Last weekend marked the anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare in 1564, so today we thought we’d share a whimsical video from the BBC. It looks at a few of the popular misconceptions about British and American English and reveals some words which are as at home in the plays of Shakespeare as in US usage. Here’s the description from the BBC website:
“Why US English is a history lesson for the British.
Long before Jamestown or the Pilgrim Fathers landed at Massachusetts in 1620, the US English style of spelling words such as ‘honor’, ‘color’, and ‘center’ was alive and well in British English. Etymologist and broadcaster Susie Dent opens an ‘aluminium’ can of worms and teaches Brits a thing or two about their shared linguistic heritage. ”
Writing this blog together from both sides of the Atlantic, we spend a lot of time thinking about which words we have in common and which divide us, so it’s fascinating to learn about the surprising history of our shared language. Enjoy!
Sam and Claire
2 thoughts on “Gotten and Trash – American English or Shakespeare?”
Oh dear, it seems I am one of those who scorned the use of so-called Americanisms in the English language without understanding their origins. ‘Gotten’ is definitely one of those words I hate! Well done Susie Dent for putting us straight. It will take a force of will though for me to remove my word prejudices at my age 😂 Also why does everyone now seem to say ‘people that’ instead of ‘people who’?! And don’t get me started on to the misuse of apostrophes…!
Yes, it’s a bit of an eye-opener to see how far back some of these words go, isn’t it! Thanks for reading.