Probably both, just as native English speakers may wince or grin at a new slang term that welcomes some while excluding others.

Nude in belfast-50

Such confrontations usually happen in private when the editor and writer lock in deadly embrace over a stray semicolon or whether it’s all right to write “alright.” But the Internet has brought these quarrels out into public scrutiny.

America and Britain, Oscar Wilde once observed, are two great nations divided by the same language.

English is the de facto language of the Internet, but just whose English? [Compare those usage figures with the ones most currently offered by Global Reach.] Watch an editors’ or content developers’ mail list light up about “ize” versus “ise,” “color” versus “colour,” and you see that people in different countries feel their identities are somehow at stake. Usually it is those on the economic or geographic margin whose language is most despised—not because it lacks eloquence, but because it does not speak in the accents of power.

Chaucer’s English, 600 years ago, became the ancestor of our English only because London was the political and economic hub of medieval England.

The British Diaspora sent Chaucer’s descendants all over the planet, in colonies that preserved or mutated the home dialects.

The Appalachians are home to expressions long forgotten at home—and most Americans still use “gotten,”which Brits find as archaic as “God wot.” But London itself is marginal now, and power speaks English with an Appalachian-descended Texas twang. But the metaphor of the margin—the silence, the blankness that gives context to the central words—is fading.

Britain has 22 million, Canada 11 million, Australia 9 million and New Zealand 1.5 million.

Most of the rest are people for whom English is an additional language. Whatever we may choose to say in it, we have a subtext: , “An Englishman has only to open his mouth to make some other Englishman despise him.” Hatred or respect may spring from the dialect of the aristocratic or the plebeian, from the urbane or the rustic.

In some ways it seems dated, as in capitalizing "web" words. Here it is: How the Web is Changing English by Crawford Kilian (2001) As a novelist, I know that you show the truth about your characters by putting them under stress that threatens their identity.