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Fairycakes become cupcakes


A study by Oxford University Press reveals British children are adopting more and more Americanisms in their written language. Fairycakes have become cupcakes, a dinner jacket is now a tuxedo, pavements are becoming sidewalks, trainers are becoming sneakers, and torches are becoming flashlights. Rubbish is garbage.

The database (of children’s writing) – which dictionary compilers refer to as a “corpus” – reveals the influence of popular children’s literature. The impact of Harry Potter and Twilight can be seen in the frequency of the word “vampire” and names of characters – “Bella” and “Harry” are common. But Roald Dahl remains a favourite two decades after his final children’s book was published.

Considering the massive amount of American popular culture found in the British media, these results are no surprise at all.

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