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American and British English Comparison

Cherryl Barteau ENG 353 Professor Suzanne Yow
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Cherryl Barteau

on 23 October 2012

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Transcript of American and British English Comparison

Cherryl Barteau
American and Language Comparison
ENG 353 - The Evolution of English
Professor Suzanne Yow
22 October 2012 References The Indo-European Language Family In 1786, Sir William Jones discovered the similarities between Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, Gothic, Celtic, and Persian. This began the “quest for reconstructing the prehistory of the Indo-European language family” (Forster & Toth, 06/M).

Sir William Jones theorized that despite being in different geographical areas, that there was a common ancestry between several languages. Although there are limited or no records of such ancestry, it has been "hypothesized on the basis of similar features existing in records of languages that were believed to be descendants" (Yule, 2011, p. 225) After the 19th century, Sir William Jones’ theory became known as Proto-Indo-European language, when additional languages were found to have a more closely related similarity than originally discovered. “In the early part of the 20th century, Antoine Meillet suggested that Greek (Hellenic), Armenian, and Indo-Iranian were more closely related to each other than to any one of the other languages, and linguistic similarities among Celtic, Italic, and Tocharian are now thought to indicate a closer prehistoric community, while Germanic was isolated very early: only later, in northern Europe, did Germanic, Baltic, and Slavic speakers come back into contact” (Justus & Jonathan, 2009). The Indo-European Language Family The Commonality Among This
Language Family The new established Indo-European Family theory suggests that “in the early part of the 20th century, Antoine Meillet suggested that Greek (Hellenic), Armenian, and Indo-Iranian were more closely related to each other than to any one of the other languages, and linguistic similarities among Celtic, Italic, and Tocharian are now thought to indicate a closer prehistoric community, while Germanic was isolated very early: only later, in northern Europe, did Germanic, Baltic, and Slavic speakers come back into contact” (Justus & Jonathan, 2009). This map shows the regions of the world where Indo-European languages of some sort are widely spoken (red circle). Limited in origin to those tongues appearing first in Europe, the Middle East, and India” (Wheeler, 2012). Indo-European Languages Non-Indo European Languages Examples of Non-Indo European Languages: Semitic to include Hebrew and Arabic, Altaic to include Turkey and Mongolian, Sino-Tibetan to include China and Mandarin). These are few examples of languages that do not have a European, Middle Eastern and Indian base. “Egyptian (together with Coptic), the Berber languages (e.g. Kabylie, Tamazight, Shilha or Tamashek = Tamahaq, the language of the Tuaregs), Chadic (e.g. Hausa), Cushitic (e.g. Somali, Danakil = Afar, Bedja = Beja = Bedawye, and also Oromo = Galla) and Omotic (e.g. Kaffa). All these languages form the Afro-Asiatic family (AA), previously called also Hamito-Semitic" (Jagodziński, 2009). The Spread of English “During the thirteenth century certain events of history combined to lift the English language from its humble estate as the vernacular of a conquered people and to impel it on its slow climb back to ascendancy as the national tongue” ("English and its," 2012)

Not until the 1950s where there was research the gave “some perspective about the international diffusion of English, the attitudes towards it and other languages of wider communication, its formal and functional characteristics, and its impact on major world languages” ((Bolton & Kachru, 2006, p. 241). C. English had an influence on political, social and religious events. “Political and cultural history of the English Language is not simply the history of the British Isles and of North America but a truly international history of quite divergent societies, which have caused the language to change and become enriched” (Baugh & Cable, 2002, p. 2). The Spread of English “English, perhaps because of its early blending, has continued to welcome into its vocabulary, sometimes with no change, words not only from other branches of Indo-European but also from many other language families from around the world” (Shipley, 1984). Characteristics of the English Language B.Italic (Latin): According to Baugh and Cable, Latin was the second greatest influence on English. They continued to say that “Latin was not the language of a conquered people. It was the language of a higher civilization, a civilization from which the Anglo-Saxons had much to learn. Contact with that civilization, at first commercial and military, later religious and intellectual, extended over many centuries and was constantly renewed” (Baugh & Cable, 2002, sec. 56). Although, Latin is considered a dead language, its survival is evident in the number of words that have been assimilated into the English language. In other words, some of the Latin words blended into other words to become new ones. For example, “the Latin noun planta comes into English as the noun plantand later is made into a verb by the addition of the infinitive ending-ian(plantian)and other inflectional elements, we may feel sure that the word has been assimilated….Assimilation is likewise indicated by the use of native formative suffixes such as -dôm,-hâd, -ung to make a concrete noun into an abstract (martyrdom, martyrhad, martyrung). The use of a foreign word in making compounds is evidence of the same thing. The word church enters into more than forty compounds and derivatives(church-bell, church-book, church-door,etc.)” , (Baugh & Cable, 2002, sec. 66). http://www.englishclub.com/images-esl/english-what-map.gif http://courses.nus.edu.sg/course/elltankw/history/OE.htm http://www.canterbury.ac.uk/SiteElements/images/Faculties/arts-and-humanities/english-and-language http://newspaper.li/static/89c0539ffeae7805ec91d120175f82aa.jpg http://www.utexas.edu/cola/centers/lrc/iedocctr/images/tree_500.gif http://www.verbix.com/images/maps/map_indoeuropean.gif http://www.wordinfo.info/words/images/Eng-hist-1-IE.gif http://www.danshort.com/ie/grafx/ieworld1.jpg 1. Celtic (Old Welsh)
2. Italic (Latin)
3. Romance (Old French, Norman French)
4. Germanic (Old Norse, Old Saxon, Frisian) Major Influences on the English Langauge Map of Ancient Britain, showing the Celtic tribes, and Roman roads http://ancientweb.org/images/explore/England_Map_Britannia.jpg Celtic (Old Welsh) : “Celtic influence was identified in traditional northern English dialects” (Laker, 2010). The evidence hints that when the Anglo-Saxon invaded England, that the Britons who previously spoke Celtic simply learned English to blend in with their current occupiers. While others were driven back north towards Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Therefore, leaving minimum evidence of the Celtic influence in southern England. With that being said, there are a “handful of Celtic words in modern English that date back to the period of the initial conquest: town > tun (fortified hill) iron, rix for king (cf. regal, Reich, rex, bishopric), curse, cross (the original Germanic gives us crutch)” (Vajda) Celtic Influence http://www.yourdictionary.com/images/articles/lg/515.Latin.jpg Latin Influence Romance (Old French, Norman French): In the year 1066, William the Conqueror and the Norman nation invaded England. He introduced Norman French to England, which “became the language of the court, government and the upper class for the next three centuries. English continued to be used by ordinary people, and Latin was the language of the church” (Ager, 2007). The influence of the French was so large that it encompasses about 10,000 words that is still used today. These words found its way into government, law, art, literature and food. Some examples of the French influence are beef (from French bouef), warden,and guardian. In addition, “the pronunciation of English changed to some extent under the influence of French, as did the spelling. For example, the Old English spellings cw, sc and c became qu, sh and ch, so we now write queen rather than cwen, ship rather than scip, and should rather than scolde.
English grammar did take on a few French structures, such as putting in adjectives after nouns in some expressions - attorney general, secretary general, surgeon general” (Ager, 2007). Romance Influence http://www.wordinfo.info/words/images/Eng-hist-18D-NormanInvasion.gif D. Germanic (Old Norse, Old Saxon, Frisian): The Germanic group influenced England around 1100AD, which is also known as Anglo-Saxon. "During the fifth and sixth centuries A.D., West Germanic tribes from Jutland and southern Denmark (Norseland) invaded the British Islesd. These tribes--which included the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes--spoke a Germanic language now termed Old English, a language which is similar to modern Frisian. Out of these tribes, four major dialects of Old English emerged, Northumbrian in the north of England, Merican in the Midlands, West Saxon in the south and west, and Kentish in the Southeast" ("The great melting," 2008). The Angles, which was the largest tribe among the three, established the names "English" and "England." The Angles created the name "England" from "their land of orgin, Engle also called Engleland," (Hurley, 1966) while the word "English" is derived from the name of their native langauge, Englisc, where the "sc" is pronounced as a "sh." Germanic Influence http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-o-Y1Xejw2AE/Tp96FWwmREI/AAAAAAAAAHc/5n1OasbstPY/s320/stpetersburg.jpg According the Baugh and Cable, English shared several commonalities with the Germanic language, such as, showing the shift of certain consonants. “It possesses a “weak” as well as a “strong” declension of the adjective and distinctive type of conjugation of the verb – the so-called weak or regular verbs such as fill, filled, filled, which form their past tense and past participle by adding –ed” (Baugh & Cable, 2002, sec. 37, p. 51).
There are a lot of words that have been carried over to our modern vocabulary; however, Old English "spelled more phonetically than it is today. For example, silent letters were not used, and most consonants represented a single sound" (Hurley, 1996). Here are a few examples of Old English words that are similar to their modern counterparts (although sometimes their meanings have changed):
Old English Modern English
wicu week
cyning king
scort short
g@rs grass
eorthe earth
deor deer (orig. wild beast)
cniht knight (org. youth)
(Hurley, 1966) Structural/pronunciation/spelling changes during the Old English period. References (cont) http://raczog.freeservers.com/middleenglish.htm
A.Decay of Inflectional Endings
1.m > n in inflectional endings (e.g., muðum > muðun, godum > godun)
2.The new (and old) -n ending dropped (e.g., muðu, godu)
3.inflectional -a, -u, -e, changed to the // sound, which was usually spelled -e (e.g., muðe, gode).
B.The Noun.
1.By the end of the Middle English period, the only remaining inflections for nouns were the plural and possessive markers
2.Plurals:
3.Possessives: generally -s or -es becomes the genitive ending except in cases when the /s/ is already phonologically present Structural/Pronunciation/Spelling changes of the English language during the Middle English period. http://home.vicnet.net.au/~umbidas/middle_english_of_chaucer.htm 3.According to Baugh and Cable, “when the Norman nobility was losing its continental connections and had been led to identify itself wholly with England, the country experienced a fresh invasion of foreigners, this time mostly from the south of France” (Baugh and Cable, 2002, p. 130). The influx of foreigners began with the marriage of King John to Isabel of Angoulême, who was from Poitou which is a historic region in west central France. King John elected Peter des Roches, a Poitevin clerk, as “bishop of Winchester and rose to be chancellor and later justiciar of England” (Baugh and Cable, 2002, p. 130). However, it was through their son, Henry III, who flooded England with foreigners, appointing foreigners from Poitou in positions of the court that had been held by English natives. This caused an bitterness among the English people of anything French to the point where “opposition to the foreigner became the principal ground for such national feeling as existed and drove the barons and middle class together in a common cause” (Baugh and Cable, 2002, p. 133). This division caused a shift in the use of the French and English language by the inhabitants of England. The upper class continued to speak French; however, it became more as a use for social and business situations. The use of French began to lose its momentum again as English became the most used language in England. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-04-28/isabella-of-angouleme-and-king-john/2695784 http://www.middle-ages.org.uk/timeline-of-king-henry-iii.htm 2.Between 1200-1500, the English language found its way back into the folds of both upper and lower class due to the King of England losing his stronghold over Normandy. Philip, King of France, called upon John, King of England to appear in court to answer the accusations made against King John. When King John failed to appear, King Philip invaded Normandy and claimed victory over the land which once was part of England. This began the separation of the French and English upper class as loyalties were questioned, resulting in nobility on each side giving up property outside of their homeland. Now that the France became less of an influence on the England, they reverted back to speaking English both in the upper and lower class. 1. Norman Conquest ushered the end of the Anglo-Saxon rule in England as well as the transition from Old English to Middle English. Under William the Conqueror’s rule as King of England, French became the dominant language of the court, administration, the upper class and church. Whereas, “the language of the masses remained English, and it a reasonable to assume that a French soldier settled on a manor with a few hundred English peasants would soon learn the language of the people among whom his lot was cast” (Bauble and Cable, 2002, p. 114-115). A.Major Influences on the English during the Middle English period. THESIS: The English language is a melting pot of many different languages. In this paper, I will review the history of the English language and the factors that influenced its development. In addition, I will provide examples of how the language changed to include its vocabulary and phonology. http://www.allposters.com/-sp/World-Map-Showing-British-Empire-Panoramic-Map-Posters_i4103096_.htm http://www.foudemonnaies.com/traduction.commonwealth.htm http://www.worldsharings.com/2011/08/latihan-bahasa-inggris-cpns.html A.The British Empire expansion
1.The British Empire introduced a lot of the new words taken from the countries that they had colonized, which included Australia, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Canada.
B.Historical context
1.The various English languages spoken around the globe is a diverse as the countries that the British Empire had conquered. According to Baugh and Cable, “peculiarities of pronunciation of pronunciation and vocabulary have grown up that mark off national and areal varieties from the dialect of the mother country and from one another” (Baugh and Cable, 2002, p. 319). The distinctions were influenced by the foreign tongue and environmental factors that were foreign to the mother country. English and the Empire
1.The world-wide expansion of the British impacted the English language by introducing new words to the every growing English vocabulary. The introduction to new words was due to two factors. The first one was due to words typically familiar to the British, but used in a different context from the native country. For example in Australia, “the term robin is used for various birds not known in Europe. The word jackass (shortened from the laughing jackass) means a bird whose cry is like a donkey’s bray” (Baugh and Cable, 2002, p. 320). The other factor is the adoption of words that were indigenous to the foreign country. For example, the English borrowed several words that are native to the aboriginal language, such as kangaroo or boomerang. The Impact to the English language References 2.Not only does the adoption of new words affect the English language, but also the various pronunciation or accents that differ from the English. Baugh and Cable describes how an “Australian’s pronunciation of hay may register on an American as high, or basin as bison, these systematic differences have been a source of misunderstandings between speakers of the General Australian and speakers of other national varieties” (Baugh and Cable, 2002, p. 320). http://www.dontaskthefish.com/2011/08/17/the-words-that-move-me/ 3.The other things to consider are the countries that had settled into the foreign country prior to the British expansion. For example, in South Africa, it had been settled prior to the British by the Portuguese and Dutch. So, they had left their mark as far as influencing the South African language, as much as the British did later on. Words like apartheid or commando are a “few words that occurred earlier in peculiarly South African contexts that passed into the general English vocabulary” (Baugh and Cable, 2002, p. 321) http://www.stanleytang.com/blog/interesting-differences-between-american-and-british-english/ http://www.neatorama.com/2011/03/16/study-american-pronunciations-of-english-words-not-thriving-in-the-british-isles/ http://www.pure-language.de/ http://msbermejo.blogspot.com/2011_05_01_archive.html Linguists would agree that although British English and American English can differ, there are more similarities because “each possesses its own range of local dialectal variants, educated usage is by and large sufficiently similar for easy intercommunication” (Kachru, 1992, p. 32).
A.Pronunciation: The most influential change, which occurred in the eighteenth century southern England, is from the use “flat a” like in man to a “broad a” like father. Words were the “vowel occurred before f, sk, sp, st, ss, the and n followed by certain consonants were affected by this change. (Baugh & Cable, 2002, 9. 373). While New England was affected by this change, “other parts of the country the old sound was preserved, and fast, path, etc., are pronounced with the vowel pan” (Baugh & Cable, 2002, p. 373).
B.Dialects: There are “three main dialects in American English—the New England dialect, the Southern dialect, and General American, meaning the dialect of all the rest of the country” (Baugh & Cable, 2002, p. 376). Whereas England has a lot more different dialects that aren’t distinguished by borders. “Dialects form a continuum and ad Trudgill describes, they can be differentiated on a “more-or-less” basis rather than an “either-or” one” (The Language Samples Project, 2001).
XII.American English vs. British English: A.According to Baugh and Cable, “when an American word expresses an idea in a way that appeals to the British as fitting or effective, the word is ultimately adopted in Britain” (Baugh & Cable, 2002, p. 397). For example, terms such as telephone, phonograph, and typewriter. The British have adopted several American political terms such as caucus, graft, and to stump. Other words that find their origin in the American vocabulary have found its way into British dictionaries, such as, lynch, blizzard, jazz and joyride. (Baugh & Cable, 2002, p. 397).
B.The British has had a tremendous influence on the American English, as well. Although the British abandoned the use of the “flat a”, in words such as fast and path; “standard American English is reminiscent of an older period of the language” ( Baugh and Cable, 2002, p. 360). The American pronunciation of either and neither similar to teeth and beneath. While the British English has evolved since the seventeenth and eighteenth century, American English has held onto a lot of the old words that have been abandoned by the British. XIII.Give and Take: American English and British English
A. The Purist Attitude is an ideology that considers “the various modifications of the English language in the United States were all “gross corruptions” (Baugh and Cable, 2002, p. 394); that language should remain in its pure and original form and free from alterations. There is no validity with the Purist Attitude ideology because it language is always evolving. Language is shaped and influenced by people of different languages and cultures. Language is shaped by the new generations. Scientists, writers, the medical professions and as well as countless other factors contribute to the hybrid of words.
XIV. Purist Attitude In conclusion, English has changed significantly from its origin. Outside factors that include foreign language has made the English language a melting pot of new words and expressions. I reviewed the influence of the Celtics, Italian, Romance and the Germanic cultures on the English language. I discussed the differences between Old English, Middle English and Modern English. I took the comparison further by discussing the difference of British English and American English, while documenting the impact that English has and continues to have with other countries around the world. Ager, S. (2007 ). Retrieved from http://www.cactuslanguagetraining.com/us/french/view/the-influence-of-french-on-the-english-language/

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