In a recent discussion with Ekenne Arinze on the eminent destruction of the English language at the hands of Americans, I came to the conclusion that there shouldn’t be such a language as American English. After all the American vocabulary is nothing but a corruption of the British one and for the rest of the world that makes the language a Pidgin, a Creole or a Dialect. Why does America get to define it’s own brand of English? It was while thinking this that I started this article.
You see, where I come from we write honor as honour and color as colour and meter as metre. And we do subtle things like enunciate and ignore silent r’s. 2 fishes are 2 fish, and more than one status are status (pronounced stay-toos) not statuses. That last one has me confused half the time so don’t fret if you didn’t know. In fact it is nuances like these, that make English what it is, or French or Yoruba or Japanese.
When those nuances are ignored, spellings changed or pronunciations altered, then you have ceased to speak the language. At that point, you are speaking slang, pidgin, or some derived dialect. However as far as I know, English doesn’t have dialects, it has Pidgins. For every country colonised by the British has it’s own special English dialect.
Ok so America wasn’t colonised, it was “discovered.” Ostensibly because no one knew it was there, but in reality because the British visitors wiped out the majority of the indigenous population. Does that give them the right to have their own brand of English? I think not. A good portion of Nigerians were traded during colonisation, and a large number died in the process. Where is our Nigerian English?
But I digress. I am neither an authority on languages nor do I feel passionately enough to do the research. Still, after 5 years of being forced to write color instead of colour and honor instead honour in order to pass my English classes at Drexel, I think something needs to be said. American English is broken English and therefore it is a pidgin. Color is spelt Colour, you guys just spell it wrong. Accept and embrace this fact instead of claiming that my English is wrong. You’re the ones who cannot spell.