Friday, February 08, 2019

US vs. UK English

I learned a few things from the following video, including that the young man doing the voiceover is a bit of a supercilious twat. He's also somewhat misleading in a few cases, e.g., when he says that "We say 'fridge' in the UK"—as if Americans didn't also say "fridge" for "refrigerator" or "icebox." His condescending laughter when the American lady offers her Yankee take on the vocab makes me want to punch him, and I've heard Brits in person who have snottily said that "herb" is pronounced with the H sound "because there's a bloody 'H' in it." Which of course explains the pronunciation of "honor" and "honest," right?

Not all Brits are this way, of course, so I mean no general disrespect to our normally civil transatlantic cousins. But some of them definitely deserve a splintery broomstick up the ass. And that's ass, you fuckin' monkeys, not arse. You and your Germanic spelling.*

NB to Anglophile Americans: we Yanks say "uh"—note the spelling—when we can't think of what to say. In the UK, this same sound is written as "er," and with the British tendency to suppress the "R," the word spelled "er" has no rhotic "R" in it when pronounced. American Anglophiles, attracted to the British spelling, will take it too literally and mispronounce the word as "urrrr," rhyming with "purr," essentially Americanizing a British word, which is ironic for an Anglophile who purports to shun American spelling and pronunciation. If you're going to be an Anglophile with your English, then do it right and pronounce "er" the English way: "uh." Something similar happens with the above-mentioned "arse": Anglophile Yanks mispronounce this as "arss," to rhyme with the Yankee pronunciation of "sparse." A good Anglophile will listen closely to how the Brits pronounce this word, and if she listens well, she will hear no rhotic "R." Pronounce it "ahss." There's little worse than an Anglophile who doesn't fully commit to his or her Britishisms. Make sure you spell "color" with a "U," "meter" with "-re," "furor" with a final "E," and so on. There are thousands of little differences to keep track of, not just the fifty-ish differences shown in the above video. So snap to it and get your British English perfect! Otherwise, you're nothing more than a poor poseur.

*The German slang term for "ass" is Arsch, which sounds a lot like "ash" pronounced with a posh British accent. Again, no rhotic "R."

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