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BRITISH ENGLISH VS AMERICAN ENGLISH

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Mario Cassinello

on 18 May 2015

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Transcript of BRITISH ENGLISH VS AMERICAN ENGLISH

BRITISH ENGLISH VS AMERICAN ENGLISH
GRAMMAR
WORD DERIVATION AND COMPOUNDS
Directional suffix
-ward(s)
:
- British forwards, towards, rightwards, etc.
- American forward, toward, rightward.

AmE: suffix
-s
to day, night, evening, evening, weekend, Monday. To form adverbs denoting repeated actions. "I used to stay out evenings."

BrE: Agentive
-er
suffix commonly attached to some sports: footballer, cricketer, etc.
AmE: “name of sport + player:” Football player, basketball player.

Both of them use
-er
suffix to the sport’s name if this can be used as a verb: Golfer, bowler.

WRITING
VOCABULARY
Most of differences in vocabulary in connection with concepts originating from the 19th century to the mid 20th century. New words coined independently: Rail terminology.
BrE: rail way
AmE: rail road

Different slang and TV or movies have spread new words in both countries.
HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
The early settlers in the US had no verbal contact with the folk they left behind in England.

Europeans settled in the US brought their languages.

Until the 1900s many books were imported from England. Hasta min2
NOUNS
Collective nouns either singular or plural in BrE, but always singular in AmE.

The American Army always win / wins the battles (BrE).
The American Army always wins the battles (AmE).
VERBS
Delexical verbs
BRITISH ENGLISH : Have
· Delexical: have a bath.
· Activities: Have a nap.
AMERICAN ENGLISH : Take
· Structures:
- Take a shower.
- Take a bath.
- Take vacation.
- Take a rest.

AUXILIARY VERBS AND MODAL VERBS
PRESENCE OR ABSENCE OF SYNTACTIC ELEMENTS
TWO ACTIVITIES WITH OR WITHOUT CONJUNCTION 'AND'
BrE: to go + and + verb infinitive.

AmE: to go + verb infinitive
I’ll go and take a shower
I’ll go take a shower

BrE: to come + and + verb infinitive

AmE: to come + verb infinitive

THE DEFINITE ARTICLE
Some institutional nouns require definite article in AmE, while in BrE don’t. Pragmatic use of article. Intrinsic use of those institutions: Church, hospital, prison, school, university.

She is at hospital (BrE)
He is at university
She is at the hospital (AmE)
He is at the university

The definite article is required when the role of student or patient doesn’t apply.
She is at the hospital visiting a friend of her (BrE and AmE)
He is at the university because he wanted to study archeology (BrE and AmE)

Dates require definite article in BrE.
The 21st of February (BrE)
February 21st (AmE)

PREPOSITIONS
SPELLING
-our / -or
Behaviour and behavior
Flavour and flavor
Double or single consonants
Counsellor and counselor
Waggon and wagon
Redundant -e.
Asphalte and asphalt
Axe and ax
-re to -er
Metre and meter
Theatre and theater
Compound consonants to single consonants
Cheque and check
Changes of vowels
Nought and naughty: -o into -a
Enclose and inclose -e into -i
Syren and siren: -y into -i/-ia/-a
Gipsy and gypsy: -i into -y
Changes of consonants
Defence and defense: -c into -s
Analyse and analyze: -s into -z
Sceptic and skeptic: -c into -k
Connexion and connection: -x into -ct
PUNCTUATION
Mr, Mrs, St and Dr -> Mr., Mrs., St. and Dr.

Last letter of the abbreviation can’t be last letter of the complete word.
SOCIAL INFLUENCE
Compounds: Form
verb + noun
differs from AmE and BrE.
AmE uses infinitive form: rowboat
BrE uses gerund: rowing boat

Inflectional suffixes dropped in AmE, thus favouring clipped forms: cookbook, barbershop, skim milk
But in BrE: cookery book, barber's shop, skimmed milk.

Singular attributives in one country may be plural in the other, and viceversa.
BrE: drugs problem, sport section of a newspaper
AmE: drug problem, sports section of a newspaper.
WORDS AND PHRASES THAT HAVE THEIR ORIGINS IN BrE
Biscuit
Driving license
Naff
WORDS AND PHRASES THAT HAVE THEIR ORIGINS IN AmE
Sidewalk
Gas
Elevator
Counterclockwise
WORDS AND PHRASES WITH DIFFERENT MEANINGS
Bill
Biscuit
To table

Words with completely different meanings are relatively few.
PRONUNCIATION
SAME SPELLING DIFFERENT PRONUNCIATION
In general, those differences are related to simplification from the American English. The words are spelled as they are in BrE, but pronounced differently.
There are correlations between how British people pronounce a sound and how Americans do.

/ju:/ BrE and /u:/ AmE
/ɑː/ BrE and /eɪ/ AmE
/(r)/ BrE and /r/ AmE
STRESS DIFFERENCES
There are some variations in AmE and BrE when stressing. Some linguists, such as Benson, Ilson, Bauer or Jakobsen, assure that there are some rules that change the pronunciation in certain words.
Benson and Ilson (1986) note three differences:
- Disyllabic verbs ending in –ate.
o Initial stress in AmE
castrate [ˈkæstreɪt]
o Final stress in BrE
castrate [kæˈstreɪt]
- The adverbial suffix –ly.
o Stress shift on the adjective in AmE
ordinary [ˈɔːdənrɪ] -> ordinarily [ɔːˈdənrɪlɪ]
o No shift in BrE
ordinary [ˈɔːdənrɪ] -> ordinarily [ˈɔːdənrɪlɪ]
- Loan words from French.
o Final stress in AmE
baton [bæ’tɒn]
o Initial stress in BrE
baton [ˈbætɒn]
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