BBC America, “Yo, Does ‘Downton Abbey’ Diss the Language of Yesteryear?”

February 12, 2012

Leah Rozen, “Yo, Does ‘Downton Abbey’ Diss the Language of Yesteryear?” (BBC America, Feb. 12, 2012)

While Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess may not be addressing other characters as “dude” on Downton Abbey, are she and the other characters on the hit British TV series still speaking out of turn? More specifically, are they speaking as if they lived more in the 21st century rather than shortly after the turn of the 19th?

Yes, English students, it’s time for… anachronism watch.

Linguist Ben Zimmer, executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus blog and a columnist on language for the Boston Globe, has posted a video highlighting words and phrases spoken by characters in Season Two of the Emmy-winning drama airing on PBS that seem more au courant than World War One-era.

Read the rest here. (Related Word Routes column, Boston Globe column)

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