The Americanization of English is real: confirmed by Twitter and Google Books

The Americanization of English is real: confirmed by Twitter and Google Books

The results reveal that 23 of the 30 Anglophone countries analyzed use American English more than British , after scrutinizing 30 million tweets and the Google Books database.

The study authors are a team of researchers, including scientists from the Institute of Interdisciplinary Physics and Complex Systems (IFISC, UIB-CSIC) and a researcher from the Department of Spanish, Modern and Classical Philology of the University of the Balearic Islands. .


Linguistic variation was investigated at the lexical and orthographic level, using a selection of British and American alternatives and, as the authors point out in the study published in the journal Computation and Language :

The advantage of our approach is that we can address the standard written language (with Google Books) and the more colloquial forms of microblogging messages (with Twitter).

Regarding the level of Americanization, at the extremes of the list are the United States (as the country with the highest use of American English) and the United Kingdom and Ireland (as the country with the most tweets in British English).

Fall empire

In the case of temporal evolution, it can be seen how the works published by both British and North American publishers have undergone this process of Americanization. In the same way, the article shows how certain historical events represent turning points in the evolution of the use of languages .

This should not be construed as bad news, nor as necessarily good news. Languages ​​evolve, pollute each other, become extinct … precisely because they are alive. Comparing them with animal species that are becoming extinct, therefore, is inappropriate. On the other hand, there is a pragmatic side to the matter: the only way to keep a language alive is by concentrating a large number of monolingual speakers in one geographic area .

But the value of a language is also measured by the number of people with whom one can communicate using it. As Joseph Heath points out in his book Rebelling Sells :

In other words, speaking it creates a network economy for other users of that language (in the same way that buying a fax machine creates a beneficial network economy for all other owners). Certain languages, such as English, reach a "fever pitch" where they are spoken by so many people that it is worth paying to learn them. In this case, they become hyper tongues. Other languages ​​are lagging behind, and it will take an unusual phenomenon to keep them in use. Thus, while we may be saddened by the imminent demise of Kristang, Itik, or Lehalurup, we must recognize that conserving them would require a community of monolingual (or at least native) speakers. It is not enough to impose any of them as a second language, because they will always have to face hyper-language. However, giving up a fluent command of a hyper language in exchange for speaking one of these minority languages ​​can seriously reduce an individual’s chances. It may not be a problem as long as there are enough people willing to do it, but we can’t blame those who show no interest.