Ah, the English language. One of my favourite topics!
Just on one point, aluminum and aluminium, it was, I believe, Humphrey Davy who coined the term, and he used aluminum. The word passed straight into usage in the US, but in Britain it was felt that it wasn't consistent with other elements, i.e. sodium, potassium, lithium etc and so the extra "i" was added. You could make a very strong case for saying that it is the Americans, not the British, who have it right.
As for general spelling, it should be remembered that changes to colour/color and the like were meant to be only the first stage of a supposed cleaning up of the phonetics and spelling of the English language. Nor were the Americans the first to do this as there are examples of the same throughout English language history. English was an underground language for a couple of centuries, and developed unchecked. This is actually somewhat ironic, as the magnificent, beautiful English manuscripts from the 8th century are in fact the oldest documents in existence of a modern European language, and Beowulf is the first literary epic in an identifiable modern tongue, though of course, if you try to read it you will struggle! English was the first of them, who'd have though it, eh?
Once again, however, the changes were doomed to failure, with only a few words sticking in the lexicon. Essentially, whenever anyone has tried this (and it was the with the very best of intentions in the US) it has ended up creating greater confusion, as we now have multiple spellings of the same words, the last thing that was intended.
The parochial attitude that one nation's English is somehow better than another is utter nonsense. The whole Webster inspired usage and pronunciation of East coast US English was down to those early Americans who felt that they were the bastions of "proper" English usage. It was their view that the great and mighty English tongue was being debased and abused in its homeland, and it was up them to save it and provide a new standard (food for thought for those who feel American English is somehow inferior). They were utterly appalled as the people moved west and a whole new word-hoard arrived into English.
But slang is constant wherever. The common view is that American English is becoming dominant (this is where the disdain many snobbish people show is evident), but it isn't as simple as that. English grows and swaps words throughout the English speaking world (and outside it too). The British provide vast numbers of new words that Americans use, and vice versa.
Quite frequently people are totally unaware of it. "Internet" is an American term, "World wide web" is a British one. "Gotten" is not an American term at all, merely an English one that died out of use here (you could say it was forgotten), but was retained in the US. "Ass" might be American, and "arse" British, but you hear both Brits using "ass" and Americans using "arse"; in both cases the people are aware that they are deliberately using a word from the other side of the Atlantic. This happens everyday with other words when they are not aware of it.
The whole beauty of the language is that it freely borrows from everyone and everywhere. The level of Australian input into English use around the world is absolutely huge and is constant. Over the last decade "uni" for "university" has caught on in Britain, and has a toe hold in the US as well.
This has always happened. The differences where they are are fascinating. "Titbit" in England became "tidbit" in the US because of prudish American tendencies. Likewise the American re-naming of the tit family of birds.
Americans do not shorten words for the sake of it where other people don't. Abbreviations occur everywhere. The reason Americans use "don't" rather than "doesn't" a lot of the time actually stems from the black slaves, who, forced to converse in a common language alien to them, chopped out a lot of nuances that were unnecessary to their everyday existence. Their usage and terminology caught on. One of the best example you can see of this occurs in the everyday speech of the US deep south. It was one of the most beautiful of ironies that the likes of the Ku Klux Klan were talking in a way hugely influenced by the slaves. I must emphasise here that this is not "bad" English, merely a progression of usage. Anyone who studies Gullah can see that it is an extraordinarily rich language in its own right.
Now, as for what is good and what is bad, you have to ask yourself why. Who says so? English developed through its usage, not through any clearly defined set of rules. By the Victorian period, various academics tried to formulate rules for English. The trouble is, there really aren't any. So they grafted Latin rules onto English, a Germanic language. This is why you have the nonsense about not splitting infinitives. You can't split an infinitive in Latin because it is only one word. You can in English because it is two. Celebrate that flexibility.
Now, there are some who say English is partly Latin based. That isn't true. English has a great many words borrowed from Latin, some from Norman French, some directly imported (I must add here that there is no evidence that any Latin whatsoever came directly into early English - it all came a thousand years later) from the 18th century onwards. Latin words are not used in everyday English, we use them to increase our vocabulary, not change our structure - the key to a language is structure, and English is pure Anglo-Saxon. Essentially, for day to day things, we can use old English only. Some of you will find that hard to believe I know, but here's a wonderful example:
Everyone knows Churchill's "We will fight them on the beaches" speech. Churchill was a renowned expert on the progeny of English, so is it a co-incidence that his entire text consisted solely of old English, with the exception of the final word? "Surrender" is the one non-Anglo-Saxon word. It is French. OK
(now there's a wonderful American contribution by the way), I'm teasing, but the point is well-made. Churchill chose everyday English speech to deliver his message. Norman French and Latin add the bells and whistles. Old English is the core.
So what do I hate? Not much really. I do tend to know about how English has developed, and what irritates a lot of other people gives me a lot of pleasure because I know where it came from. I suppose the one thing that cause is me mild irritation is when people use "less" when they mean "fewer". That's about all though.
She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.