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Is British English being swamped by Americanisms?

A lexical investigation
Nicholas Walker 5/1/2011

Abstract There is a long held fascination in the lay-linguistic community that English speakers in the UK are increasingly favouring American English vocabulary. Some prescriptivists see American English as an unwelcome invader destined to drive out British vocabulary items. . This research study focuses on the cross-Atlantic transmission of concrete nouns in the field of economics. This is made possible by using the OED to find lexical items of US origin, then using a historical thesaurus to find competing synonyms. Where synonyms exist, a corpora analysis can show whether the American English expression is favoured. From the data it is possible to make some conclusions over why certain Americanisms are able to enter British English usage and others not. The use of American lexical items in British English is necessary in some cases to fill conceptual or lexical gaps. Cases where an existing British English synonym is replaced by an American English word are seemingly rare. Consideration is due as to whether adoption of American English words can be considered any different from borrowings from other dialects and languages. Thus a position towards thinking of Americanisms with a similar framework to other borrowings is endorsed.


Acknowledgements Dedicated to everyone who has ever wanted to know more about Americanisms. Thanks are due to Dr Lynne Murphy whose blog on British/American differences spurred me on to find out more, and for her help in finding related readings. With special thanks to the all the academic staff at the University of Sheffield School of English Language and Linguistics whose enthusiasm and passion for their subjects helped make 3 years of study fly by. Likewise special thanks to my project supervisor, Dr Justyna Robinson, for pointing me in the right direction throughout the study and her constant encouragement and support throughout.


Glossary of Key terms American English (or AmE) the variety of English used in the United States of America. It includes all English dialects used within the United States. British English (or BrE) the variety of English used in the United Kingdom. It includes all English dialects used within the United Kingdom. Lexis The total stock of words in a language.


Introduction ........................................................................................................................... 1 Outline............................................................................................................................... 1 Background ....................................................................................................................... 1 Literature review ................................................................................................................... 4 Method ............................................................................................................................... 11 Hypothesis ...................................................................................................................... 16 Results ............................................................................................................................... 17 Analysis .............................................................................................................................. 27 Evaluation ........................................................................................................................... 37 Conclusion .......................................................................................................................... 45 Recommendations for further study................................................................................. 47 Summing up .................................................................................................................... 48 Bibliography ........................................................................................................................ 51 Appendix ........................................................................................................................... 56

10,389 words (N.B. Background and Method sections previously assessed)

In this investigation I will start by introducing the concept in question Americanisms and discuss some of the viewpoints that contextualise the debate. I will then go on to look at some of the linguistic studies and schools of thought that may be useful to the investigation with a view to finding a methodology. From there I will lay out the method chosen to study the phenomena involved and provide a hypothesis to test. The experimental stage will be conducted with the results presented in the study. Following this, the results will be discussed with the intention of finding trends and interesting results to challenge the hypothesis. Any problems and limitations that arise from the experimental method will be discussed before a final conclusion on the validity of the hypothesis is set out.

English is the common language of both the United Kingdom and the United States. The social, economic and political influences of these two nations in particular have been a driving factor in English becoming one of the foremost international languages. Englishs global status can be quantified by the estimated 328 million individuals who use the language worldwide (Lewis, M.P. 2009). English arrived in America as the language used by early settlers from Britain in the 16th century and onwards. The colonisation of North America by the British ensured that the language would go on to become the dominant tongue of that part of the world, even long after the British had formally left. Over time however, the dialectal features of the English used in the UK and the English used in the US began to show marked differences. The marked differences in phonology, morphology, syntax and vocabulary in the varieties and dialects of the English language highlight one of the great challenges for linguists and lay speakers alike the lack of a universally accepted standard of English

The dialectal differences between British and American varieties of English are of interest to linguists and non-linguists on both sides of the Atlantic. Some British English users have been critical of the US version of the language, and there is evidence to suggest that this discussion has existed for as long as the two nations have been separate entities. The famous Scottish-born clergyman and academic John Witherspoon coined the expression Americanism in 1781 as a term to describe features of US English that differ from British English (in Tottie, G. 2002b: 94). The linguistic differences in America arose under the backdrop of the American nationalism movement, which sought economic, governmental and ecclesiastical freedom from the United Kingdom (Algeo, J. 2001: 4). The period of political tensions between the thirteen British colonies in North America and the ruling government of the United States eventually led to the Revolutionary War and consequently the Declaration of Independence in 1777. The new nation would have been a place where settlers would encounter unfamiliar flora and fauna as well as unusual landforms. Thus the English used in the US would need to change and innovate to keep up with every new discovery. New language would also have been coined to refer to new innovations and it is thus unsurprising that American English has been so productive in creating new words in the nearly quarter of a millennium since Independence. Witherspoons term Americanism has come to be used in an often pejorative sense by language commentators describing US dialect features. In his noted style guide, The Kings English, Henry Fowler, a famed lexicographer for the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, claimed that Americanisms are foreign words and should be so treated (1922: 23). Many of Fowler and his brothers views laid out in The Kings English would be seen by modern linguists as being prescriptivist. Prescriptivism in linguistics refers to the type of assertions that identify supposedly correct and incorrect instances of language usage aim to tell people how a language should be used (Meyer 2009: 13). Modern-day linguists are primarily concerned with being descriptive, or describing human linguistic ability, rather than 2

prescriptive (OGrady, Dobrovolsky and Katamba 1997: 6) and therefore avoid making normative judgements about which language variants are better. The controversy of Americanisms is of interest to the general public, as evidenced by the BBC receiving complaints from listeners to a Radio 4 programme where the presenter, Martha Kearney, used the phrase fess up in an interview (Kearney 2010). One criticism stated When has it become acceptable for radio use this American slang? (BBC Radio 4 Messageboard 2010: Message 1). It appears to be a popular topic of conversation for broadcasters and journalists too. Matthew Engel for the Daily Mail goes as far as using the metaphor of US vocabulary being like the grey squirrel, destined to drive out native species and ravage the linguistic ecosystem (2010: para. 3 of 14). Hardeep Singh Kohli says that American English seems to permeate, pervade and pollute British English (2008: para. 2 of 10) and blames the spread of American English on US television and films (2008: para. 7 of 10). Entertainment is indeed one of the most lucrative exports for the US with British people richly consuming American pop music, films and TV shows. In the UK, the television channels Sky Atlantic and Five USA are dedicated solely to broadcasting programming originating from the US and 19 out of the top 20 highest grossing films of 2009 in UK cinemas were fully or partly US-made (UK Film Council 2010). However, Trudgill stipulates that while speakers may learn new words from film and television, electronic media do not play a big role in the diffusion of phonological and grammatical change (1998). Whether or not this is true, the belief that British English is being swamped by Americanism as Engel claims is one that very little previous linguistic research has tested. The aim of this study is to apply descriptive linguistic thought to these types of views. In the following chapter I will critically analyse existing literature connected to the argument.

Literature review
In this chapter I will critically look back upon previous research conducted in the various fields related to language change, particularly change involving the differences between British and American English. From this I aim to find groundwork for a suitable methodology that can test the impact of AmE vocabulary on BrE. Benson, Benson and Ilson (1986) present a detailed taxonomy including a list of British English words and their American English synonyms (and vice versa). It is not entirely clear how the editors came to declare each lexical item as being either BrE or AmE, as some may be based on origin while others on common usage. As the list is now 25 years old, it is probably out of date in many cases and missing recent developments in the language. Therefore, part of the methodology will require sourcing a new list of vocabulary items to test. A key area of understanding that applies to new language is the notion of gaps. Gaps in the language occur where a semantic field is missing an item to refer to a given concept. Chomsky talks of a distinction between items in semantics that are occurring, possible but non-occurring and impossible (1965: 175). Lehrer expands on this by noting that the possible but non-occurring parts of a semantic field are where lexical gaps arise (1970: 258). Lehrer illustrates this using a matrix model showing the lexical gap for an expression that means to make an animal grow: animal make grow raise The figure shows that while one can say he grows corn to mean he makes corn grow, there would be no equivalent way of saying he makes dog grow other than by using the shared term raise (1970: 258). This investigation may have to consider whether matrix gaps are responsible for incoming AmE vocabulary. plant grow

Research that has focussed on the language differences between British English and American English have offered analyses based on a broad range of linguistic subfields. This should come as no surprise given the observable notion that the two varieties (with varieties being a key term here) diverge in syntax, phonology, morphology and, most crucially to this study, lexis. In the field of stylistics, Douglas Biber (1987) found that British texts used less formal language on average than American texts of the same genre. He did this by using language extracts from corpora of British English and American English, grouping them by genre, and giving each genre a score for three stylistic dimensions interactive versus edited text (e.g. use of personal pronouns, wh-questions), abstract versus situated content (e.g. use of nominalisations, place adverbs) and reported versus immediate style (e.g. use of past tense or present tense). The results showed a general trend towards American English extracts using a greater amount of the more formal language features than equivalent extracts from the same genres in British English. The aim of my study is to find broad trends, so a stylistic analysis may be interesting for further investigations beyond this one but not applicable for the mean time. Marko Modiano and Marie Sderlund investigated the perceptions and preferences of Swedish upper secondary school pupils in relation to BrE and AmE. Part of the experiment involved a listening comprehension exercise where informants were asked to listen to 26 Swedish words and translate them into English, with all the words being ones with both a BrE and AmE equivalent, either in spelling or lexis. The results of this test were that 49% of the responses overall favoured the AmE variety and 31.3% the BrE variety (Modiano, M. 2002:163). This was despite the fact that a questionnaire by the researchers to find teachers attitudes concluded that the majority of teachers felt that the variety they taught in was British English (2002: 162). This certainly shows evidence for American English having an influence on the speech of English users in Sweden, but as Swedish speakers are likely to have contact with both varieties of the language, it should come as no surprise that elements 5

of both occur in the English used in Sweden. A translation exercise would obviously not be possible for a study examining two varieties of the same language. Donald Macqueen (2002) uses a corpus analysis of a British newspaper (the Guardian) and an American newspaper (the New York Times) to find the difference in frequencies of certain numerical expressions in the years 1993 and 1999. The findings from this study show a shift towards AmE expressions by the British newspaper over the 6 year period. For the phrase have not [pp] in/for years, the American newspaper favours the use of in and the UK newspaper favours for, but the results show a 37% rise in the use of in in the British newspaper over the six year period. Using comparable texts as corpora could be useful for this study, but holds the problem of both corpora having the same style or register and thus inherent linguistic similarities. It is also not the best way to reflect general trends in the language. Tottie (2002a) noted that previous studies on the differences between the varieties often assumed that the language forms were categorical, in this case meaning that British English takes one variant, American English uses another variant and neither variant occurs in the other variety. Tottie suggests that a better reflection of the differences would be to note that the features in question may occur in both dialects but to varying degrees. In order to go beyond a categorical view, he used large corpora to not only find the relative frequency of features and their alternatives in both varieties, but also to compare the results between the two varieties. A purely categorical description of the difference between autumn and fall would state that fall is AmE and autumn is BrE. Totties non-categorical description shows that autumn is in fact fairly frequent but register specific in American English (2002a:39) as it occurs recurrently in written American language. A good aspect of Totties methodology is the comparison of results between the varieties as it allows the potential for establishing how American a feature has become by comparing its foothold in British English with its position in American English. Comparing the usage of the synonyms within each dialect is also made simple by working out relative percentages for each word/language feature. 6

Hjavard (2004) studied language change involving English spreading into Danish. In a study of all the new words entering the Danish vocabulary between 1955 and 1998, it was found that 38% of words were either direct loans from English or English influenced (2004:78). A study like this could be useful for looking at AmE words entering British English but probably would not be possible as English dictionaries include AmE and BrE words. The proportion of imported films that used English titles was also assessed by Hjavard. This found that while in 1980, about 10% of films used English titles, by 2000 that proportion had risen to about 45% (2004: 88). Again, this kind of study works well for different languages but probably would not be a successful study when looking at the difference between AmE and BrE as English film titles could include a mixture of words from different origins (The 1986 film Three Amigos for example is made from one word originating in BrE and one from AmE). A number of studies have investigated the potential hegemony of American English over varieties of New World English. Bayard (1989) conducted a study in New Zealand in which respondents were asked to choose which lexical item they preferred from a choice of two words a traditional New Zealand English or British English word, or a new American English alternative. Bayard used 10 lexical pairs in the investigation and found that in nearly all cases, respondents maintained usage of the conservative lexical items over the innovative AmE words but that New Zealand English (NZE) expressions were under pressure from these new expressions. In the case of lorry versus truck, the AmE variant truck, was used by 70% of informants compared with 7% who used lorry. The research, which was framed in the field of sociolinguistics, also concluded that preference towards AmE lexis was higher among the working class and the young. Meyerhoff (1993) conducted a follow up study based upon Bayards experiment but with a focus entirely on working class informants in an area of Wellington, New Zealand. The results of this project found extensive use of the conservative synonyms in more of the pairs than in Bayards study.

A limit to the methodology used in the Bayard and Meyerhoff studies is that informants were asked to make a choice from the lexical pairs of which word they used and therefore does not take into account other potential synonyms. By asking respondents which word they would use given a choice of jersey and sweater the researchers ignore other potential responses like pullover. Therefore, the results might not offer a true reflection of the participants ordinary vocabulary. Meyerhoff and Niedzielski (2003) later evaluate that some of the language features that are observed to be increasing in NZE like /t/-flapping and the quotative be like appear to be occurring cross-linguistically (2003: 546). It is therefore difficult to know if speakers are moving their language towards AmE or to a more general global English ideal. Pam Peters (1998: 39) refers to a database known as the International English Reference Tool (IERT) that aimed to compile a reference for all the English terms that express the same semantic concept (said to be known as a sense unit in the database). Unfortunately, it seems that the project may have been abandoned at some point as no trace of it can be found as of 2011. Peters states that the IERT would be able to show all the expressions used in a given dialect that refer to a specific sense unit (thus synonyms of each other) and which dialect of English they first appeared in. This resource could have been used to test the prescriptivist view that AmE vocabulary is entering the BrE lexicon by assessing what proportion of words in British English are from the US. It would have also been able to show if AmE was used more or less than BrE vocabulary to refer to a sense unit. Nonetheless, the ideas behind this resource can still be tested instead by using a dictionary to find word origins and a corpus analysis to show how frequently elements of the language are used. Barbieri (2008) used a corpus of spoken American English and divided it into samples representing 15 to 25 year olds and 35 to 60 year olds. The aim was to see to what extent the frequency of certain language features differed between the younger and older speakers. The results found that the younger speakers used more taboo language than the older speakers (2008: 64) and that they also used more polite speech-act terms like sorry 8

and please than the older speakers (20008: 67). The useful aspect of using corpora for a study like this is that you can compare the contexts in which language features were used as well as just their frequency which could lead to the discovery of trends within trends. An alternative to a traditional corpus analysis was used by Eames and Robboy (1967) in their study to find synonyms for submarine sandwich. They surveyed advertisements in telephone directories from across the United States to see which terms were being used and where, thus inventively finding a way to show the distribution of lexical items across a geographical space. A similar technique could be used to study the spread of AmE in the UK by finding the frequency of certain target words in Yellow Pages advertisements. However, a limitation of this technique is that the Yellow Pages is a single text which might have its own intrinsic register and therefore is not the best way to reflect the language use of an area as a whole. The sorts of lexical items that can be studied will also be restricted to ones related to businesses and trade, which is perhaps too small to extrapolate a conclusion on the state of British English from. Grlachs (1990) proposed methodology for investigating heteronyms (words from different regions with the same meaning) is to send a questionnaire to informants asking them to translate a selection of sentences into the form of English that they use (1990: 261). An example of such a question is The bonnet and boot of my motorcar are made of aluminium (1990: 269). An alternative he proposes is to use drawings of various objects and asking informants to name them (1990: 262). This would be a good way of showing variation between the language used by speakers of different dialect areas and could be looked at as an apparent time analysis. However, I would be hesitant to use a questionnaire method like the one proposed as things like the age, gender, class and communities of practice of the informants all present their own independent variables to the data.

The technique favoured for this study is one based on an analysis of corpora. Using different corpora like Barbieri (2008), Biber (1987) and Macqueen (2002) will help to compare the differences. Corpora that would be useful for this study would be the British National Corpus (BNC) and the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) as they include multigenre extracts from the separate varieties of English. Unlike Meyerhoff (1993) and Benson, Benson and Ilson (1986), I would be looking to find all the possible words that can be used to refer to a sense unit, particularly with the aim of avoiding categorical descriptions. In lieu of the IERT resource, a thesaurus search would need to be used in order to find the available synonyms to refer to a concept. In the following chapter I will build upon these ideas to put together a solid methodology for testing the viewpoint.


In this chapter, I will outline the method that will be used to assess the impact of AmE vocabulary on the BrE lexicon and hypothesise what result might be discovered. To find out if AmE expressions are displacing BrE expressions requires a three-step methodology. 1. Using a dictionary to identify the words that first appear in American English. 2. Using a historical thesaurus to identify the synonyms of the target expressions (and a dictionary to find the origins of the synonyms) 3. Using a corpus analysis to see if BrE words are less-favoured than, or even being made obsolete by their AmE synonyms. This method should make it possible to see if AmE words are displacing BrE words and offer some clues for why that is (or is not) the case. The categories function on the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) website allows users to browse the words in the dictionary limited to their subject, usage or region of first citation. For this study, it allows for the 600,000 entries in the OED to be limited down to only those of US origin - more precisely, those that have their first citation in the United States. When the word selection is restricted down to words that were first cited after the 1770s (the decade in which the United States gained independence), the OED shows over 21,000 entries of US origin in the dictionary. One evaluative point to note about the data provided from this method is the occasional erroneous counting of expressions as the dictionary flags uniquely American usages of certain words within that words dictionary entry. For example, the word nineteen appears in the United States region category merely because the definition flags the American variant of compound numerals (OED: Forming compound one hundred and nineteen (also one hundred nineteen: now U.S.). The word itself is not American in origin, nor is that 11

particular sense of the word so its appearance in the United States region category is invalid. This should not present a problem for the next part of the study, as the words chosen for analysis will be manually selected rather than leaving it up to a computer selection, which could yield some of the erroneous expressions. For the purposes of this study, the selection of AmE expressions has been limited by part of speech with only nouns being included. Nouns are the least complex expressions to work with using this methodology as, unlike adjectives or verbs, they usually denote perceptible and referential objects. This means that a noun is used to talk about something that can be distinguished by human senses like vision or hearing, and that can be picked out or demonstrated to another person. Exceptions to this are abstract nouns (e.g. thirst) and gerunds (nouns derived from verbs e.g. verb drink becomes gerund drinking), which refer to concepts that cannot be picked out and are thus also excluded from the study. Therefore, the types of word to be selected must be concrete nouns. It is possible using this methodology to research other types of noun or other parts of speech (see the Evaluation chapter for recommendations), but I have chosen to use concrete nouns as they are the most likely to have direct synonyms. The final limitation of the word selection will be the subject area of the items chosen. Choosing a field that is shared in both countries and broadly similar in significance should reduce the number of words that are inherently barred from crossing to BrE due to the extralinguistic factor of physical geography. For example, it may be difficult to assess at the field of animals as it is likely that many US-coined expressions to do with animals would not be used in the UK or have any BrE synonyms simply because they refer to animals that do not exist in the UK. Therefore, I have opted to use a selection of words related to work and industry, or economics. Economics is a universal concept which applies not only to the two countries in question but to all nations around the world. The geographic differences between the US and the UK should not, in theory, present a barrier to a referent and its denoting expression being used in the British lexicon. This means that it should be possible 12

to understand under solely linguistic reasons why an expression might not enter British vocabulary and eliminating as many extra-linguistic factors as possible. Using the selection criteria set out above, a list of 30 US-coined expressions were chosen for the study. They were: advertorial ATM bakery bartender blue-chip cafeteria cash register chain store classified delicatessen employee food court freebie garage sale gas station infomercial laundromat lifeguard motel mixologist realtor retail park repo man sawbuck speakeasy store-front swamper terminal think-tank theme park

y y y y y y y y y y

y y y y y y y y y y

y y y y y y y y y y

The next stage of the methodology requires finding synonyms for the US coined expressions. The Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary (HTOED) is included within the online OED database. Like an ordinary thesaurus, it shows synonyms for words and phrases but, unlike most thesauruses, it also shows all words with the same meaning from across the history of English. The HTOED will thus be used to see if synonyms of AmE expressions exist or have existed, particularly BrE synonyms. If the expression has no synonyms, then it may be present in the British lexicon as a lexical or conceptual gap filler (refer to the Discussion chapter for more on these terms). If the expression has a synonym, then the subsequent aim is to see which synonym is predominant in British usage the AmE expression, or another, possibly BrE, alternative. By using this stage of the method alongside the information on first citation dates from the OED it also becomes possible to


assess whether the age of the expression is also a contributing factor to its lexical dominance. The final stage of the methodology involves a corpus analysis using the British National Corpus (BNC). The BNC is a resource of written and spoken language from modern British English and includes 100 million words. The texts and transcriptions used by the BNC include different styles, genres and registers and should therefore reflect a broad range of British English. The aim of the corpus analysis is to see whether the AmE synonym is the dominant expression used to refer to the concept in question. This is made possible by searching the BNC for each synonym of the sense unit and thus finding and comparing how many instances of each expression are present in the corpus. The data can then be presented as percentages to assess how prevalent the AmE expression (or expressions) are compared to their BrE (or other) comparables. In the event that one of the AmE expressions has no synonyms, the corpus search can be used to see if the word has any significant usage in BrE. The three stages of the methodology can be demonstrated as follows: 1. OED search and word selection <EXPRESSION > is selected as an AmE concrete noun in the lexical field of economics. 2. HTOED synonym search Synonym search finds that <EXPRESSION > has the synonym <EXPRESSION > which is from also from AmE and <EXPRESSION > which is from BrE.


3. Corpus analysis Item <EXPRESSION > <EXPRESSION > <EXPRESSION > Origin US US UK Frequency 42 7 86 Total 135 Percentage 31.1% 5.2% 63.7% 100% 63.7% 36.3%

The corpus shows that the BrE synonym is the most dominant. 63.7% of all references to the concept in BrE use an expression that originated in the UK. It is also possible to compare the results from the analysis of the BNC with results from another corpus the Corpus of Contemporary American (COCA). The COCA is a similar corpus to the BNC as it uses written and spoken language from the late 20th century but indexes American English instead. The COCA is made up of 425 million words compared to the BNCs 100 million so any comparison of results between the two will need to be based on ratios or percentages rather than raw frequencies. A potential limit of corpus analysis is the presence of erroneous results in the frequency total. This is why it is important to examine the keywords in context in a corpus search, as they will show in what environment the word was used and ensure that the result is the type being looked for.


The argument of prescriptivists is that American English is creeping into British English vocabulary. The prescriptivist hypothesis would be that the American English expressions are the predominant variant and will be used more frequently than British English synonyms. However, I am sceptical of the prescriptivist standpoint and believe that it is based on exaggeration. Therefore my hypothesis for this experiment is as follows: The American English expressions chosen for the experiment will be used less frequently than British English synonyms to refer to a sense unit. If the hypothesis is true, the results will show that a synonym originating in BrE will be used more frequently than the AmE expression for most (but probably not all) of the 30 assessed sense units. If the hypothesis is false, the results will show that the AmE expressions are used more frequently than any BrE synonym for that expression. It is possible that an expression originating from another global variety of English (e.g. New Zealand English) may be used more than a synonym from one (or both) of American English or British English. This would obviously need to be accounted for in the analysis of the results but as the key concern of the study is relating to the spread of Americanisms, a focus would be placed on which out of BrE and AmE is the most dominant in each case. In the following chapter I will outline the numerical results that arose from the experiment.


In this chapter I will show the numerical results that arose from the method with any other relevant commentary on the expressions. The definitions given by the OED for the expressions being studied can be found in the appendix section.

Expressions without synonyms

11 of the sample words were found to have no English synonyms in the HTOED. They are listed in alphabetical order here in addition to the frequency with which they occur in the BNC and COCA and the number of times they occur per million words in each corpus (words per million or wpm). advertorial First citation from 1961 in Websters 3rd New International Dictionary of the English Language. BNC 23 (0.23 wpm) COCA 16 (0.04 wpm) blue-chip Sense relating to the stock exchange derived from an earlier expression relating to poker. First citation from 1932 in The Sun (Baltimore). BNC 113 (1.13 wpm) COCA 649 (1.53 wpm) classified First citation from 1909 in Modesto (California) Morning Herald. BNC 43 (0.43 wpm) COCA 270 (0.64 wpm)


food court First citation from 1979 in Los Angeles Times. BNC 5 (0.05 wpm) COCA 276 (0.65 wpm) infomercial First citation from 1981 in United Press International Newswire. BNC 0 COCA 593 (1.4 wpm) motel First citation from 1925 in Hotel Monthly. BNC frequency 170 (1.7 wpm) COCA frequency 4897 (11.52 wpm) retail park First citation from 1973 in The Chicago Tribune BNC frequency 14 (0.14 wpm) COCA frequency 1 (<0.01 wpm) sawbuck First citation from 1850 in Knickerbocker. BNC 1 (0.01 wpm) COCA 14 (0.03 wpm) speakeasy First citation from 1889 in The Voice (New York). BNC 9 (0.09 wpm) COCA 149 (0.35 wpm)


swamper First attested in 1862 from The Maine Woods by H.D. Thoreau. First citation from 1880 in Lumbermans Gazette. BNC - 0 COCA 13 (0.03 wpm) think-tank First attested in 1958 from The Economic Journal (in reference to a specific organisation in the US). BNC 160 (1.6 wpm) COCA 2186 (5.14 wpm)

Expressions with synonyms

The remaining 19 expressions were found to have English synonyms in the HTOED. The information that will be presented for these expressions and their synonyms are: 1. The year of the OEDs first citation of the item. 2. The text in which the item is first cited. 3. The country of origin of the first citation. 4. The raw frequency of the items appearances in the British National Corpus. 5. The raw frequency of the items appearances in the Corpus of Contemporary American. 6. The percentage share of usage for the expression and (where necessary) the percentage share of usage for the variety of origin. 7. Any other relevant information. The definitions of each of the expressions mentioned can be found in the appendix. The results of the experiment are as follows: ATM ATM first citation from 1976 in Business Week. 19

automatic teller (machine) first citation from 1971 in The American Banker. Sometimes known as automated teller (machine). cash dispenser first citation from Banker in 1967. cash machine first citation from The Times (London) in 1967. cashpoint first citation from The Times (London) in 1973. hole-in-the-wall first citation from The Guardian in 1985. Item automatic/ automated teller [machine] ATM cash dispenser cash machine cashpoint hole-in-the-wall Origin US Year 1971 BNC 0 [16] Freq. % 11.11% COCA 28.47% 26 [181] 1408 71.53% 4 98 1 0 1718 Freq. % 12.05%



1976 1967 1967 1973 1985

25 29 47 16 11 144

17.36% 20.14% 32.64% 11.11% 7.63% 100%

81.96% 0.23% 5.70% 0.06% 0.00% 100%


bakery bakery first citation from circa 1820 in Reports of the Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts. cake house first citation from 1666 in the diary of Samuel Pepys confectionery shop first citation from 1801 in Moral tales for young people by M. Edgeworth. pastry shop first citation from 1656 in I ragguagli di Parnasso; or, Advertisements from Parnassus (transl. 2nd Earl of Monmouth). patisserie first citation from 1871 in A. Listers Diary. pie house first citation from 1589 in Bibliotheca scholastica: a double dictionarie Part I. English and Latin by John Rider. Item bakery pie house pastry shop cake house Origin US UK UK UK Year 1820 1589 1656 1666 BNC 150 0 3 0 Freq. % 87.21% 87.21% 12.79% 1.74% COCA 2524 0 82 0 Freq. % 93.65% 93.65% 6.35% 3.04%


confectionery shop patisserie


1801 1824



14 8.14% 84 3.12% 172 100% 2695 100% NB. A number of results for the search string [bakery].[n] were for the meaning A place for making bread; the whole establishment of a baker (OED). As this meaning is not a synonym of the other words, results which appeared to designate this meaning were removed from the total. bartender bar-keep first citation from 1846 in The Spirit of the Times: a chronicle of the turf, agriculture, field sports, literature and the stage bar-keeper first citation from 1712 in The Spectator barmaid first attestation from 1658 in Lucasta: posthume poems of Richard Lovelace, Esq by R. Lovelace barman first citation from 1837 in British Emigrant's Adv. bartender first citation from 1836 in Franklin Repository. drawer first citation from 1567 in Triall of Treasure mixologist first citation from 1856 in Knickerbocker potman first citation from 1652 in Catch that catch can, or, A choice collection of catches, rounds, and canons for 3 or 4 voyces by J. Hilton tapster first citation from c.1000 in Grammar by lfric of Eynsham Item bartender bar-keep mixologist tapster drawer potman barmaid barman bar-keeper BNC Freq. % COCA Freq. % 46 10.80% 10.80% 3033 86.36% 86.90% 0 4 0.11% 0 15 0.43% 3 0.70% 89.20% 5 0.14% 13.10% * * 4 0.94% 7 0.20% 155 36.39% 202 5.75% 218 51.17% 242 6.89% 0 0% 4 0.11% 426 100% 3512 100% *Too many results but a sample of 300 results revealed none relating to this sense. Perhaps obsolete. 21 Origin US US US UK UK UK UK UK UK Year 1836 1846 1856 c1000 1567 1652 1658 1837 1712

cafeteria cafeteria - first citation from 1912 in Journal of Home Economics canteen first citation from 1870 in Palace and Hovel by D.J. Kirwan Item cafeteria canteen Origin US UK Year 1912 1870 BNC 147 703 850 Freq. % 17.29% 82.71% 100% COCA 2886 144 3030 Freq. % 95.25% 4.75% 100%

cash register cash register first citation from 1879 in The Official Gazette (U.S. Patent Office) till first citation from 1698 in The London Gazette Item cash register till Origin US UK Year 1879 1698 BNC 32 358 390 Freq. % 8.21% 91.79% 100% COCA 915 70 985 Freq. % 92.89% 7.11% 100%

chain store chain store first citation from 1910 in The Saturday Evening Post multiple first citation from 1956 in A dictionary of slang and unconventional English by E.H. Partridge Item chain store multiple Origin US UK Year 1910 1951 BNC 58 37 95 Freq. % 61.05% 39.95% 100% COCA 231 0 231 Freq. % 100% 100%


delicatessen delicatessen first citation from 1889 in Kansas Times & Star. deli first citation from 1954 in An American dictionary of slang and colloquial speech by J.A. Weingarten. Item delicatessen deli Origin US US Year 1889 1954 BNC 135 52 187 Freq. % 72.19% 27.81% 100% COCA 295 1520 1815 Freq. % 16.25% 83.75% 100%

employee employ first citation from 1834 in The Spectator employee first citation from 1850 in Wah-to-yah, and the Taos Trail by L.H. Gerrard worker first citation from 1848 in Cassell's Book Quot. by Kingsley Item employee worker employ BNC COCA 8917 46779 18199 76019 No results. Perhaps obsolete. 27116 122798 The term worker is polysemous and there were too many results overall to easily narrow down to results for the correct sense. freebie freebie first citation from 1925 in Inter-State Tattler free gift first citation from 1909 in The Daily Chronicle (London) Item freebie free gift Origin US UK Year 1925 1909 BNC 101 102 203 Freq. % 49.75% 50.25% 100% COCA 353 83 436 Freq. % 80.96% 19.04% 100% Origin US UK UK Year 1850 1848 1834


garage sale garage sale first citation from 1966 in Daily Union (Sacramento) Family Weekly Magazine yard sale first citation from 1976 in Flint (Michigan) Journal Item garage sale yard sale Origin US US Year 1966 1976 BNC 5 0 5 Freq. % 100% 100% COCA 386 344 730 Freq. % 52.88% 47.12% 100%

gas station filling station first citation from 1921 in Outing: an illustrated monthly magazine of recreation gas station first citation from 1932 in Devil take the hindmost: a year of the slump by E. Wilson petrol station first citation from 1912 in The Sheboygan Press (Sheboygan, Wisconsin) Item petrol station filling station gas station Origin US US US Year 1912 1921 1932 BNC 166 40 30 236 Freq. % 70.34% 16.95% 12.71% 100% COCA 24 205 2482 2711 Freq. % 0.89% 7.56% 91.55% 100%

laundromat coin-op first citation from 1960 in The Times (London) launderette (also laundrette) first citation from 1949 in Vogue (London) Laundromat first citation from 1951 in American Speech Item laundromat launderette/ laundrette coin-op Origin US UK UK Year 1951 1949 1960 BNC 6 114/ 18 1 139 Freq. COCA % 4.32% 4.32% 411 94.96% 94.68% 21/ 21 0.72% 1 100% 454 Freq. % 90.53% 90.53% 9.25% 9.47% 0.22% 100%


lifeguard lifeguard first citation from 1893 in The New York Times lifesaver first citation from 1887 in The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky) Item lifeguard lifesaver Origin US US Year 1893 1887 BNC 90 3 93 Freq. % 96.77% 3.23% 100% COCA 731 3 734 Freq. % 99.59% 0.41% 100%

mixologist Refer to results for bartender. realtor estate agent first citation from 1880 in Harper's new monthly magazine realtor first citation from 1916 in Nat. Real Estate Journal Item estate agent realtor BNC Freq. % COCA Freq. % 774* 99.36% 12* 1.02% 5 0.64% 1170 98.98% 779 100% 1182 100% *results for estate agent[s] initially yielded 783 items in BNC and 1131 items in COCA. Real estate agent[s] made up 7 of these results in BNC and 1119 results in COCA. The results for real estate agent[s] were removed from the data thusly. repo man repo man first citation from 1964 in The Tucson Daily Citizen (Tucson, Arizona) repossessor first citation from 1926 in Los Angeles Daily Times Item repo man repossessor Origin US US Year 1964 1926 BNC 36 0 36 Freq. % 100% 100% COCA 51 6 57 Freq. % 89.47% 10.53 100% Origin US US Year 1880 1916


store-front shop-front first citation from 1835 in Evening Chron. by Dickens store-front first citation from 1880 in The Grandissimes by G.W. Cables Item store-front shop-front Origin US UK Year 1880 1835 BNC 8 54 62 Freq. % 12.90% 87.10% 100% COCA 1603 17 1620 Freq. % 98.95% 1.05% 100%

terminal terminal first citation from 1888 in The Boston Journal terminus first citation from 1836 in The Mechanics' Magazine Item terminal terminus Origin US UK Year 1888 1836 BNC 239 286 525 Freq. % 45.52% 54.48% 100% COCA 1901 310 2211 Freq. % 85.98% 14.02% 100%

theme park amusement park first citation from 1909 in The New York Evening Post. theme park first citation from 1960 in American Peoples Encycl. Year Book. Item amusement park theme park Origin US US Year 1909 1960 BNC 17 171 188 Freq. % 9.04% 90.96% 100% COCA 955 1276 2231 Freq. % 42.81% 57.19% 100%

In the following chapter I will discuss what the implications of these numerical results are to the theories involved and suggest how they may be significant for the hypothesis.


In this chapter I will make observations about trends and anomalies found in the data and discuss their significance to the hypothesis and the research rationale. Some general observations and comments on the findings of the results are: 65 expressions were included in the analysis. 24 were from the UK, 41 from the US. 11 of the expressions had no synonyms. Of the 19 expressions with synonyms, 12 had synonyms from British English (however, one of these expressions was removed from the study before the corpora analysis). y Of the 11 expressions analysed with British English synonyms, American English expressions were more popular in only two of the sense units studied. From the selection of 30 words, something that I immediately found to be a surprising outcome was that that bakery, cash register, chain store and employee were all words that appear to have originated in the US. I was particularly surprised not only by bakerys status as an Americanism, but also by how late it arrived into the English language. From my own uninformed judgement, I would have assumed that the word had been around since at least the Elizabethan period if not earlier. There were more surprising results to be found in the analysis which I will mention further in the chapter. The first consideration to take into account is for the results that did not make it past the first stage of the methodology, namely those expressions which did not have any synonyms in the HTOED. These expressions were: advertorial blue-chip classified food court infomercial motel retail park sawbuck 27 speakeasy swamper think-tank

y y y

y y y y

y y y y

y y y

A few questions arise when thinking of expressions like these. One of these is why might there have been no pre-existing synonyms to denote the relevant sense unit? Another is why no synonyms have arisen since the word entered the language. But the most important question for this study in particular is why might there have been no British English synonyms created to use instead of the American English terms that the referents have been assigned. One reason why no pre-existing synonyms existed for some of these expressions could be due to the existence lexical gaps. With a lexical gap, the concept itself is something familiar but no referring expression for it exists yet. If these terms were the first to fill the lexical gap then it explains why no pre-existing direct synonyms existed. Examples from these words could include: advertorial, classified, infomercial These three terms all refer to a special type of advertisement. In the case of advertorial for instance, the concept of an advertisement written in the style of editorial may have been around for some time but without any expression of its own to refer to it. The HTOED actually offers a few expressions such as ad and infomercial as synonyms for advertorial due to the way that the expressions were simply classified under the heading an advertisement. However, given the very specific definition of advertorial it is evident that these other expressions do not express the concept in the same way. The word advertorial is thus the filler for the lexical gap. y blue chip Again, the HTOED actually does offers some synonyms to this expression but all of these are simply expressions referring to types of stock rather than reliable stocks specifically. Consequently blue-chip appears to be the only expression in the OED that refers to a reliable investment on the stock exchange. It is worth noting that this expression has less concreteness than most of the nouns used in the study, although some sources may use the term with a rigid designation in mind of 28

the qualities necessary to make a stock a blue-chip. The finance company UBS has a set of characteristics that must be fulfilled for a stock to qualify for its Blue Chip Series (UBS 2011). The relatively high usage of the expression in the BNC (1.13 words per million) indicate that this is an expression that has a stable foothold in British English. Referents that are entirely new or innovative also give explanation for why an expression might not have had a pre-existing synonym. New phenomena usually require new expressions to denote them. New expressions like these can be said to be filling a conceptual gap they are created with the purpose of turning a possible but non-occurring part of the semantic field to an occurring expression (Chomsky 1965: 175). Conceptual gap filling expressions can be seen for things such as new inventions and products so corn flakes would be a conceptual gap filler as it became the denoting expression when the concept came first into existence (the invention/discovery). Examples from these words could include: food court, retail park Reflecting the growing trend of consumerism in the mid to late 20th century the new concepts of a place to dine in a shopping centre (itself, a new concept), and an out-oftown shopping development of large stores are probably known by the terms they were assigned at their conception. y motel The first citation for this term from a publication about the hotel industry describes the upcoming opening of the first chain of motor hotels to be name Motel. This is a very evident case of a term being used as a conceptual gap filler. y think-tank Similarly to motel, the first OED citation refers to a specific research institution that was nicknamed the Think Tank and thus as the concept spread to other places, the expression appears to have stuck.


speakeasy Again, the first OED citation defines the term showing that the concept of an unlicensed bar selling alcohol and the expression may have been unfamiliar to many at the time. The expression would probably have been widely used in the US during the Prohibition years of the 1920s.

swamper It seems likely that the concept for a workman who clears the road for lumberers in a swamp (OED) is so finite that the expression probably would have arisen to refer to a new section of the workforce in the 1860s. The first attestation in the OED also includes a definition of the word.

The reason why synonyms might not have come about since these expressions entered the language may be due to the possibility that once a lexical or conceptual gap is filled, English simply does not demand a further word to denote the same thing. The implication for British English is that if these expressions are accepted into the BrE lexicon, there is no reason to come up with another word for them when the existing word will suffice. Prescriptivists may believe that BrE should have its own words for the concepts and therefore fill the gaps with British words but the linguistic reality is that making new words for things that already have them is an inefficient use of the language.

The word employee had to be removed from the investigation at the third stage of the methodology as one of its synonyms, worker, had too many results in both corpora which could not be easily separated from irrelevant sense of the word which are not synonymous. Problems with the corpora will be explored further in the Evaluation chapter. The seven expressions that had synonyms but no BrE synonyms are effectively in a similar situation to the expressions that did not have synonyms. In both cases the terms have no competition from British English vocabulary. The seven words were: 30

y y y

delicatessen garage sale gas station

y y y

lifeguard estate agent repo man

theme park

Potential reasons for the dominance of AmE and lack of BrE competition are explained as follows: garage sale In Benson, Benson & Ilsons list of lexical differences, no British equivalent is offered for garage sale but instead a description of the sense (a sale of ones household articles held on ones own private property, 1986:121). The concept in question (a sale of unwanted possessions held in (the garage of) a private house, OED) is possibly one that has no parallel in the UK. This may be because UK homeowners do not have the same amount of space to hold such events on their property compared with US homeowners. People in the UK might also be more used to selling their unwanted possessions through car boot sales or, increasingly in recent years, over the internet. It seems that the lack of any older or newer British expression can be put down to the concept being unfamiliar in the UK. The low frequency of results for garage sale (just five entries in the BNC) also seems to indicate that the expression has little relevance to British people. This may also explain why yard sale had zero usage in the UK, although it may also be down to BrE preference for the word garden rather than yard (Benson, Benson and Ilson 1986: 152). y repo man The HTOED only provides two AmE words for the concept (a person hired by a credit company to repossess [items] when the purchaser defaults on payments, OED), which would suggest that it could be another concept unique to the United States. However, I would posit that the referent is the same as, or at least very similar to what might be referred to in the UK as a bailiff. The HM Courts & Tribunal Service define a bailiff as


someone who can remove and sell a person's possessions in order to pay money owed to a person or organisation (2011: para. 1 of 10) which seems to entail the same sort of activity as repo man and repossessor do. Therefore, it seems apparent that the HTOED might not have delivered all the possible synonyms for this term. y theme park Similarly to repo man, the fact that there are no British English synonyms for theme park/amusement park would appear to suggest that the concept was introduced to the UK from the US. Again, however, there is a possibility that the HTOED and is missing synonyms. Much like a modern day theme park, large public spaces with rides and activities spread across Europe between the 17th and 19th century but these were known in their time as pleasure gardens (Weinstein 1992: 133). Adventure park might have also been a valid synonym if it were found in the OED. y realtor This term estate agent probably acts as a lexical or conceptual gap filler. Realtor is noted in the OED as being a proprietary name for a member of the National Association of Realtors. As there is no equivalent organisation in the UK using that name, the low usage of the term realtor is perhaps understandable y delicatessen Delicatessen is a word originating from German and Dutch but seems to have come into English usage via the United States (although the first citation of the word is a spurious entry from a British text in 1877). Like many of the expressions without synonyms, it seems probable that the term began being used to fill a conceptual gap. Its synonym deli is a clipped form rather than an entirely new word and it is the least popular of the two terms in British English perhaps due to it being newer (an idea that will be explored further later in the chapter). y lifeguard An interesting result that is explained further ahead in the chapter.


gas station One of the surprises found in the OED search was that the synonym for this term petrol station, which was the significantly dominant expression in the UK, appears first in AmE. One of the archetypal distinctions between BrE and AmE is the split between the terms petrol and gas/gasoline (commented on by Benson, Benson and Ilson 1986: 79, Gramley 2001: 104, Barber 2000: 255 among many others). Many of the other petrol compounds in the dictionary are from BrE and examples from within the same decade like petrol bus, petrol fumes and petrol pump are all first cited in British texts. However, terms gas pump, gas tank and, crucially, gas station do not appear until the mid 1920s onwards. It seems likely therefore that petrol station is a term that was created in the US to fill a conceptual gap and spread with the concept to the UK. This would make sense if petrol had a foothold in the US at the time and perhaps gas gained popularity later. What is clear from the results is that there is a very marked preference towards petrol station in British English compared with very little use of the term in American English. Evidently, the expression has fallen out of use in the US whilst the UK has stuck to the original term.

One aspect of the results that appears to show a trend is that for those expressions where synonyms from BrE did exist, British English words were favoured over American English counterparts for all but two of the referents studied. The exceptions, bakery and chainstore, can be tentatively explained thusly: bakery The five synonyms offered by the HTOED for bakery were all BrE expressions but none of these expressions are directly synonymous with the word that is to say that one could not exchange the word bakery to, for example, pastry shop in an utterance and always mean the same thing by that utterance. The key difference is entailed by the meanings of these expressions. While bakery means a shop where baked products are 33

sold (OED), the expressions cake house, pastry shop and pie house suggest by their names that a specific type of baked product is sold at these shops cakes, pastries and pies respectively. Confectionary shop is also comparatively restrictive as it suggests that the shop only sells sweet goods which may or may not be baked. The preference towards the term bakery is therefore logical as it is the least limited or specialised of all these expressions and can reasonably denote a shop that sells all kinds of baked goods. However, this does not explain why the similarly broad term patisserie, a French word used in the UK before other Anglophone territories, is not more popular. It is possible that bakery, analogous with terms like perfumery, pottery and brewery, better indicates whose work is involved at the location (the baker, much like the perfumer, potter and brewer) than patisserie does (patisser as a word for a pastry-cook or seller appears to be obsolete by the 17th century, OED). Notably, the HTOED does not offer bakers shop as a synonym and there is evidence to suggest that this may have been the favoured expression in Britain before bakery came into usage. For example, The London Gazette report that followed The Great Fire Of London in 1666 said that fire broke out at a baker's shop in Pudding Lane (A farther account of this lamentable fire, London Gazette, 10 September 1666, p. 2). y chain-store The concept of a series of shops that are part of one firm was probably not innovative at the time chain-store was first cited. It is likely that the term is thus a filler of a lexical gap. The BrE synonym multiple is first cited some 41 years after the first citation for chain store in the OED, and 21 years after the first British citation of the term. It is likely that multiple arrives to the British English lexicon far too late to overtake chain-store as the dominant term and it has not achieved dominance since as the lexical gap has already been filled. The age of an expression may play a part in how successful it is in British usage. In 14 of the 19 expressions with synonyms, the oldest synonym was the most used by British English


users. The five exceptions that were all more used for their sense unit than an older synonym, or older synonyms were: bakery barman lifeguard repo man theme park

y y

y y

The previously mentioned exploration of the term bakery may offer an explanation for that expression but other factors seem to be at play for the other expressions here. repo man Not only are repo man and theme park both AmE expressions, but their older synonyms are also. Repo man and its synonym repossessor have already been evaluated as unused because BrE has a word/concept that is more used in bailiff. y theme park It is difficult to find a reason why the newer expression is more successful than amusement park. The 51 year difference between their origins is greater than that of chain store and multiple, yet multiple takes second place. One potential reason could be due to theme park being associated with the new brands of tourist destinations like Walt Disney World. The first BrE citation in the OED from 1967s Encyclopedia Britannica Book of the Year and makes reference to American-type theme parks which suggests that perhaps a theme park is more exciting and exotic sounding than a plain old amusement park y lifeguard The first citation of the term in a British English text is in 1896 while a British citation for its synonym lifesaver is not found until 1931. If the concept (a person that assists swimmers who get into difficulty) was unfamiliar to the UK then it is likely that the term that would have been introduced to British English first would have been the one that was most popular in the US at the time. y barman The reason for barman being more popular than several older synonyms including 35

tapster, bar keeper and bartender is not so clear. It may be that barman functions as the logical masculine form of the word barmaid. This age factor could be an alternative explanation for why BrE words appear to be so successful compared with their AmE counterparts. Of the 10 concepts that have BrE synonyms, 9 have a BrE expression that is older than an equivalent AmE expression (multiple being the one exception). If the age of an expression is the dominant reason for its success or failure rather than the dialect of its origin, it would seem logical that the largely older BrE words would be more popular with English users in the UK. Other interesting results that arose in the data: freebie The use of both synonyms was almost exactly the same with BrE free gift being just 1 instance ahead of AmE freebie. A suggested theory of why this is the case is that the term free gift is essentially no more useful or descriptive than the sense of the concept. Freebie by comparison gives a single word to what is otherwise a descriptive phrase. The distinction is almost like a worked example of the lexical gap phenomena. y terminal It seems peculiar that usage of terminal and terminus should be so similar in British English, especially given that terminal is a clear winner in the US. It is possible that in practice, British English makes a distinction that American English does not terminal applies mainly to air travel while terminus applies to overland travel. This distinction might be being lead by an American dominance in designating the language of air travel. While prescriptivists view that British English should prohibit most, if not all Americanisms from its lexicon, these results actually find that British English accepts many AmE words but limited to those that have no pre-existing equivalent. In the next chapter I will look at the limitations and challenges presented by the data.


In this chapter I will highlight some of the unavoidable limitations of the study and ways in which ideally they could be overcome. The method used in the experiment has proven to be a relatively solid way to establish the extent to which American English vocabulary is being used by users of British English. Finding the AmE expressions using the OEDs regional search function proved to be a more reliable way of choosing the target expressions for the study than by using existing taxonomies of American and British language differences. Benson, Benson and Ilsons list of American and British expressions (1986: 43-152) for example does not make clear how the words were categorised into each dialect list. A key difference is where Benson et al categorise estate agent as British English, perhaps due to it being more used in the UK than the US, I categorised this expression as American English, as it appears to have originated in the US based on the citation information in the OED. Selecting words based on a list like this for the study could have led to a preliminary bias where commonly accepted expressions from America would be incorrectly viewed as British. A limitation of using the OED as a source for establishing where words first entered the English language is that it relies on a belief that the initial citations found by lexicographers cannot be antedated. The OEDs editors themselves acknowledge that 60% of the words and senses that were in the dictionary in 2000 now have earlier attestations (Collecting the Evidence: Oxford English Dictionary 2010: para. 24 of 27). Sebastian Hoffman criticises the OEDs range of sources by noting that authors like Shakespeare are over-represented in its quotations while working-class newspapers of the 19th century hardly feature (2004: 21). The knowledge that one has on the origin of each of the expressions studied is only as reliable as the information the OED has for the first citations of each expression. It could reasonably transpire that some of the words that are classified in this study as AmE due to their first citations being from the US, could have earlier uses in British English that simply 37

have not been found yet. It is also increasingly possible with the rapid and interconnected nature of society today that where a word originates will become less apparent over time. If a new word were to appear on an internationally broadcast live television event and became absorbed into the lexicon of languages around the world, which nation would the word be considered to originate from? The location from where the event was broadcast? The place where the person who said it lives or where they grew up or where they were born? The place where a newspaper put the word on the front page the next day? Complications like this will make it harder in the future to be able to always have a set-in-stone knowledge of where a word came from. Nonetheless, without knowing for certain where this may be the case, the OED is still the most reliable source for knowing the origins of words and meanings and vastly superior to the apparent guesswork of Benson, Benson and Ilson. The secondary stage of the methodology using the HTOED to find synonyms for the target American English vocabulary items is a very good way of seeing if the words in question had arrived into English after any pre-existing expressions, particular BrE ones. However, in some instances the HTOED was not the best tool for finding synonyms as words were often grouped by fairly broad categories rather than specific senses. For instance, the term realtor was placed under the classification society > occupation > trade and commerce > agent or broker > [noun] which meant that the synonyms it was placed with were words referring to generic brokers (e.g. chapman) in addition to specific types of brokers that had not been placed in a subcategory (e.g. yacht broker). This meant that the HTOED on its own could not be relied upon as a source of synonyms as there was still a need to also use the OED to find the meanings of each given term and assess whether or not the expressions referred to the target sense unit. A problem with trying to find synonyms for words is that the semantic meaning of words is often quite difficult to know. Wherever necessary in this study I intended to use the


definitions given in the OED as a guide for understanding the sense of each expression and assessed from there if the other expressions offered were broadly similar enough to count as synonyms. Algeo states that the challenge here is down to language being often imprecise with fuzzy meanings (1989: 223) which makes assigning words as synonyms difficult. The way in which a language user employs a vocabulary item might not be in a way that best designates the sense unit but it still gets swept into the count of words as the inferred meaning appears to be correct. Another limitation of the OED and the HTOED for this study was that some reasonable synonyms may not be featured in the dictionary and thus not listed as synonyms in the thesaurus. Real estate broker was a synonym offered by Benson, Benson and Ilson for realtor but the expression does not appear in the OED and thus could not be included in the data. If the expression had been an authorised synonym, it would have had no results in the BNC but 349 results in COCA enough to have accounted for 22.79% of the overall share and consequently reduced the share of the other two synonyms. Similarly, I would suggest adventure park as a synonym for theme park but this expression also does not appear in the OED. Adventure park has a frequency of 5 in the BNC and 29 in COCA. Although this would not be enough to unseat the dominance of the other two synonyms, information about the origin such as where the term comes from or when it first appeared could have helped in gaining a greater understanding of why it is not as frequently used. If it is an expression of British English origin than it would have been an example of a BrE term that is less used than an AmE counterpart, which would not only differ from most of the other results but also act as evidence to counteract the hypothesis. At the heart of this problem is the inalienable truth that the OED does not include every lexeme in the language and therefore provides a challenge for semantic investigations such as these which aim to find out what language people use to denote certain concepts and referents.


A limitation for the corpus stage of the analysis comes in the fact that the two corpora used, the BNC and COCA, span different time periods. The BNC contains language from the 1980s to 1993 while COCA contains language from 1990 to 2011. If the study were looking for a completely like-for-like comparison between British English and American English, it would be favourable to have two corpora that use the exact same years to compare by. To some extent, the degree to which this difference presents a challenge for the purpose of this study is low as both corpora use data from the late 20th century and all of the expressions investigated originate before and, in the individual case of hole in the wall, during the 1980s. Nevertheless, there is a possibility that some expressions may have gained more of a foothold in British English since 1993, so a reliable corpus of British English that is more up-to-date would have been useful had such a resource been available. Another drawback of the corpus search is the difficulty in limiting search results to useful hits relevant to the context in question. The study of the expression employee had to be abandoned because of the vast number of search hits for the synonym worker in both corpora. Even if there was more time or manpower available to remove patently erroneous uses like worker ant or metal worker from the results, there would still have been a challenge presented by ambiguous usages like a good worker. Consequently, the total number of instances of the word worker as a synonym of employee would be difficult to ever conclude. Similarly, there are inevitably cases where an AmE expression is used in a reporting context to refer to something as it would be referred to in America. These could be quotes from users of American English, glosses of unfamiliar language, references to proper names (e.g. repo man yields some descriptions of the 1984 film of the same name) or fictional texts written in the American vernacular. For most of these cases a justification for keeping them within the count is that their usage in British English language implies that the writer or speaker expects that the audience will understand the terms used and is therefore no different to any other use of American English. However, these results could have meant


that the usage of some expressions was over-reported and did not reflect overall trends in British language. The previous point leads to the final evaluating assertion, which is that the BNC might not be the best reflection of the language of British English. While the primary sources for its 100 million words are taken from a number of texts of different genres, the genres are not given equal weighting. For instance, there are 10 million words of spoken British English compared with 17 million words of fictional text. Differences like these could affect the degree to which the corpus accurately portrays British English as a whole. For the purpose of this study, the BNC is a satisfactory corpus for reflecting British language use but any conclusions from the investigation should come under the proviso that a corpus that weighted its extracts differently could present a different reflection of the language. The results found that far from being completely unwanted, American English vocabulary is widely adopted into the British English lexicon in instances where British English has no corresponding expression, which in many ways is analogous to linguistic borrowings from other languages. Borrowings are expressions taken in exactly the same form from one language to another (Barber 2000: 60). English borrows words from other languages as an important source of new words if they are required to fill a gap. Examples of borrowings into English that fill lexical gaps include words like Schadenfreude from German and thug from Hindi. This also occurs with other languages borrowing words from English, hence the infamous example of le weekend in French (Bragg 2003: 291). Perhaps the most evident cases of borrowings are for conceptual gaps, where English will refer to a concept unfamiliar to English users with the expression it is referred to in the language of the concepts origin. Confetti, meaning little sweets, is an example of a word borrowed into English from Italian to fill a conceptual gap for the concept of bon-bons or paper imitations thrown during [a] carnival (OED). Some borrowings are so well known that


language planning policies are in place to protect and limit their usage. The European Unions Protected Geographic Status framework prevents specialised names like champagne and Roquefort from being misapplied to generic products (Rovamo 2006: 10). Borrowings for conceptual gaps from English to foreign languages is also evident from words like tlvision in French and the recent spread of Wi-Fi (albeit a trademark) to all of the major modern languages. On the other hand, there are also cases where a conceptual gap is filled with an English word rather than borrowing the concepts native language term. For example, the sweet that originates in Turkey consisting of cubed gelatine dusted with sugar is known in Turkish as lokum but referred to in English as Turkish delight. There are also examples of foreign languages not taking the original English word to fill a conceptual gap. Contrary to the French language, German uses the word fernsehen (literally far sight) to refer to television. The McDonalds hamburger known in American English as the Quarter Pounder with Cheese is named the Royal Cheese in France which, as famously commented on in the film Pulp Fiction (1994), is due to France being unfamiliar with imperial measurements. It is also possible to find instances in English of a borrowed word and an English word coexisting or competing as referring expressions. Words relating to food and dining are often borrowed into English from French resulting in synonymous pairs such as tarte au citron and lemon tart, dauphinoise potatoes and potato bake, and sommelier and wine steward. Similarly, one can observe usage of both ordinateur portable and laptop in French, and descarregar, baixar and download in Portuguese.


By using a matrix model inspired by Lehrers (1970), it is possible to represent how conceptual and lexical gaps in British English arise: American English/other British English English dialect/other language {Concept} Unfamiliar Familiar Familiar

Concept Familiarity Expression {EXPRESSION} used conceptual lexical none Type of gap A worked example of this for the expression food court would look like the matrix below: British English American English An area in a shopping centre, etc. containing a variety of fast-food outlets and shared seating for diners Unfamiliar Familiar Familiar


Familiarity Expression food court food court used conceptual lexical none Type of gap This shows how when presented with the unfamiliar concept outlined, British English borrows the expression used from American English to fill its conceptual gap. If the example was the expression Schadenfreude, the matrix would look fairly similar and work in the same way: British English German Pleasure derived from anothers misfortune Unfamiliar Familiar Familiar

Concept Familiarity Expression Schadenfreude Schadenfreude used conceptual lexical none Type of gap This shows how when presented with the familiar concept outlined, British English borrows the expression used in German to fill its lexical gap.


Therefore, it would perhaps be a satisfactory analysis to think of many of the American English expressions accepted into British English as inter-dialectal borrowings that function in a similar way to common inter-language borrowings. Other languages English Lexical gap Conceptual gap Competing expressions Schadenfreude confetti sommelier vs. wine steward English languages week-end Wi-Fi laptop vs. ordinateur portable Other American English British English chain store lifeguard freebie vs. free gift

Because the United States and the United Kingdom are separated by physical geography, the opportunities and scenarios for dialect contact will not have been the same as those within each country, or even those between the countries and their nearest English-speaking neighbours (Canada and Ireland respectively). Traditional contact between speakers of different dialects would entail face-to-face conversation in work, education or leisure environments (Trudgill 1986). If the physical separation of the two dialect areas makes this sort of day-to-day contact impossible, this leaves a question of how the lexical diffusion evident from this research has been made possible at all? Stephen Gramley posits that technology and the growing presence of the media make once distant and strange Englishes ever more accessible to all of us (2001: 242). It is likely that these communication changes are the reason why the lexes of both American and British varieties of English are considered considerably closer to each other than they were in the 19th century, or even early 20th century (Svejcer 1978: 160). In the following chapter, I will bring together the points of discussion that have arisen from the study and look to find a conclusion that satisfactorily answers the hypothesis.


In this chapter I will use the evidence from the investigation to re-analyse the prescriptivist view on American English vocabulary and assess the extent to which the results support or contradict the hypothesis. As explained in the introduction chapter, folk linguists have presented a belief that so-called Americanisms are unpleasant, unwanted and threatening to British English. While considering the phonoaesthetics of the vocabulary items would require a whole other investigation of its own, the assertion that the English lexicon of the UK does not need and is endangered by American vocabulary can be counteracted by the instances of Americanisms that function as inter-dialectal borrowings. The lending of terms to fill lexical gaps is perhaps a testament to the lexical innovation of the United States and its English users ability to provide a single lexeme to denote a concept or idea that would previously have had a lengthier or less precise term attached to it. Without the Americanism blue-chip, British English would have to be satisfied with referring to the existing concept with ambiguous and idiosyncratic phrases like reliable stock investment or trustworthy enterprise. The absence of a convenient word or phrase, sometimes called a functional gap (Lehrer, 1970: 261), is not necessarily a problem for the language but is arguably unnecessary when American English has a perfectly unambiguous, fixed lexeme available. If having a convenient word is favourable to leaving a functional gap, then prescriptivists should not view British English sourcing lexical gap fillers from another dialect area of English as a bad thing. Correspondingly, the lending of terms to fill conceptual gaps is most certainly a testament to the practical innovation of the United States and its inhabitants ability to create and discover new things. The term food court would not be part of the British English lexicon if it were not for Americas creation of the concept in the outset. The fact that British English does not fill the conceptual gap created by American English vocabulary with its own synonyms in any of


the cases studied is significant. It shows, at least for the English of the UK, that users of the language generally seem to be content with referring to concepts with the name they were initially given. It would be difficult for a prescriptivist to suggest that these types of Americanisms are unwanted; without them, British English would need to create its own referring expression or borrow from elsewhere, thus creating potential for unintelligibility between speakers of the two dialects. The view that Americanisms are a threat to British English, described most pertinently in Matthew Engels grey squirrel analogy (2010), is also one that the evidence from this study has opposed. If this were the case, the data would show that the AmE expressions were favoured over BrE synonyms. In reality, the opposite was in fact true and BrE synonyms were more popular in 9 out of the 11 cases where they were present. If this information were extrapolated to all instances where vocabulary from both dialects are in competition, it would categorically dismiss the view that Americanisms are a threat to British English as BrE lexemes are still favoured in over 80% of cases. Engels belief that Americanisms are destined to drive out native vocabulary items from British English is also counteracted by evidence from the data that shows that British English favours the eldest word available in the majority of cases. The results for terminal versus terminus, and freebie versus free gift certainly show that there are cases where the two dialects are running a close race and perhaps one might take dominance at some point in the future. Nonetheless, in the majority of cases there is no doubt that British English over American English provides the vocabulary items of choice for English users in the UK.

The hypothesis stated that the American English expressions chosen for the experiment will be used less frequently than British English synonyms. Some concessions have to be made in order to know if the hypothesis can be supported. Not all of the expressions had British English synonyms; for these expressions the


discussion chapter instead looked at why they were present in British English, which for all cases appeared to be for the purpose of filling conceptual or lexical gaps. These results neither support nor contradict the hypothesis. It could be argued that they support the prescriptivists stance that Americanisms are unnecessarily invasive, as British English could have created a neologism to fill the gaps instead of just borrowing from the US. On the other hand, it could also be argued that they counteract the prescriptivists stance, as the mere fact that a gap which needed to be filled existed at all highlights the necessity for American and British English to maintain some degree of relativity (unlike, say, the relationship between Japanese and English, which may have a number of lexical gaps that are never filled e.g. amae (Doi 1962: 132)). For the sense units that did have American and British synonyms, the American English expressions were used less frequently in nearly all cases, thus supporting the hypothesis.

Recommendations for further study

Any further study based upon the methodology used in this investigation would need to find more data to see if the conclusions found here are true in other cases. One possibility for research is to find out if the semantic field influences how much American English lexis is used in British English. This study looked at words relating to the economic and working world as this is something of importance to both countries. A further study could also be based upon fields that are of equal importance to both nations such as the human body, the cosmos or travel. Alternatively, it could be interesting to see how differently the results emerge for concepts that may have inherent differences for the two territories such as animals, plants or the weather. Results could show more opposition from British English to Americanisms in these fields. An investigation into different parts of speech would also be interesting. Results could show that American English verbs are becoming increasingly prominent in British English.


Although in some cases it may be challenging to demark synonyms, an investigation into adjective use could still be possible and might find that British English is less hostile towards new words in this area. Compared with the concrete nouns used by this study, it would be interesting to see if words that are always non-referring like OK, zillion or pesky are more or less able to enter the British lexicon. The methodology stage of the investigation could also be changed by the corpora used. COCA continues to grow as corpus with 20 million new words being added each year. The BNC by comparison is fixed at its 100 million word sample. There is only so long left that the BNC will remain relevant to the contemporary language while COCA continues to remain upto-date with how American English is being used. A solution could be to use the recently developed Google Books Ngram Viewer which uses a large sample of texts available on Google Books as its corpus. The set of texts can be limited to British English or American English. A drawback of this set-up, however, is that all the texts are books and therefore does not include other types of language like spoken English, newspapers, television or film. How reliably it can represent English usage as a whole might therefore be called into question but it is still a potentially useful way of comparing similar language between the two dialect areas.

Summing up
Compared with the historic split of Latin-based languages, English remains fundamentally intelligible between its varieties - the different dialects would probably not be known as English if it were not. The continued clarity between the global dialects of English allows British English users to continue watching American blockbuster films, viewing Australian soap operas, listening to Barbadian pop singers or e-conferencing with Hong Kong businessmen. Given the differences between cultures and the vast distances separating some English speaking communities, the fact that users of one dialect can understand those


of another should be consider something of a marvel. Where once contact between a Londoner and an Angeleno would take several weeks to be possible, the continued improvements in communications has meant that they can see each other face-to-face within seven hours or even speak in real-time instantly. It is this continued communication between the two varieties of English that helps to keep the language developing, which should not be considered negatively if it means that English continues to be a language that can reflect the state of so much of the world today. The instantaneous nature of communication in the modern age means that one can assume that British English will continue to borrow words from American English to fill matrix gaps, just as it will do from other dialects and languages. The suspicions and hostility towards American English vocabulary will probably continue to be a prevalent attitude held by prescriptivists in the UK. The ideology of prescriptivists will always be that one system of the language is preferable to another. What these individuals will choose to ignore is just how useful it is that British English has a sister dialect that often has its own pool of words and phrases that can be borrowed to improve the linguistic diversity of our own dialect. Many languages in the world are not as lucky to have large communities of users dotted around the planet who can help the language to grow in virtually any area regardless of geographic constraints. The phobia of Americanisms is not unique to Britain, the birthplace of English, but is also observable in other national dialects of English (Australian English in Peters, P. 1998, Indian English in Sedlatschek 2009 and Irish English in Behan 2005). The linguist Steve Jones is perhaps most astute about the situation in stating that when folk linguists object to American English, their complaint is really about the insidious effect of Americanisation on our culture (in Law, P. 2007 para. 13 of 14). This theory seems to have pertinence when one considers how frequently we hear complaints of broadcasters or teenagers or advertisers using Americanisms compared to how rarely, if at all, we hear complaints of people using, for example, Canadianisms, Australianisms, Jamaicanisms or Nigerianisms, all of which can


certainly be heard in 21st century Britain. If the question is is British English being swamped by Americanisms? the answer I hope to have demonstrated is clear no. On the other hand, if the question is is British English expanding by embracing vocabulary from elsewhere - be it the United States, the rest of the Anglosphere or any of the worlds languages?, then the answer should be an emphatic yes. In many ways, Henry Fowler (1922:23) was correct in his historic and uncompromising claim: Americanisms are foreign words and should be so treated.


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Definitions ATM n. (Banking orig. U.S.) automated (orig. automatic) teller machine. A, n. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 26 April 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1884. advertorial, n Chiefly U.S. An advertisement written in the form of an editorial, which purportedly provides objective information about a commercial or industrial subject. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 25 April 2011. First published in A Supplement to the OED I, 1972. amusement park in amusment, n 7. Frequent in Comb. in senses 5, 6, as amusement-lover ( amusement-loving), amusementmad, amusement-seeker ( amusement-seeking); also amusement arcade, amusement centre , amusement hall, amusement park. amusement, n. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1884. automatic teller n. (automatic teller machine) (orig. U.S.), a machine (usu. linked to a computer) that automatically provides cash or performs other functions of a bank cashier when a special card is inserted; cf. ATM n. at A n. Initialisms 2. automatic, adj. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 26 April 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1885. bakery, n. 2. A place for making bread; the whole establishment of a baker. Also, a shop where baked products are sold. U.S. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 27 April 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1885. bar-keep n. U.S. a bar-keeper (for refreshments). bar-keeper 56

n. one who keeps or manages a bar for refreshments, who keeps a toll-bar, or keeps guard at a barrier. bar, n.1 Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1885. barmaid, n. A female who sells food and drink at the bar of a tavern or hotel. Also attrib. and fig. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1885. barman, n. 3. A man who serves at the bar of a public-house, etc. Cf. bar n.1 28. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1885. bartender, n. b. A bar-attendant or barman. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. First published in A Supplement to the OED I, 1972. blue chip, n orig. U.S. A blue counter used in Poker, usu. of high value. Also transf., spec. Stock Exchange, a share considered to be a fairly reliable investment, though less secure than gilt-edged; hence any reliable enterprise, etc. Also attrib. or quasi-n. Cf. blue n. 4c. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 25 April 2011. First published in A Supplement to the OED I, 1972. cafeteria, n. orig. U.S. A coffee-house; a restaurant, esp. now a self-service restaurant. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. First published in A Supplement to the OED I, 1972. cake-house, n. 1. A house where cakes are sold. Obs. or dial. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 27 April 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1888.


canteen, n b. In extended use. Now usu. a refreshment-room at a factory, school, or the like. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1888. cash dispenser n. an automatic machine from which bank (building society, etc.) customers may withdraw cash, esp. from a current account; = automated teller machine n. at automated adj. Special uses. cash machine n. (in early use) any of various machines used for transactions involving cash; (now) spec. = cash dispenser n. at Compounds 2. cashpoint n. = cash dispenser n. above; freq. attrib. cash register n. orig. U.S. a till for recording and adding the amounts put into it. cash, n.1 Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 26 April 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1888. chain store n. orig. U.S. one of a series of stores belonging to one firm and dealing in the same class of goods. chain, n. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1889. classified, n orig. U.S. Also with capital initial. A small advertisement placed in a classified section of advertisements in a newspaper or magazine. Chiefly in pl. (usu. with the). Third edition, November 2010; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 25 April 2011. An entry for this word was first included in A Supplement to the OED I, 1972. coin-op adj. = coin-operated adj.; used as n., esp. of an automatic launderette or dry-cleaning establishment. coin, n. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1891.


confectionery shop 4. a. attrib., as confectionery shop, etc. confectionery, n. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 27 April 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1891. deli, n colloq. (orig. U.S.). Abbrev. of delicatessen n. b. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. First published in A Supplement to the OED I, 1972. delicatessen, n b. ellipt. A delicatessen shop. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 25 April 2011. First published in A Supplement to the OED I, 1972. drawer 2. spec. One who draws liquor for customers; a tapster at a tavern. Also in comb., as beerdrawer. drawer, n.1 Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1897. employ, n One who is employed. (In French use chiefly applied to clerks; in English use gen. to the persons employed for wages or salary by a house of business, or by government.) Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1891. employee, n orig. U.S. 1. a. A person employed for wages; = employ n., which it has now virtually superseded. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1891.


estate agent n. one who acts as steward or manager of a landed estate; one who conducts business in the sale of houses and land. estate, n. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 27 April 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1891. food court n. orig. U.S. an area in a shopping mall, airport terminal, etc., containing a variety of fastfood outlets and a shared seating area for their customers. food, n. Third edition, September 2008; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 25 April 2011. An entry for this word was first included in New English Dictionary, 1897. filling station n. orig. U.S. a depot for the supply of petrol, oil, etc. to motorists; a petrol station. filling, n. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1896. freebie colloq. (orig. U.S.). A. n. Something that is provided or given free or without charge, freq. as a means of publicizing or promoting something. freebie, n. and adj. Third edition, March 2008; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. An entry for this word was first included in A Supplement to the OED I, 1972. free gift (b) an object given away free of charge, typically to promote sales (cf. sense A. 17b). free, adj., n., and adv. Third edition, March 2008; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. An entry for this word was first included in New English Dictionary, 1898. garage sale n. U.S. a sale of unwanted used goods and possessions, usu. held in (the garage of) a private house; cf. yard sale n. at yard n.1 Compounds (c). garage, n. and adj. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. First published in A Supplement to the OED I, 1972.


gas station n. a filling-station. gas, n.2 Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. First published in A Supplement to the OED I, 1972 hole-in-the-wall n. colloq., chiefly Brit. an automatic teller machine installed in the (outside) wall of a bank or other building. hole, n. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 26 April 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1899. infomercial n. (also infommercial) [ < info- comb. form + -mercial (in commercial n.)] Broadcasting (orig. and chiefly U.S.) an advertisement (esp. one shown on television) which promotes a product, service, etc., in an informative and purportedly objective style; = informercial n. info-, comb. form Third edition, December 2003; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 25 April 2011 launderette, n. Also laundrette. An establishment providing automatic washing machines for the use of customers. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 27 April 2011. First published in A Supplement to the OED II, 1976. Laundromat, n orig. U.S. The proprietary name of a brand of automatic washing machines; also, by extension, a launderette. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. First published in A Supplement to the OED II, 1976. lifeguard b. orig. U.S. An expert swimmer employed to assist bathers who get into difficulty (as at a beach or swimming pool); = lifesaver n. 2. lifeguard, n. Third edition, September 2009; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. An entry for this word was first included in New English Dictionary, 1903.


lifesaver 2. orig. U.S. = lifeguard n. 2b. Cf. surf lifesaver n. at surf n. Compounds 2a. Now chiefly Austral. and N.Z. lifesaver, n. Third edition, September 2009; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. An entry for this word was first included in A Supplement to the OED II, 1976. mixologist, n. slang (orig. and chiefly U.S.). A person who is skilled in mixing drinks; a bartender. Cf. mixer n. 1b. Third edition, September 2002; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. An entry for this word was first included in A Supplement to the OED II, 1976. motel, n orig. U.S. A roadside hotel catering primarily for motorists, typically having rooms arranged in low blocks with parking directly outside. Third edition, December 2002; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 25 April 2011. An entry for this word was first included in A Supplement to the OED II, 1976. multiple 5. A retailer or other company with multiple outlets or branches; a chain store. Cf. sense B.6. multiple, n. and adj. Third edition, March 2003; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. An entry for this word was first included in New English Dictionary, 1908. pastry shop n. pastry, n. Third edition, June 2005; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 27 April 2011. An entry for this word was first included in New English Dictionary, 1904. patisserie, n. 2. A shop which sells pastries and cakes, usually made on the premises; esp. a French one. Third edition, June 2005; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 27 April 2011. An entry for this word was first included in New English Dictionary, 1904. petrol station n. = filling-station n. at filling n. Compounds 2. Third edition, December 2005; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. An entry for this word was first included in New English Dictionary, 1905. 62

potman 2. A man employed in a public house; a barman. Now usu. spec.: a person employed to collect and wash glasses, clean tables, etc., rather than serve behind the bar in a public house. Cf. pot-boy n. potman, n. Third edition, December 2006; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. An entry for this word was first included in New English Dictionary, 1907. realtor, n U.S. A member of the National Association of Realtors (formerly the National Association of Real Estate Boards). Hence: a real estate agent or broker. Also in extended use. A proprietary name. Third edition, December 2008; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. An entry for this word was first included in A Supplement to the OED III, 1982. repo man n. (also with capital initial) a man employed to repossess goods, etc.; = repossessor n. repo, n.2 Third edition, December 2009; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. An entry for this word was first included in OED: Additions series 1, 1993. repossessor, n 2. orig. and chiefly U.S. spec. A person hired by a credit company to repossess a car, house, or other item when the purchaser defaults on payments. Third edition, December 2009; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. An entry for this word was first included in OED: Additions series 1, 1993. retail park n. orig. U.S. an out-of-town shopping development, usually containing a number of large chain stores. retail, n.1, adj., and adv. Third edition, March 2010; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. An entry for this word was first included in New English Dictionary, 1908. sawbuck, n U.S. 1. a. = buck n.7 sawbuck, n. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011.


<>; accessed 27 April 2011. First published in A Supplement to the OED III, 1982. shop front n. (also attrib. and fig.). shop, n. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1914. speakeasy, n slang (orig. and chiefly U.S.). A shop or bar where alcoholic liquor is sold illegally. Also attrib. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 25 April 2011. First published in , 1986. storefront, n a. The side of a shop facing the street; (a building with) a shop window. storefront, n. (and adj.) Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. First published in , 1986. swamper, n 1. U.S. a. A workman who clears a road for lumberers in a swamp or forest. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 25 April 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1918. tapster 1. orig. A woman who tapped or drew ale or other liquor for sale in an inn; a hostess. Obs. 2. A man who draws the beer, etc. for the customers in a public house; the keeper of a tavern. tapster, n. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1910. terminal 5. a. A terminal station or premises on a railway, a terminus; a terminal point of a railway, a place or town at which it has a terminus (orig. and chiefly U.S.). Hence, in extended use, applied to the terminal point of an airline (= air terminal n. at air n.1 Compounds 2), a bus service (= bus terminal n. at bus n.2 Compounds 1a), or occas. some other transportation service. terminal, adj. and n. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011.


<>; accessed 20 May 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1911. terminus, n 6. a. The end of a line of railway; also, the station at the end; the place at which a tramline, bus route, etc. ends. (The common current sense.) Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1911. theme park n. chiefly U.S. an amusement park organized round a unifying idea or group of ideas. theme, n. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 27 April 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1912. think-tank 2. a. A research institute or other organization providing advice and ideas on national or commercial problems; an interdisciplinary group of specialist consultants. Third edition, September 2009; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 26 April 2011. An entry for this word was first included in , 1986. till, n 2. Now spec. A drawer, money-box, or similar receptacle under and behind the counter of a shop or bank, in which cash for daily transactions is temporarily kept. till, n.1 Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1912. worker, n c. One who is employed for a wage, esp. in manual or industrial work; now often in the language of social economics, a producer of wealth, as opposed to capitalist. Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1928. yard sale n. U.S. a sale of miscellaneous second-hand items held in the garden of a private house. yard, n.1 Second edition, 1989; online version March 2011. <>; accessed 20 May 2011. Earlier version first published in New English Dictionary, 1921.