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Thursday, 28 August 2014

Goodbye, Cheerio - hello awesome!

I remember the first time someone called my  two daughters 'you guys.' It seems like a long time ago, but it had me confused.  Now, as the  influence of American words becomes stronger in Britain, we are all guys and, come to think of it, most of us are awesome too.

So it didn't really surprise me this week to learn that some of our favourite English words are going out of fashion. I mean - who says marvellous or cheerio any more? And who eats marmalade? (Well, er, I do!)

The newly-released pilot list for the Spoken British National Corpus project - put together by Lancaster University and Cambridge University Press - looks at conversation starting from the early 1990s up to the present day.
A jar of marmalade
Marmalade is less frequently spoken about than it once was
Photo courtesy of Sky News
According to Sky News, Language expert Professor Tony McEnery from Lancaster University says: "These very early findings suggest the things that are most important to British society are indeed reflected in the amount we talk about them.
"New technologies like Facebook have really captured our attention, to the extent that, if we're not using it, we're probably talking about it."

Personally, I like some of the Americanisms that have been adopted over here - the English way of speaking does have  a habit of sounding a bit stuffy at times.  But as for 'absolutely.' How did that come to mean 'yes'?

Researchers on the 2014 project, which is still in its infancy, are asking for people to send in MP3 files of their conversations for analysis, though I imagine that a walk down the high street today would be just as revealing.

 What do you think?

 

3 comments:

Barbara Fisher said...

I no longer use marvellous or cheerio, but on the other hand, I can’t bring myself to say ‘guys’ or ‘awesome’ – I just can’t do it! When we met our son and daughter in law in Malaysia last year they kept saying “Far-out” it drove us mad but by the end of the three-week holiday, Terry and I were both saying it! I’m glad to say we both got over it as soon as we got home. Far-out!

Guernsey Girl said...

It's really far-out of you to leave a message on here, Barbara??? Or is it? Oh well, at least I tried:) I'm just waiting for 'andstuff' to be added to the dictionary as a single word as it seems to be the new way of saying 'everything else.'

Keep smiling - M x

Nikki-ann said...

I hate some of the words they're adding to the Oxford English Dictionary these days,,, In my opinion, they simply don't belong there.

I find "awesome" to be quite 1980's and hadn't noticed it being used so much today.