UK vs. USA

October 13, 2014


Anglish, Saxon English, Roots English: call it what you will. But whatever you call it, it’s all about a plainer, more Saxon, homegrown and homeborn English, one which shies away from foreign and outlandish forms of English. It’s an English which prefers handbook to manual, foreword to preface, belittle to depreciate, and I like better to I prefer.

Therefore, sometimes we must opt for the American usage, and sometimes the British. As a patriotic Briton, this can rankle slightly. Particularly because when I come out with the odd Americanism — in order to further the cause of Anglish — my fellow Britons sneer at my perceived try at trendiness. And a little bit of my HRH-loving soul withers up. But if you’re into this Anglish game, you have to pick up Anglish words and usages regardless of their origin; nationalist sentiment has no place.

But note that both American and British English often get it right, a.k.a. Anglish, but often get it wrong. As the following word pairs show, neither seems to be particularly closer to our Anglish ideal than the other. Words in bold are the preferred, Anglish option.

aubergine / eggplant
autumn / fall
bonnet / hood
cashier / teller
drink / beverage
dual carriageway / freeway
/ garbage man
fringe / bangs
gearbox / transmission
ice lolly
/ popsicle
 / elevator
manual / stick shift
/ grade
/ diaper
parents / folks
pavement / sidewalk
people / folk(s)
queue / line
rubber / eraser
starter / appetizer
sweets / candy
tap / faucet
ticking over / idling
trainers / sneakers

Note that many of these words can and often are used in both countries, e.g., “beverage” and “autumn”. However, in such cases, there is a distinct preference for one over the other. For example, “beverage” is far more common Stateside than in the UK, and “autumn” is predominantly a British word.

So, to sum up. Anglish is not about favouring British or American English. Such patriotism must be left at the door when we do Anglish. Anglish needs to look at both sides of the pond, and indeed all around the world, for good, Saxon, homeborn and homegrown, English.

By the way: I still can’t bring myself to say bangs instead of fringe. Sorry!


flat / apartment
rubbish / trash
windscreen / windshield [screen is Germanic by way of French, whereas shield is straight Germanic]

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© 2014 Bryan A. J. Parry

Plain English

October 1, 2014


In a previous post (Rationalisation Measures), I mentioned the Plain English Campaign. They advocate Plain English by, for example, awarding “Crystal Clear” certificates to businesses which regularly use plain English and by exposing nonsense English with their version of the Oscar — the Golden Bull Award.

They do not stand for Saxon English, only plain English. But as you know, plain English is the best, and the best is Saxon… usually.

Their website is great and has many resources on it. One is a little tool which allows you to choose a buzz phrase and replace it with plain English. Some personal highlights (I’ll probably add more):

accelerate speed up
accommodation where you live, home
accompanying with
afford an opportunity let, allow
possessions belongings
reimburse pay back
subsequently later
supplementary extra, more
the question as to whether whether
to the extent that if, when
unavailability lack of
utilisation use
we have pleasure in we are glad to

I call on all people who read my blog (that’s you, Mum) to encourage organisations that they are involved in to get hooked up with the Plain English Campaign. At the very least, get people to make use of the tool I just talked about.

Here’s an idea. Of course, I wouldn’t encourage anyone to jeopardise their livelihood, but if you were to print out your boss’ emails and replace all the jargon, perhaps grade your boss’ English, anonymously, you might be doing a serious public service… P.S. the dole ain’t so bad.

© 2014 Bryan A. J. Parry

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