The fall of the empire: The Americanization of English

Bruno Gonçalves1, Lucía Loureiro-Porto2, José J. Ramasco3 and David Sánchez3

1Center for Data Science, New York University, New York, 10011 NY, USA.
2Departament de Filologia Espanyola, Moderna i Classica, Universitat de les Illes Balears (UIB), 07122 Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
3Instituto de Física Interdisciplinar y Sistemas Complejos IFISC (CSIC-UIB), 07122 Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

(July 2017)

As global political preeminence gradually shifted from the United Kingdom to the United States, so did the capacity to culturally influence the rest of the world. In this work, we analyze how the world-wide varieties of written English are evolving. We study both the spatial and temporal variations of vocabulary and spelling of English using a large corpus of geolocated tweets and the Google Books datasets corresponding to books published in the US and the UK. The advantage of our approach is that we can address both standard written language (Google Books) and the more colloquial forms of microblogging messages (Twitter). We find that American English is the dominant form of English outside the UK and that its influence is felt even within the UK borders. Finally, we analyze how this trend has evolved over time and the impact that some cultural events have had in shaping it.