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Transcript


Early 1600’s:
The first wave of English-speaking settlers arrive in North America as
part of the British colonization movement. They bring English, now
an “emigrant language,” to native North Americans; in addition, the
settlers and their families continue to speak their own native tongue.
The process of an emigrant language’s evolution:
1) The language evolves from a specific homeland language.
2) The emigrant language begins to change course because of
lack of direct contact with the homeland.
3) The emigrant language continues to evolve away from
the homeland, gradually creating a new dialect.
4) The homeland dialect continues to evolve as well, diverging
further away from the emigrant dialect of the language.



Between the end of the 17th century and the 21st century, many
gradual changes to the form of the English language have
taken place under this process.
The process caused the Americans and the British to diverge so
drastically in terms of the forms of their languages that they are
now considered two separate English language dialects.
1806 – Noah Webster publishes his first dictionary, A
Compendious Dictionary of the English Language.
Up until this time, English dictionaries included strictly British
vocabulary, spellings, and pronunciations.
Webster was convinced that an outline of a common,
American, national language would unify his country.




1828 –publishes American Dictionary of the English Language
1890 – Merriam brothers {who received the rights to Webster’s
dictionaries after his death} publish Webster’s First International
Dictionary, an all-encompassing look at the English language
Noah Webster’s intentions?
To prove that Americans spoke a different
dialect than the British {but a dialect that was in no
way inferior – he believed it deserved a unique
documentation of its own trends}
Merriam’s intentions?
"The purpose of the dictionary is to provide a record of
the language as it is used by educated people who
have been speaking and writing it all their lives.“
-- H. Bosley Woolf {Merriam's editorial director}




West-Germanic
A “borrowing language” – enriched by
Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian, and
Norman influences
Evolved over many centuries;
experienced many shifts/changes
Spread of British English is attributed to
trade and commerce throughout the
established British Empire

There are quite a few noticeable differences between the British
English dialect and the evolved dialect of American English.
These are the ones we will cover:
Spelling
Pronunciation {accent}
Pronunciation {affixes}
Pronunciation {stress}
Grammar
Vocabulary
AMERICAN – “-or”
BRITISH – “-our”
Color
Colour
Honor
Honour
Favorite
favourite
AMERICAN – “-ze”
BRITISH – “-se”
Analyze
Analyse
Criticize
Criticise
Memorize
Memorise
AMERICAN – “-ll”
BRITISH – “-l”
Enrollment
Enrolment
Fulfill
Fulfil
Skillful
skilful
AMERICAN – “-er”
BRITISH – “-re”
Center
Centre
Meter
Metre
Theater
theatre
AMERICAN – “-og”
BRITISH – “-ogue”
Analog
Analogue
Catalog
Catalogue
Dialog
Dialogue
AMERICAN – “-ck” or “-k”
BRITISH – “-que”
Bank
Banque
Check
Cheque
AMERICAN – “-e”
BRITISH – “-ae” or “-oe”
Encyclopedia
Encyclopaedia
Maneuver
Manoeuvre
Medieval
Mediaeval
AMERICAN – “-dg” “-g” “-gu” BRITISH – “-dge” “-ge” “-gue”
Aging
Ageing
Argument
Arguement
Judgment
Judgement
AMERICAN – “-ense”
BRITISH – “-ence”
License
Licence
Defense
Defence
Other word-specific differences -AMERICAN
BRITISH
Jewelry
Jewellry
Draft
Draught
Pajamas
Pyjamas
Plow
Plough
Program
Programme
Tire
Tyre
Base words that end in L normally double the L in
British English when a suffix is added.
BASE WORD
AMERICAN
BRITISH
Counsel
Counseling
Counselling
Equal
Equaled
Equalled
Model
Modeling
Modelling
Quarrel
Quarreling
Quarrelling
Signal
Signaled
Signalled
Travel
Traveling
Travelling
The letter can
double in American
as well – but ONLY IF
the stress is on the
second syllable
of the base word.
BASE
WORD
AMERICAN BRITISH
Excel
Excelling
Excelling
Propel
Propelling
Propelling
The British accent was created by a mixture
of the Midland and Southern dialects of the
Middle Ages.
 There are many sub-dialects and varying
accents under British English.
 American English was not so strongly
influenced by the accent as Australia or
New Zealand, for example – the Americas
broke away from British control much earlier
and were distanced from direct speakers of
the language as a result.


British English = non-rhotic;
American English = rhotic
This means that “R” is only pronounced in
British English when it is immediately
followed by a vowel sound.
“R” in British English is either not
pronounced or replaced with a schwa


American English has fewer vowel distinctions before intervocalic
“R” sounds. This means that, in American English –
merry, marry, and Mary often sound the same
mirror rhymes with nearer
furry rhymes with hurry
British English has three open back vowels while American English
has only two {or even one}:
Most American English
speakers use the same
vowel for “short O” as for
“broad A” – father and
bother often rhyme.
Other vowel pronunciation differences:
British English = “broad A”
American English = “short A”
{in most words when A is followed by N followed by another consonant,
or “S, “F,” or “TH” – like plant, pass, laugh}

British English has a distinct length difference between “short” and “long”
vowels – the long vowels begin diphthongs

American English often loses the distinction between unstressed /ɪ/ and /ə/
{as in roses and Rosa’s}; in British English, it is maintained because of the nonrhotic nature of the language {in order to make words like batted and
battered sound distinctly different}.

American English experiences a yod-dropping after all alveolar consonants
{i.e. /ju:/}; British English speakers always retain /j/ after /n/ {i.e. new in British
English is /njuː/ but in American English it is /nuː/}, retain or coalesce it after /t/
and /d/ {i.e. due in British English is /dju:/ but in American English it is /du:/}.


There are also many individual
pronunciation differences that depend
on the particular vocabulary word and
the speaker who is pronouncing it.

-ary, -ery, -ory, -bury, -berry, -mony
When the syllable before these affixes is stressed, American and British English
pronounce these endings in a similar way:
/əri(ː)/
When it is unstressed, American English uses a full vowel rather than a schwa
while British English retains the reduced vowel or elides it completely.
{i.e. “military” – American: /'mɪlɪtɛriː/ and British: /'mɪlɪtəriː/ or /'mɪlɪtriː/}
Exceptions, in which the full vowel is used in American English even though the
preceding syllable is stressed: library, primary, rosemary
-berry – American English usually always uses a full vowel; British English uses a full
vowel after an unstressed syllable and a reduced one after a stressed syllable
/bɛriː/
/bəriː/ or /briː/
example: strawberry
British: /'strɔːbəriː/ American: /'strɔbɛri/
Adverbs: -arily, -erily or -orily
British English speakers follow the American practice of shifting the stress to
the antepenultimate syllable {i.e. militarily is /ˌmɪlɪ'tɛrɪliː/ not /'mɪlɪtrɪliː/}

-ile
When words end in an unstressed “-ile,” British English speakers pronounce
them with a full vowel: /aɪl/ while American speakers pronounce them with
either a reduced vowel /ɪl/ or a syllabic /l/ {i.e. in British English, “fertile”
rhymes with “fur tile” – in American English, it would rhyme with “turtle”}
examples of words this applies to:
mobile, fragile, sterile, missile, versatile, etc.
examples of exceptions to this difference:
reptile, exile, turnstile, senile, etc.

-ine
When unstressed, this affix can be pronounced as /aɪn/ (like feline), /i(ː)n/
(like morphine), or /ɪn/ (like medicine). Generally speaking, British English
uses /aɪn/ most often while American English favors /in/ or /ɪn/ {i.e.
crystalline}

In the case of French loanwords,
American English has final-syllable stress
while British English has penultimate or
antepenultimate stress.
British English first-syllable stress:
adult, ballet, baton, pastel, vaccine
British English second-syllable stress:
escargot, fiancee

There are also other words borrowed from
French that feature stress differences.
American first-syllable; British last-syllable:
address, mustache, cigarette, magazine
American 1st-syllable; British 2nd-syllable:
liaison, Renaissance
American 2nd-syllable; British last-syllable:
New Orleans
Most two syllable verbs that end in –ate
have first syllable stress in American
English and second-syllable stress in British
English (i.e. castrate, locate)
 Derived adjectives with the ending
-atory differ in both dialects; for British
English, the stress shifts to –at whereas
American English will stress the same
syllable as the corresponding –ate verb
(i.e. regulatory, celebratory, laboratory)

VERBS
NOUNS
In British English, collective nouns
can take either singular or plural
verb forms, depending on
whether the emphasis is on the
body or the members within it.
i.e.“A committee was appointed.”
“ The committee were unable
to agree.”
morphology
 American -- "-ed"
British -- "-t"
i.e. learned/learnt, dreamed/dreamt
 British English rarely use “gotten;” instead, “got”
is much more common.
 Past participles often vary:
i.e. saw – American: sawed; British: sawn
tenses
 British English employs the present perfect to
talk about a recent event {i.e. “I’ve already
eaten,” “I’ve just arrived home.”}
auxiliaries
 British English often uses “shall” and “shan’t”
American English uses “will” and “won’t”
From the beginning, Americans borrowed words from Native American
languages for unfamiliar objects {i.e. opossum, squash, moccasin}
They took many “loanwords” from other colonizing nations {i.e. cookie,
kill, and stoop from Dutch; levee , prairie, and gopher from French;
barbecue, canyon, and rodeo from Spanish}
British words were obviously borrowed, but often evolved to mean new
things in an American landscape {i.e. creek, barrens, trail, bluff, etc.}
With the development of the new continent, new words were
necessarily brought in to describe new things: split-level {in real
estate}, carpetbagger {in politics}, commuter {in transportation},
and a variety of vocabulary to distinguish among professions.
Many words originated as American slang: hijacking, boost, jazz, etc.
American
& British
English
sometimes
have
different
words for
the same
things --
AMERICAN
BRITISH
Apartment
Flat
Argument
Row
Carriage/coach
Pram
Bathroom
Loo
Can
Tin
Cookie
Biscuit
Diaper
Nappy
Elevator
Lift
Eraser
Rubber
Flashlight
Torch
Fries
Chips
Gas
Petrol
Guy
Bloke/chap
AMERICAN
BRITISH
AMERICAN
BRITISH
Highway
Motorway
Truck
Lorry
Hood {of a car}
Bonnet
Trunk
Boot
Jelly
Jam
Vacation
Holiday
Kerosene
Paraffin
Windshield
Windscreen
Lawyer
Solicitor
License Plate
Number Plate
Line
Queue
Pacifier
Dummy
Mail
Post
Parking lot
Car park
Napkin
Serviette
Pharmacist
Chemist
Nothing
Nought
Sidewalk
Pavement
Period
Full stop
Soccer
Football
Potato chips
crisps
Trash can
Bin

American and British English speakers
often use the same words but intend
very different meaning with them:
WORD
AMERICAN
BRITISH
Biscuit
Dinner roll
Cookie
Brew
Beer
Tea
Bureau
Chest of drawers
Writing table/desk
Casket
Coffin
Jewelry Box
First Floor
Ground Floor
“Second” Floor
To hire
To employ
To rent
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_words_having_different_meani
ngs_in_British_and_American_English {for more examples!}
Intemann, Dr. F. “Teaching English Grammar and Lexis.”
http://www-public.tu-bs.de:8080/~intemann/BA/grammar-lexis/bararistau-schubert.pdf

Jones, Susan. “List of American vs. British Spelling.”
http://www2.gsu.edu/~wwwesl/egw/jones/spelling.htm

Wallechinsky, David & Irving Wallace. “Trivia on History of MerriamWebster’s Dictionary Part 1.”
http://www.trivia-library.com/b/history-of-merriam-webster-dictionarypart-1.htm

Wikipedia. “British English.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_English

Wikipedia. “American and British English Differences.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_and_British_English_differences
