But there's always a downside. Just like American food is largely unoriginal, so is our language. We stole the Queen's English, bastardized it so that the poor Brits can't even recognize it, and relegated the British version of English to an accent only used in England and in historical films, no matter what era or country the story is set in. And that's fine with me. Americans have arguably made English into a better language, endowing it with colorful phrases like okie dokie, cat's pajamas, and OMG.
With the humbling knowledge that I have other countries to thank for the language I bandy and butcher every day, I am always self-conscious as I stumble over foreign words even when I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I know perfectly well how to pronounce them. Yves Klein, Evelyn Waugh, and Bonjour Tristesse invariably come out accompanied by a self-conscious wince. As an American I feel like this is a must. Since we expanded upon another country's native tongue we have no business pronouncing foreign words like we know how to say them. It's just pompous. I know you're pronouncing Albrecht Durer and Vincent Van Gogh correctly, with expertly placed hacks, grunts, and trills, but it sounds ridiculous. We're in America, so say van-GO, and not van-Gogchph.