Right from the beginning, as soon as pilgrims from England and other parts of Europe hit North American shores, the language began to evolve.
Many words were borrowed from Native Americans and immigrants from other European countries. New words created explained the early pioneers encounters with unfamiliar landscape, weather, animals, plants, and living conditions. Also, the change of diet with different foods available.
An Americanism was and still is any word or expression originated in the United States. That included variations of any foreign words, a pronunciation slant, and old words revised with different meanings.
People from across the pond referred to American dialect as an insult. It was considered barbaric for more than a century after the Revolutionary War. Besides their dress in not keeping up with the latest London fashions, an American could be recognized by words and phrases as simple as reckon, bureau (chest of drawers), lightning rod (for whiskey) or bamboozle.
Yet Americans considered their version of the English language as a badge of pride, another form of
Language changes around the uniqueness, individuality, and independence of each generation.
As pioneers migrated out west, the vernacular eroded even more into the slang and lingo that provided some of the charm and character of that era.
Westerners stood apart from Englanders and easterners with references to ranching or mining terms.
Writes Kathy Weiser of Legends of America, “Ironically, after centuries of forming our ‘own’ language, the English and American versions are once again beginning to blend as movies, songs, electronics, and global traveling bring the two ‘languages’ closer together once again.”
Does your family or citizens in your region speak certain words or phrases uniquely your/their own? From what source did they originate?
|Wind in the Wires
Janet Chester Bly has written and co-written 32 books with her late husband, award-winning western author Stephen Bly. She and her three sons completed Stephen’s last historical novel for him, Stuart Brannon’s Final Shot. Read about the story here: http://www.blybooks.com/category/finishing-dads-novel/.New release Wind in the Wires, Book 1, Trails of Reba Cahill, is her first solo adult novel. It’s a contemporary (set in 1991) western mystery. It’s a road adventure with a touch of romance. It’s Cowgirl Lit. Comment on this post to enter drawing for free paperback (U.S. only) or PDF file copy for anyone.
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