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American English

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Elissa Polomski

on 16 June 2014

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Transcript of American English

American English
Roos Meijer & Elissa Polomski

History of American English
British English vs.
American English

- General American English
- Texan English
- Californian English
- Chicano Enghlish
- Pacific Northwest Enghlish

General American English
Major accent
Dialect spoken on American Television
Developed from Mid-Western dialect

- Rhotic sound - 'hard' instead of 'hahd'
- T's pronounced as d's or dropped
- twenny (twenty)
- madder (matter)
- bedder (better)
- shortened phrases - gonna (going to)
- 'e' pronounced as 'i' - happin (happen)

Texan English
sub-dialect of Southern American English
Spanish and German linguistic influences

Phonetic distinctions in Texan English
- absence of wine-whine merger
- /hw/ in whale differs from the /w/ in weather
- intrustive /r/
- Washington War-shington
- the pin-pen merger: 'e' in pen pronounced as 'i' in pin
- ten / tin
- sent / sinned

Southwestern United States
Texan English
Y'all - second person plural pronoun
fixin to rain (about to)
I was fixin to come (preparing to)
modal auxilaries:
- standard English: one modal verb: - might, could: I could do that
Texan English: Double Modals
'I might could do that'
Spanish influences in Texas
Spanish visited Texas in the 16th and 17th century
Spanish was the first spoken language in Texas

Esplanade - strip between two divided highway lanes
Jalapeno - Mexican hot pepper
Tejano - Texan originated from Mexico
Pinto - spotted Western pony
Californian English
Diverse population - continuing development of the dialect
Dialects brought to California from pioneers from the Northeast, South and Mid-West
cot and caught are pronounced the same
boat - bewt
loan - lewn
Surfer dialect
- but - bet
- cut - ket
Valspeak Valley
- like
- whatever
- duh

History of American English
American English - many influences from different languages and cultures
1600 - English settlers arrived
17th century: French & German settlers arrived
British outnumbered Geman and French settlers
English: only candidate for national language
Varieties disappeared - emergence of American English

European settlers came into contact with the native Americans: native American (place) names
18th century: people from Ireland and Northern Europe joined the English settlers
They contributed to American English with words from their own language
- pumpkin & bureau (French), pretzel (German)
pronunciation of the 'r' after vowels
Double verb forms: might could
African slaves brought to southern states
Developed their own variety of language: the African American English
Creole: grammar and vocabulary made from English & African languages
Gullah: South Carolina & Georgia
- gumbo, okra, voodoo
19th century: wave of immigration from Europe
Settlement of the West and Southwest by North Europeans
Contact with Spanish-speaking settlers
Spanish linguistic influence in American English
- sombrero, tortilla
American slang vs. British slang
English - most widely spoken language in the USA - de facto language
NOT the official language
USA's dominance of technology television, internet, popular music
American English: affecting other languages, developing and adopting words from other languages
American English today
Chicano English
Dialect spoken by people from Mexican origin
Spoken in California and the Southwest
Influenced by the Spanish
- grammatical influences
- pronunciation: pasta, talking
- vocabulary: hasta la vista, andale
- apenas - barely
influenced by African American English
- negations
Pacific Northwest English
distinction between pronunciation of certain vowels is fading away
- cot and caught
vowels pronounced differently by younger speakers
- bag - bayg
t's are pronounced as d's
- Seattle - Seaddle
emergence of new vocabulary associated with the local way of life
- granola
geow to coast - off to the beach / shore
spendy - expensive

British English American English
-our (flavour) -or (flavour)
-re (theatre) -er (theater)
-ogue (dialogue) -og (dialog)
-ence (defence) -ense (defense)
-ise (compromise) -ize (compromise)
-double consonant (travelling) -sometimes singular consonant (traveling)

British English vs. American English
less past perfect -> past simple
She is ill. She ate / has eaten too much
different prepositions: She studied in university / She studied at university
British: at the weekends, American: on the weekends
on a team vs. in a team
American English: more different prepositions to express something
Synonyms and antonyms
: vocabulary in the context of roads and trains
- lorry and truck
- gearbox and transmission
- bonnet and hood
Differences in terminology
- track and platform
- conductor and guard
- railroad station and railway station

- British: type of cake
- American: cookie
American first floor -
British ground floor
British first floor - American second floor


- 'hard' R in American English
- 'soft' R in British English
'a' vowel
- British English: cat, what (wot), bath (ah)
- American English: cat - cet, what, ah - ae
'O' is pronounced like 'ah' instead of 'ow' - dog
disappearance of distinctions:
- Mary and merry
- sense - sinse

Full transcript