Do You Speak American?

Posted by Smokey Stover on January 02, 2005

In Reply to: Do You Speak American? posted by Smokey Stover on January 02, 2005

: : : "Do You Speak American?" A series on PBS (the Public Broadcasting System in the U.S.) beginning Wednesday, Jan. 5, at 8 p.m.

: : : "There's more to a country's prowess than just the amount of land it possesses. Britain once boasted a huge empire, while the United States never did; yet now, for every one speaker of British English, there are four speakers of "American." Forces like the Internet, television and the film industry have done more to spread our way of speaking than any army or navy could, and today, American English is as much a global influence as this nation itself."

: : I have Dutch relatives who can pass for Americans in America. Perfect accents, idiomatic American English. They explain that Dutch TV shows American movies with subtitles, so they hear American. The French and many other Europeans dub American movies and only hear classroom English.

: I shall try to view this program--if I can remember and if I'm permitted--but I found the sentence from the promotion curious. Actually, it sounded chauvinistic to me. The British had this huge empire (which they didn't acknowledge as an empire until 1867 or so), and the Americans had at least a small empire (although unacknowledged. And under the slogan of Manifest Destiny stole land from Mexico to make their nation, not to mention all the land stolen from the Indians--the pepper-belly Indians, that is, not the curry-belly Indians, who, as one of the most populous nations on earth, demonstrate the lasting effects of British rule and British speech. And just how does speaking the American version of English demonstrate as much global influence as the nation itself. Even if it's just empty rhetoric, I expect better empty rhetoric from public television. SS

English and Dutch are close relatives among Germanic languages, almost as close as English and Frisian (spoken in part of the Netherlands). To some people, Dutch sounds like English spoken with a potato in one's mouth. So it's natural that the Dutch would learn English rather easily. SS