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    #1

    Question How is possible that British English still exist?

    I've never been to the UK, even I would be thrilled to be able to visit British Museum and Museum of Natural History, watch a match of Chelsea or other great clubs but it wasn't my question...

    Watching British TV I've noticed that most content is broadcast in American English (movies, tv shows etc).
    This is especially true for tv programs for young children I would say maybe 80% is in American English.

    So I have following questions :)

    1. Do you think that British English is dying out ?
    2. Does the younger generation use typical British expression less and less frequently replacing them with Americanisms. Especially in colloquial speech?
    3. Does more and more British people pronounce words in more American way?

  1. Eckaslike's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: How is possible that British English still exist?

    Hello Xomosx,

    You have asked some interesting questions. I'm just wondering what television channels you receive in Poland that give you the impression that the UK doesn't produce any, or hardly any, programmes?

    My impression is that films are nearly all made in America, but that is to do with economics rather than language. The same is true of cartoons in particular, as films and animated cartoons are notoriously expensive to make well. However, there are still plenty of other programmes on every day which are made in Britain using British English. In fact I'd go as far as to say that most every day programmes are in British English. Presumably you receive a satellite channel of some sort?

    To answer your questions:
    1. No, I don't think British English is dying out. It is modifying over time, as it always has, by incorporating new words and phrases from different sources. However, American English also undergoes constant transformation by incorporating new words and phrases from other languages. When does something stop becoming the source language and become American English? We then might take such a phrase from American English into British English. So it's a complex and ongoing situation of incorporation and modification. It is important to remember that American and British English are just two great branches of one family, and of course the basis of American English is still English. Often they have retained older versions of words or phrases that went across with the settlers from Britain, whereas British English might have lost them since the 1600s. Theoretically, you may even have a case where one of those words is rediscovered by British English.
    Ultimately, who knows, British English could die out, especially if one looks at the numbers of speakers, but as I have mentioned it is a complex and fluid situation.

    2. In my experience the younger generation tends to use flavour-of-the-month words, which then drop out of fashion like the previous seasons clothes. Some things stick, others die out, and sometimes things which died out come back again. One of these was the word cool which first started being used in Britain in the 1960s and 1970s. It completely died out in the 1980s but then re-emerged again in the 1990s, and has since then gradually fallen away again.

    One current phrase which is in fashion is to say "can I get a coffee?", meaning "may I have a coffee?". It will be interesting to see whether that usage sticks, or dies out.

    We tend to absorb useful or "trendy" words, but tend not to use words which we already have, especially where those words are shorter than the American version. For example, British speakers will say that a house was "burgled" (broken into and possessions taken), whereas American speakers (I believe) will say that the house was "burglarized". Therefore, I can't see that one being adopted any time soon.

    Another word which seems to be popular at the moment is "upcoming" instead of "forthcoming". Also a current phrase that seems to be used quite a bit is "heads-up", for which the British English equivalent is "forewarning". I can probably see those American English versions being retained as they are slightly shorter.

    Many British people of all ages want to use British English rather than any other form, and so continue to do so. Others want to talk slang, but it should be remembered that British English has its own slang, and that also adopts useful slang words from American slang.

    3. However, and this is the key thing; no-one in Britain adopts an American accent. They may say words or phrases adopted from American English, but they will say them with an English accent and intonation. For example, when someone from London says "can I get a coffee?" they don't say it like someone from New York, or California, or the Midwest, they say it with their own accent. I think the big difference is that we already speak English in Britain, and so haven't learned it from films and television, but from our parents and from each other. This will be different from an English learner's experience where they are exposed to a whole range of sources and accents, including those of other learners.
    Last edited by Eckaslike; 27-Sep-2015 at 08:25.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: How is possible that British English still exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by XomosX View Post
    I've never been to the UK (no comma here) even but/although I would be thrilled to be able to visit the British Museum and the Museum of Natural History, watch a Chelsea match of Chelsea, or other great clubs, but it that wasn't isn't my question. (It's not a question at all.)

    Watching British TV, I've noticed that most content is broadcast in American English (movies, tv shows etc).
    This is especially true for tv TV programs for young children; I would say maybe 80% is in American English.

    So I have the following questions. :) (Don't try to make your own emoticons. Click on and choose the appropriate one.)

    1. Do you think that British English is dying out ?
    2. Does the younger generation use typical British expressions less and less frequently, replacing them with Americanisms, especially in colloquial speech?
    3. Does Do more and more British people pronounce words in a more American way?
    See my corrections above, marked in red.

    Like Eckaslike, I am surprised at your assertion that British English is dying out. I can assure you that it isn't dying out in the UK! Yes, we see a lot of American TV shows and films but there are thousands of TV programmes and films being made by British producers/directors/actors etc. As far as children's TV goes, CBBC (CBeebies) is the children's part of the national channel, the BBC. I don't watch it and it is possible that the channel broadcasts American shows, but I think/imagine that it broadcasts mainly British shows.

    As Eckaslike also said, many Americanisms have entered BrE but we say them in our own accent. We don't try to emulate an American accent when we use them.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 27-Sep-2015 at 11:18.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #4

    Re: How is possible that British English still exist?

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Hello, Xomos:

    You touched on what Americans call "a hot potato." Would you want to touch a hot potato in the kitchen? Of course, not. So the topic that you have raised is something that people must discuss VERY carefully so that they do not burn their fingers (make a lot of people very angry).

    I will tell you an amusing and true anecdote.

    Many years ago, I was reading the London Review of Books (a very serious magazine) and read a letter from a reader in Australia. His letter was very short. He simply "ordered" the editor to start using American spelling. He thought that British spelling was, well, ... The editor printed his letter under the headline: What nerve!

    By the way, I continue to read the Review, and I believe that it still uses British spelling.

    Well, as I said, this topic is a hot potato, so I had better stop RIGHT now!

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    #5

    Re: How is possible that British English still exist?

    Although many of the satellite channels broadcast to the UK show lots of American TV shows the viewing figures for many of those channels are low. The vast majority of British viewers still watch the main channels such as BBC1,BBC2, ITV and Channel 4 . As Ecaslike and emsr2d2 have said much of the output of those channels in British English.
    I am not a teacher but am a native speaker.

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    #6

    Re: How is possible that British English still exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    See my corrections above, marked in red.
    Thank you very much that you took the time and corrected my text, the only way to eliminate mistakes it to be abbe to see them!
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 27-Sep-2015 at 22:33. Reason: Cropping quote.

  3. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: How is possible that British English still exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by XomosX View Post
    Thank you very much that you took for taking the time and to corrected correct my text. The only way to eliminate mistakes it is to be abbe able to see them!
    You're welcome (please note further corrections above). In future, however, simply click on the "Thank" button on any post you find helpful. It saves time for everyone.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  4. konungursvia's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: How is possible that British English still exist?

    I watch UK TV too, and I don't think even 1% of the utterances I hear there are in American English. David on Corrie once said "sure thing, partner" or some such cowboy style phrase. "Thinking Aloud" used to have Michael Ignatieff on it. Other than that, it's all 99.999999 % BrE. I wonder if you're actually able to discern them as well as you think you can.

  5. Raymott's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: How is possible that British English still exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eckaslike View Post
    You have asked some interesting questions. I'm just wondering what television channels you receive in Poland that give you the impression that the UK doesn't produce any, or hardly any, programmes?
    I think you're missing his point. He's not hypothesizing that UK doesn't produce TV programmes any more. He's seems to be assuming that UK produces programmes in American English. Hence the theme that runs through his questions.

  6. Skrej's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: How is possible that British English still exist?

    In short, British English still exists because there are still British people speaking English.

    Saphir-Worf aside, people change the language, not vice versa.

    I watch/have watched a number of British programs, and believe you me, there are occasionally times I, as a native speaker of AmE, have a bit of difficulty following BrE actors, depending on the accent.
    Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!

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