Globalisation is not necessarily a good thing.
Everyone is starting to sound the same, and write the same, and we are beginning to lose our regional differences, our characters, our individuality, sometimes, even our souls.
I wouldn’t mind so much, but this generally means that we are all starting to sound, to my ear, rather like Americans.
Everyone uses ‘seemingly’ these days. I don’t; it’s an ugly word, and, besides, ‘apparently’ is not only more satisfying to say, but, to me, at least, it’s also more meaningful. I do not understand the use of ‘likely’ as a substitute for ‘probably’ either, not the way the Americans use it. “Likely, Johnny will do his usual poor job,” simply isn’t good British English. Substitute ‘probably’, or, if you must use ‘likely’, at least formulate a better sentence. “It’s likely that Johnny will do his usual poor job,” is infinitely preferable to and substantially more English than the American alternative.
When I was a child, I was acutely aware when I was reading something by a writer who was writing in American English, just as I was aware of American accents in film and television. My own children do not make these distinctions.
You might wonder why I am concerned about these sorts of details, especially when I am such a stickler for things that the purists might consider more important, like writers recognising when a single agreement is required rather than a plural, or the difference between the present and past participles (I could, and probably will, write an entire snark on the confusion caused by ‘sat’ and ‘sitting’, and ‘stood’ and ‘standing’ in particular). You might wonder why I hanker after distinct regional voices when people still don’t know that ‘different’ is always followed by ‘from’, or that ‘try’ must never be followed by ‘and’.
I do it because I have a great many concerns and they all exercise my mind. I want specificity when it comes to writing, and accuracy. I want writers to be good technicians. I want grammar to be beautiful, and I want writers to care about it, but those things are generally more-or-less invisible to the reader.
I do it because cultural differences should not only be visible to the reader, but they should also be celebrated. Americans ought to read British English and instantly recognise it as different from their own language and from the language of other native English writers from other English speaking countries. From Canada to Australia, and from South Africa to the Bahamas, writers in English have a vast range of cultural experiences and a breadth and depth of language to plunder in order to tell their stories. I wish they’d take full advantage of that, but I fear that mass communication, laziness and the pervasive homogeneity of a modern culture typified by Subway sandwiches, Coca Cola, Transformers Dark of the Moon and Call of Duty could put an end to all that.