The BBC Magazine ran a piece by Matthew Engel last week entitled, "Why do some Americanisms irritate people?" The Beeb then asked its readers to single out the American expressions they most despise, and in a followup gathered the top 50 peeves. The reader query generated a huge response — 1,295 comments were posted before the BBC closed down the comment section — but the most entertaining and incisive reactions came from language bloggers.

On Language Log, Mark Liberman pointed out that few of Engel's supposed "Americanisms" were first used in the United States:

In the end, this article never really tries to answer the question posed by its headline, "Why do some Americanisms irritate people?" Calling certain words ugly, pointless, or vile expresses the irritation, but hardly explains it. And the premise that these words are an alien intrusion is false more often than not.

...[I]t doesn't matter whether the "Americanisms" that "irritate people" are actually from America at all. The BBC News editors promise their readers, at the bottom of Mr. Engel's article, that "A selection of your Americanisms will be published later". As long as Mr. Engel can rally his compatriots to share the experience of communal irritation at alien linguistic intrusions — real or imaginary — he will have done his job.

When the top reader peeves were published, The Economist's Johnson blog offered commentary from Robert Lane Greene (an American correspondent for the magazine whose book You Are What You Speak was recently excerpted here):

Is "physicality" a real word?  Yes, first noted in a book published in London in 1827. 

Transportation. What's wrong with transport?  Nothing. What's wrong with transportation? Brits prefer "to orientate oneself", Americans prefer "to orient oneself". Not worse, just different.

What kind of word is "gotten"? It makes me shudder.  It is the original past participle, from old Norse getenn, now obsolete in English English, but surviving in America. Participial "got" is the newcomer.

"I'm good" for "I'm well". That'll do for a start.  That'll do what?  Linking verbs including "am" take adjectives, not adverbs. "I'm healthy," not "I'm healthily." There's nothing wrong with "I'm well", since "well" is also an adjective, but nothing wrong with "I'm good" either.

"Oftentimes" just makes me shiver with annoyance. Fortunately I've not noticed it over here yet.  The OED cites six hundred years of British usage of "oftentimes", including the King James Version and Wordsworth. 

"Hike" a price. Does that mean people who do that are hikers? No, hikers are ramblers!  And words sometimes have multiple meanings!

Going forward? If I do I shall collide with my keyboard.  If you cannot understand metaphorical language, colliding with your keyboard is the least of your worries.  A visit to the neurologist may be in order. 

The most annoying Americanism is "a million and a half" when it is clearly one and a half million! A million and a half is 1,000,000.5 where one and a half million is 1,500,000.   By that logic, could "one and a half million" not be 1 + 500,000, or 500,001?

Back on Language Log, Geoffrey Pullum had this to say:

As a Scottish-born long-time American citizen working in Edinburgh among numerous fellow Americans, and a frequent visitor to London and other UK cities, I should have seen it somewhere by now; but I have never encountered hostility to America, Americans, or Americanisms in ordinary everyday interactions in Britain. I mistakenly ordered a bagel to go yesterday (I should have said "to take away"), and nobody snarled. The furiously anti-American minority that the BBC has tapped into seem to keep their hatred of us and our speech tightly suppressed, letting it out only in blog comments and letters to the editor (particularly the Daily Telegraph, which is famous for its letters expressing how "appalled" people are by purported grammar errors, neologisms, etc.).

And on Separated by a Common Language, the go-to blog for British/American language differences, Lynne Murphy (an American expat teaching linguistics in the UK) explained why she finds the BBC piece "offensive":

The piece is driving a huge number of people to the BBC News website... As I type this, it is the 'most shared' piece on the site and the seventh most read (on a very big news day). But it is the journalistic equivalent of (orig. & mostly BrE) piss-poor reality television: let's get people to say things that might be controversial, and then we'll edit it into something that will get people arguing about which words to throw off the island. Two American views are printed as sidebars to the article; both, like the material in the article itself, are from readers who sent in comments. If we can call this journalism, it is completely passive journalism. Perhaps next we can have viewers' thoughts about whether it's going to rain tomorrow, rather than paying all those expensive weather forecasters. (Not to say that viewers' thoughts---or their photos of tornadoes---are never welcome on news program(me)s. That's why we have vox pops and letters to the editor. But putting up a lightly-moderated forum of people's gripes about language does not constitute news or journalism. We get those for free on the web already. We don't need our public broadcaster for that.)

One could understand commercial television or newspapers doing such things--the more viewers they recruit, the more their advertisers pay them. But this is the BBC. This is what I pay a television licen{s/c}e fee for. I want its online publications to live up to the organi{s/z}ation's charter to 'inform, educate and entertain'. And when they say 'entertain', I'd like it not to be throwing Christians to the lions or dwarf bowling or just letting people air their prejudices and ignorance with no (orig. AmE) reality check

Murphy dissects the first 25 in the list of 50 peeves, and promises to take on the second half of the list in the near future.