Why do we use Americanisms when we speak?

It seems that we can escape the USA, be it in the films and series we watch, the politics we follow or the trends they set. It is so deeply entrenched in us, that we often use Americanisms in our language without even knowing it.

A book released this year claims that Americanisms will have completely absorbed the English language by 2120. Prof. Rajend Mesthrie, Chair in Migration, Language and Social Change Linguistics at the University of Cape Town says that this is an old debate.

We need a fresh look at this issue. Historically, South Africa was tied to British English, but the truth is not even British English is tied to British English anymore.

Prof. Rajend Mesthrie, Chair in Migration, Language and Social Change Linguistics at UCT

The reason why people around the world tend to use more Americanisms when they speak is that the balance of power has shifted towards the USA, according to Mesthrie.

He says this has been happening since a more positive view of America started after the World War, but is solidified by new media.

Since the rise of Hollywood, television and movies, the American media and language promulgated in that media has proved much more attractive to citizenry of the world than British English.

Prof. Rajend Mesthrie, Chair in Migration, Language and Social Change Linguistics at UCT

Listen to the full interview below:


This article first appeared on 702 : Why do we use Americanisms when we speak?


Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI

CapeTalk welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the CapeTalk community a safe and welcoming space for all.

CapeTalk reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

CapeTalk is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
Zille won't stop fighting to have SANDF property released for affordable housing

Zille won't stop fighting to have SANDF property released for affordable housing

Zille says properties under the control of the state should be made available for local government's affordable housing plans.

'There was no actual findings of what had happened at Marikana scene two'

'There was no actual findings of what had happened at Marikana scene two'

Independent researcher David Bruce speaks about the Marikana massacre report which he recently released.

Parly chair gives Energy Dept second chance to explain fuel prices next week

Parly chair gives Energy Dept second chance to explain fuel prices next week

Department officials were a no-show at a meeting in Parliament on government’s plan to mitigate increases in fuel prices.

Uphill struggle: City denies reports CPT's new electric buses can't climb hills

Uphill struggle: City denies reports CPT's new electric buses can't climb hills

The City of Cape Town says there's no truth to reports that the new R128 million electric buses can't climb up hills in the CBD.

This expert says contracts drawn up as comic strips should be legally binding

This expert says contracts drawn up as comic strips should be legally binding

Lawyers in South Africa are said to be experimenting with these binding documents, “written” in pictures.

[LISTEN] What's Turkey got to do with the plunging rand?

[LISTEN] What's Turkey got to do with the plunging rand?

The rand plunged to a 2-year low against the dollar in early trade on Monday. An investment analyst explains why.

Popular articles
Zille won't stop fighting to have SANDF property released for affordable housing

Zille won't stop fighting to have SANDF property released for affordable housing

Zille says properties under the control of the state should be made available for local government's affordable housing plans.

'There is no verse in the Quran that says women should cover their faces'

'There is no verse in the Quran that says women should cover their faces'

Dr Taj Hargey says he is advocating for the ban of women wearing burkas in public because they look ridiculous.

[LISTEN] IRR believes list of targeted farms is genuine

[LISTEN] IRR believes list of targeted farms is genuine

Institute for Race Relations researches Terence Corrigan explains why they believe the list Afriforum has released is genuine.