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Did The Beatles change the English language?

The Beatles first flew into New York in February 1964. Part of their appeal was what to American ears was a charmingly fresh approach to the English language. 

Interestingly, this came across more in their spoken interviews than their song lyrics - the early ones followed the established 'American' style ('I want to hold your hand'). But success gave them the confidence to draw on cultural and linguistic references that were incomprehensible to American ears - 

the National Health Service (from ‘Dr Robert’) or the News of the World (‘Polythene Pam’), and British English vocabulary like ‘ring my friend’ (‘Dr Robert’ again: Americans would say call), ‘time for tea’ (‘Good Morning, Good Morning’: see sense 3 here), and dressing gown (‘She’s Leaving Home’ – it’s a bathrobe in American English). Not to mention those plasticine porters in ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ – the American equivalent Play-Doh doesn’t quite work here. (source)


The Beatles brought British English back onto centre-stage. They also joined British actors such as Michael Caine in breaking down class and regional prejudice against local accents. Whatever the preconceptions in Britain, the 'scouse' accent was simply another variant of charming British English in the US.


More importantly suddenly injected a cultural confidence into a generation. As Hanif Kureshi has pointed out 

By 1966 the Beatles behaved as if they spoke directly to the whole world. This was not a mistake: they were at the centre of life for millions of young people in the West.
The impact of this change was quickly apparent to advertisers and marketers across the world - suddenly everyone was striving to be cool, groovy and fab.....
See here for a linguistic analysis of Beatles lyrics by Harold Somers.

More on the Beatles and language 
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