Americanisation. It sounds like I made it up. However, I didn’t. It’s a real word, found in the first few dozen pages of an English dictionary, depending on the edition. I assure you, though, that I did not make up the crisis of Americanisation (and it indeed is a crisis) and it is a slowly approaching doom on the beauty that is the true English language – British English.

I cannot describe to you the horror that dawned on me when I first found a Mother’s Day card not bearing the familiar, dear words of ‘mum’ or ‘mother’ this year but bearing the moniker mom. Mom. MOM. I must tell you, I almost burst into tears that were more bitter than good old English rainwater. Now, I am a self-proclaimed member of the Grammar Police force, and we fight the most heinous and dire crime in the country; the aforementioned and dreaded Americanisation. If I had a cup of tea for every time I have had to correct one of my peers for calling the letter ‘z’ a ‘zee’ and not a ‘zed’ or calling the ‘pavement’ a ‘side walk’ I could drown every single one of the little criminals and still have enough to host a tea party for the Queen.  

Of course, it’s not their fault my job as a member of the Grammar Police has become increasingly busy, although there should be some responsibility taken by those who commit crimes against the English language. American influences are everywhere; they’re inescapable! It’s become so bad it’s become common for the language option for English on several websites and programmes to have the American Flag, of all things, next to it. I tell you, I have no tears left. American Television shows, American Films (not ‘movies’) and even American Shorthair Cats, every other item in a usually quintessentially British home is American.

Another horribly daunting fact about the threat of Americanisation, is not only the introduction of Americanisms (also a word) into everyday British life but also the introduction of American Holidays into everyday British life. Hallowe’en is already (unfortunately) a regular inscription on many otherwise Hallowe’en-less household’s calendars. However, since the holiday originated in Ireland, part of which belongs to the British Isles, and was only commercialised by the Americans, I can just about (with gritted teeth, albeit) let that one slide. Now, this article was actually written on the day that the Americans (and, by god, only the Americans, please) are celebrating Thanksgiving, and my poor mother (again, my ‘mum’ not ‘mom’) was forced to sit at her British desk drinking British tea whilst she was served a meal of turkey, gravy and yams (whatever those are) as a ‘Thanksgiving’ lunch at her work canteen. Just a reminder to everyone that we are not the 51st state, and never will be thank you very much. So, just to make it clear, British grammar police not only have to cope with American words creeping up on us but American holidays too. Great.

My only plea to anyone reading this is to recognise you’re making the hardworking British Citizens of the Grammar Police force’s lives a dozen times harder. So, next time you decide to spell ‘colour’ with no ‘u’ or start to celebrate the 4th of July, think. Think about your actions and how it impacts our society.

My final sentiment is this; Shakespeare is rolling in his grave every time you (yes, I’m looking at you) call chips ‘fries’.


Annie Fogden