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  1. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #1

    British and American "mixed" culture

    My question may seem to you a little odd, but I'll try to explain the reason for asking it. My students and I are making some research of English-speaking films. In particular, we pay attention to the ways people communicate with each other in those films (including the language the characters are using, but not restricted to the language alone). The problem is that, since the research is cultural, it's a common thing to specify the culture you are studying in our university's "scientific micro community". It's not obligatory, of course, to name the culture, but it is a kind of tradition (besides, my students will be asked a lot of unnecerssary questions, if they do not specify the culture).

    Of course, pure British and pure American cultures are different, an we could just as well concentrate only on researching pure British or on pure American films, but I have a feeling that there is some kind of culture which combines both British and American common features, i. e. along with differences there are some similarities in mentality and communicative behaviour of British and American people. If this has some sense, is there a word which derscribes this "mixed culture" and a word that could describe people from these two cultures as one?

    Here in Russia people sometimes use the word "Anglo Saxons" to describe this type of people (unfortunately, because of the politics it may sound sometimes sarcastic). And I want to keep away from politics. I want a neutral word for this modern "mixed culture" that may exist in your cultures and be known both to American and British people which is based on the similarities that both cultures have.

    Sorry for a long explanation. The result I want to get is to be able to recommend a student to name his paper something like "The Personality Type of a Teacher in (mixed British and American, English-speaking) movies/culture.

    I hope you can help in that matter.
    Last edited by englishhobby; 05-Jul-2020 at 07:44.
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  2. Moderator
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    #2

    Re: British and American "mixed" culture

    If you think such a merged culture exists, you can call it "trans-Atlantic Anglophone culture". This would include Canadian culture, of course.
    I am not a teacher.

  3. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: British and American "mixed" culture

    GoesStation's suggestion is as good as any. You can probably come up with a few stereotypes (and we'd love to hear about them). But trying to lump all of the US and UK's cultures into one type of character is a lost cause.

    Anglo Saxon isn't sarcastic at all, but it isn't all that accurate, either, unless you're trying looking for stereotypes for wealth. If that's your aim, it isn't bad, although the American and British rich don't generally behave the same. The British stereotype is stuffy, the American is loud.

    The main problem is that neither the US or UK is very homogeneous. We're both made up of people from all over Europe and all over the world. English is complicated because the British Isles have had so many centuries of invasions and immigration.

    So Brits from Welsh, Pakistani, and Mayfair families won't usually have the same habits, customs, or outlooks. Americans from Anglo Saxon, African, Central American, and Italian families usually won't, either.

    One tongue-in-cheek term I like is Mid-Atlantic. In the US, we joke about the "Mid-Atlantic accent" heard in old Hollywood movies. In the 1930s and '40s, American actors playing rich people often tried to put on British accents in order to sound refined. The result is an accent from half-way between the US and UK: the mid-Atlantic.

    The Thin Man movies are my favorite examples. The affectation actually caught on among real upper-crust Americans for a few years — an example of life imitating art.

    Here are some American actors with accents ranging from heavily British-inflected (Dorothy) to pure US (Dorothy's boyfriend), plus one French, because in old Hollywood movies, a restaurant isn't swanky unless the maitre d' is French:

    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    #4

    Re: British and American "mixed" culture

    Dorothy was played by Maureen O'Sullivan, who was born in Ireland and educated in London, Dublin, and Paris. She was quite likely using her natural accent, somewhat Americanized for her American audience.
    I am not a teacher.

  5. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: British and American "mixed" culture

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    Dorothy was played by Maureen O'Sullivan, who was born in Ireland and educated in London, Dublin, and Paris. She was quite likely using her natural accent, somewhat Americanized for her American audience.
    Damn! In the movie, her dad (the thin man) is very American.

    I didn't know her provenence. I used to have a little-boy crush on her when she played Jane in all those Tarzan movies. Thanks!

    Anyhow, Englishhobby, you'll still notice some British inflections in the way Nick and Nora are talking.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

  6. Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    #6

    Re: British and American "mixed" culture

    Transatlantic is a good suggestion, though here in the UK, I mostly see it as a single word without the hyphen- transatlantic or Transatlantic.

  7. probus's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: British and American "mixed" culture

    You and your students may be interested to know, Englishhobby, that in France anglophone culture is stereotyped as irrational and flighty. In the French mind, the French are always the cool, logical ones, in contrast to the unpredictable and emotional British and Americans. They even have a set phrase which they often employ when disagreeing with English speakers: "C'est logique."

  8. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: British and American "mixed" culture

    Thank you very much for your suggestions. So, it's a "Transatlantic anlophone culture" mentioned by probus. I especially liked the "anglophone" because that is very close to my purpose (studying the language of "anglophone" films/movies).
    Last edited by englishhobby; 06-Jul-2020 at 05:33.
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  9. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: British and American "mixed" culture

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    Anglo Saxon isn't sarcastic at all, but it isn't all that accurate, either, unless you're trying looking for stereotypes for wealth. If that's your aim, it isn't bad, although the American and British rich don't generally behave the same. The British stereotype is stuffy, the American is loud.
    I just meant that people who don't know much about these nuances (here in Russia) sometimes fish for a single word, and so they use "Anglo-Saxon", often, as I have noticed, when discussing politics. That's why I wrote "sarcastic", because the political contexts are sometimes sarcastic (though not necessarily). Anyway, there is a need for a single word for this phenomenon in different spheres of life.
    Last edited by englishhobby; 06-Jul-2020 at 05:29.
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  10. englishhobby's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: British and American "mixed" culture

    So, to sum up, will it be alright to use the term "anglophone films/movies" for such "mixed" productions?
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

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