Differences between British and American English - Essay Example

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There exist varieties of the English language from different places in the world. However, British and American English are the two most common in print and media.Historically, British settlers moved into American and continued to use English; they encountered Native Americans…
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Differences between British and American English
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Download file to see previous pages There exist varieties of the English language from different places in the world. However, British and American English are the two most common in print and media.Historically, British settlers moved into American and continued to use English; they encountered Native Americans.In addition, people from other nationalities also settled in America. English development in America can be said to have been influenced by a combination of various cultures and the geographical separation with Britain. American English is spoken in the US while British English is spoken in Britain. This paper looks into the differences that exist between the languages in terms of vocabulary, spelling, pronunciation and accents. The colonization of USA by Britain meant that controversy would always arise on the use of English. On one hand, some Americans wanted to eradicate the presence of the British; thus, they did not want British English. On the other hand, supporters of the British Empire wanted retention of British English. Politics and language became inseparable from this moment. Politically, the end of World War II ushered in an era where America became a superpower. Besides, America’s political, economic and technological influence grew while the British one waned. Accompanied with global dominance and a bigger population, US linguistic influence also rose considerably. British English did not lose its influence at all, but it was rather used in Britain, and other countries colonized by the British retained spellings using British English. Vocabulary British and American English have inherent differences in their vocabulary; the differences arise due to enrichment of words from different sources and subsequent adoption by generations. America is a melting point with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds. The evolvement of the English language over time occurred with both the British and Americans coining their own words and meanings separately. Unique words appear in each of the two varieties of English; sometimes the same words appear in both but the meanings are different. Some words appear only in American English like French fries and apartment while others appear in British English to denote the same thing like chips and flats. British English takes more time than American English in accepting new words (Style guide 151). Spelling Differences There are differences in spelling between the two varieties; American English omits some letters since pronunciation is written as the word appears. This could include color, honor, rather than colour or honour used in British English. Americans write a check while the British use the word cheque. Equally, the Americans use shorter forms ending in -m/-mme, for example, the British use the longer version programme. -Ae/-oe is common in British English especially in medical conditions e.g. gynaecologists and anaesthesia. For American English, the composite vowel is dropped and substituted with one –e; gynecology takes a new form and also anesthsia. Another difference occurs when we use –ce/se, in British English verbs related to nouns end with se; device is a noun but devise is a verb, the pronunciation changes in such instances. American English can use the suffix –se for nouns, and the pronunciation does not change. There are other differences in the suffixes between the two varieties; there is exclusion of –e/-ue in American English, and British English maintains this could include words such as dialog vs. dialogue. The omission of letters also appears in American English when creating adjectives with –eable /able; unshakable appears in American variety, but unshakeable occurs in British English. At times, there are exceptional cases in which the –e is maintained when it influences the sound of previous consonant, this could include a word like manageable. In British English when suffixes start with a vowel before letter l, then the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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