The other great shift

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The other great shift

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Jun 7, 2016, 5:48 pm

In the early twentieth century, although I noticed it among the English speech of non-native speakers much later, the world shifted from English English as the standard to American English as the standard. The link is to some of the history and a little bit less of the how.


Jul 8, 2016, 8:41 am

Thanks for that extremely interesting link!

Jul 8, 2016, 10:05 am

Fascinating. I've just finished Hammet's Red Harvest, without realising it came at such an important junction for language, and not merely the crime story.

As for the "how", Gioia is persuasive in saying the time was right, and technology allowed American English to be heard by a far more widespread audience than before: in geography, but also in time (since recorded voice meant the audience did not have to be at the performance itself.) As for the time being right, there's this:

Cowley noted that the new American style “has freed many writers—not only novelists but poets and essayists and simple reporters—from a burden of erudition and affectation that they thought was part of the writer’s equipment. It has encouraged them to write as simply as possible about the things they really feel, instead of the things they think that other people think they ought to feel.”

This is the first I've heard of this argument, I'm curious whether it's generally accepted or is considered controversial.

Ago 4, 2016, 10:02 am

An eye opener.