Thursday, December 6, 2012

Why American English Is Better: An American Perspective

Yesterday, we opened a can of worms by stating that British English is better than American English. Today we're presenting the other side of the argument with a rebuttal from the American (and obviously better) half of The Lingua File. A true American could never let a posh-sounding, tea-drinking Brit get away with insulting them!

We can add stars whenever we like.


Evolution and Revolution

One of the things we most love about languages is that they change and evolve over time. So why do the Brits think that it's their language? Unlike Spanish and French, English has no regulatory body, so they can't claim that we're breaking the rules. There are no rules, and we like it that way! English has been evolving for centuries (hence having to read translations of Shakespeare's works in high school in order to understand them), so why should it stop now?  Perhaps they're just afraid of the competition...

Power in Numbers

If we wanted to, Americans could claim English simply by pointing out that there are 250 million English speakers in the United States, yet only 58 million in the UK. We could also point out that most foreigners learn American English due to our global dominance in the entertainment industry... our music, movies, and TV shows are increasingly popular all over the world. Luckily for them, we're not interested in having a competition.

Pronunciation

At least we pronounce all the letters! Most of the time, Brits won't pronounce the letter 'r' if it is preceded by a vowel. The 't' sound is even worse... bottle sounds like "bo-ul" coming out of their mouths. Sure, we pronounce it like a d in American English, but at least we've got a consonant in there instead of nothing.

This is what the British pronunciation of cards looks like. 

Spelling

American English is short and sweet... no need for all those redundant 'u's that appear in all sorts of ridiculous places in British English. Sure, Noah Webster may have removed them all for the wrong reasons (hating the British and believing it would help to make us more independent and superior), but they did need to go. I mean, really... colour, favour, and parlour? It's ridiculous.

We've made necessary changes, but we've also kept some things the same that worked just fine. For example, Americans use the suffix -ize, which is older and more representative of the sound made when it is used. The Brits only changed it to -ise to mimic the French... not that they'd ever admit to doing it!

Slang

Seriously? Dude, come on! Our slang is sweet! It's also constantly changing and improving... just take a look at the vastness of Urban Dictionary. Our slang is so awesome that Brits try and use it themselves, too. You ever heard them call someone dude? It sounds so wrong!

Our slang is sweet like cotton candy! None of this British
"candy floss" nonsense... it definitely can't be used to floss!

Accents

We don't have as many accents as Brits, but that's fine by us. We have quality accents, and that's what matters. Y'all know about the great Southern drawls used by everyone from cowboys to Southern belles, and the broad 'a's that abound in the fantastic Boston accent. New York and Chicago also have their own linguistic trademarks that mostly involve vowel sounds. In any case, foreigners can understand us way easier than those word-eaters across the pond!

Fall vs Autumn

We covered this in an earlier post. The word fall is older than autumn, but those silly Brits opted for it because the French were using it. We stuck with good ol' fall. Besides, it makes more sense... it's the time of year when the leaves fall off the trees!

It's Clearer

So what if we use descriptive words like sidewalk and horseback riding? Having a clear lexicon is why most non-native speakers prefer to learn American English. It's not only cooler, but it makes more sense.

Obviously, we haven't settled the debate as to which dialect of English is better... the argument will go on forever. At least we got it off our chests for the moment!

*Note: This article and its counterpoint were written as satire. Neither of the writers actually believe that one variety of English is better than the other. Please keep this in mind and be respectful when commenting.