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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 ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: differences between: AMERICAN ENGLISH & BRITISH ENGLISH

  • Lauren Carney
  • Lindsay Munnelly

bringing english to america.
  • Early 1600s
  • 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
  • The process of an emigrant languages 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
  • 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.

over the next 400 years
  • 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
  • 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
  • Webster was convinced that an
    outline of a common,
  • American, national language
    would unify his country.

Websters Dictionaries.
  • 1828 publishes American Dictionary of the
    English Language
  • 1890 Merriam brothers who received the rights
    to Websters dictionaries after his death
    publish Websters First International Dictionary,
    an all-encompassing look at the English language
  • Noah Websters intentions?
  • To prove that Americans spoke a
  • dialect than the British but a
    dialect that was in no
  • way inferior he believed it deserved a
  • documentation of its own
  • Merriams 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

British English history.
  • West-Germanic
  • A borrowing language enriched by Anglo-Saxon,
    Scandinavian, and Norman influences
  • Evolved over many centuries experienced many
  • Spread of British English is attributed to trade
    and commerce throughout the established British

Visible Changes?
  • 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

Spelling, continued.

Spelling, continued.

Spelling, continued.
Other word-specific differences --
Spelling last one!.
Base words that end in L normally double the L in
British English when a suffix is added.
The letter can double in American as well but
ONLY IF the stress is on the second syllable of
the base word.
Pronunciation accent
  • The British accent was created by a mixture of
    the Midland and Southern dialects of the Middle
  • 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.

Pronunciation accent
  • 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

Pronunciation accent
  • 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.
Pronunciation accent
  • 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 /?/ and /?/ as in roses and
    Rosas in British English, it is maintained
    because of the non-rhotic 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 /nju?/ but in
    American English it is /nu?/, retain or coalesce
    it after /t/ and /d/ i.e. due in British English
    is /dju/ but in American English it is /du/.

Pronunciation accent
  • There are also many individual pronunciation
    differences that depend on the particular
    vocabulary word and the speaker who is
    pronouncing it.

Pronunciation affixes
  • -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 /?ri(?)/
  • When it is unstressed, American English uses a
    full vowel rather than a schwa while British
    English retains the reduced vowel or elides it
  • i.e. military American /'m?l?t?ri?/
    and British /'m?l?t?ri?/ or /'m?l?tri?/
  • 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
  • /b?ri?/
    /b?ri?/ or
  • example strawberry British
    /'str??b?ri?/ American /'str?b?ri/

Pronunciation affixes
  • Adverbs -arily, -erily or -orily
  • British English speakers follow the American
    practice of shifting the stress to the
    antepenultimate syllable i.e. militarily is
    /?m?l?'t?r?li?/ not /'m?l?tr?li?/
  • -ile
  • When words end in an unstressed -ile, British
    English speakers pronounce them with a full
    vowel /a?l/ while American speakers pronounce
    them with either a reduced vowel /?l/ 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,
  • examples of exceptions to this difference
  • reptile, exile, turnstile, senile, etc.
  • -ine
  • When unstressed, this affix can be pronounced as
    /a?n/ (like feline), /i(?)n/ (like morphine), or
    /?n/ (like medicine). Generally speaking,
    British English uses /a?n/ most often while
    American English favors /in/ or /?n/ i.e.

Pronunciation stress
  • 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

Pronunciation stress
  • 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

Pronunciation stress
  • 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)

  • morphology
  • American -- "-ed"
  • British -- "-t"
  • i.e. learned/learnt, dreamed/dreamt
  • British English rarely use gotten instead,
  • is much more common.
  • Past participles often vary
  • i.e. saw American sawed British
  • tenses
  • British English employs the present perfect to
    talk about a recent event i.e. Ive already
    eaten, Ive just arrived home.
  • auxiliaries
  • British English often uses shall and shant
  • American English uses will and wont
  • 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.

Creation of American Lexicon.
  • 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,
  • 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 --

More Vocabulary.
More Vocabulary.
  • American and British English speakers often use
    the same words but intend very different meaning
    with them

for more examples!
  • Intemann, Dr. F. Teaching English Grammar and
  • http//www-public.tu-bs.de8080/intemann/BA/gramm
  • Jones, Susan. List of American vs. British
  • http//www2.gsu.edu/wwwesl/egw/jones/spelling.htm
  • Wallechinsky, David Irving Wallace. Trivia on
    History of Merriam-Websters Dictionary Part 1.
  • http//www.trivia-library.com/b/history-of-merriam
  • Wikipedia. British English.
  • http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_English
  • Wikipedia. American and British English
  • http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_and_British_
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