inevitable conclusion, so here goes: Briticisms have passed their sell-by date, and the odor (or should I say odour) is getting a bit rank.

I notice from reading US blogs that the word "wanker" seems to have made the crossing too. Not suprising, in view of the above.

via Arts and Letters Daily