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Differences between American English & British English Lily Chang 97501015 English Department.

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Presentation on theme: "Differences between American English & British English Lily Chang 97501015 English Department."— Presentation transcript:

1 Differences between American English & British English Lily Chang English Department

2 Outline A. Differences between A.E. and B.E. Spelling Vocabulary Grammar Pronunciation & accent Speech B. Backgrounds leading to the differences Geographic separation National identity Spelling reform C. Conclusion & future development

3 Differences between A.E. and B.E.

4 “The Americans are identical to the British in all respects except, of course,.” ~ Oscar Wilde language

5 Differences: spelling  Examples (A.E. / B.E.): color / colour traveling / travelling theater / theatre check / cheque tire / tyre  AE is more economically and phonetically spelled.  Exception (A.E. / B.E.): skillful / skilful

6 Differences: vocabulary -1  Examples: potato chips / crisps gasoline (gas) / petrol elevator / lift first floor / ground floor / panda car / nappy / coach / rubber police patrol car diaper intercity bus eraser

7 Differences: vocabulary -2  The differences can sometimes cause embarrassment and even misunderstanding! Examples: “pants” – “trousers” in A.E. BUT “underwear” in B.E. Date: A.E.  12/21/2012 B.E.  21/12/2012 Number: “billion” A.E.  a thousand million B.E.  a million million Expiration: 9/1/2013

8 Differences: vocabulary -3  Slangs & Dialogue One day, a blighter called Tom went to a noshery to have a nosh-up with his parents because the nosh there was fantastic. Because he liked to have banger very much, he argued to his parents. Tom Tom: “I’d like to try all kinds of banger in this noshery!” Parents Parents: “Don’t talk balls! It’s too expensive to do that!” Tom Tom: “Why not? It’s not cricket! My friend, Tony, has tried all of them! Not cricket, not cricket, not cricket!!!” Parents Parents: “(narked) Belt up! I’ve heard that, too. But do you know that contributed a lot to his weight, too?” annoying boy restaurant meal sausage food sausage restaurant nonsense fair annoyed Shut up

9 Differences: grammar  Use of subjunctive  AE: It is important that she be told.  BE: It is important that she is told.  Quotation marks  AE: “Do you want to have lunch together in the new cafe called ‘Light House’ with me?”  BE: ‘Do you want to have lunch together in the new café called “Light House” with me?’

10 Differences: pronunciation & accent -1  Stress:  stress on different syllables (A.E. / B.E.): garage / garage advertisement / advertisement  stress on different vowels (A.E. / B.E.): vase [ve ɪ s]/ vase [v ɑː z] leisure [ ˈ li ː. ʒɚ ] / leisure [ ˈ le ʒ. ə r]  Retroflex (A.E. / B.E.): clerk [kl ɑː k] / clerk [kl ɜː rk]

11 Differences: pronunciation & accent -1  Accent:” How British People Sound to Americans”

12 Differences: speech  A.E.: more general B.E.: care about nuances of meaning Reason: British people’s emphasis on social status  A.E.: more hyperbole B.E.: more understatement Example: A.E.  grab some food Reason: Americans are more influenced by exaggerations of the media.  A.E.: disobey grammatical rules more often B.E.: obey grammatical rules Example: AE: “author” a book

13 Backgrounds leading to the differences

14 Background: geographic separation  The populations in the US and UK are divided.  Americans and British people have interactions with different people. Noah Webster: “These causes will produce in the course of time a language in North America as different from the future language of England as the modern Dutch, Danish and Swedish are from German or from one another.”

15 Background: National identity  Noah Webster’s “American Dictionary of the English Language” Purpose: to have cultural independence from Britain Principle: Words should be spelled more like they sound. Reform of English spelling: 10 classes  "-our" to "-or" (colour  color)  "-re" to "-er" (centre  center)  dropping final "k" (publick  public)  changing "-ence" to "-ense" (defence  defense)  use single "l" in inflected forms (travelled  traveled)  use double "l" in some words (fulfil  fulfill)  "-or" to "-er" (visiter  visitor)  drop final "e" (axe  ax)  use single "f" at the end (plaintiff  plaintif) ~ failed  "-ise" to "-ize" (realise  realize)

16 Background: spelling reform  Background: start from the mid-1870s The American Philosophical Association adopted 11 new spellings. ar, catalog, definit, gard, giv, hav, infinit, liv, tho, thru, wisht  Advocators: Noah Webster Benjamin Franklin Andrew Carnegie President Theodore Roosevelt

17 Background: spelling reform  Opposition to the spelling reform Mark Twain: “For example, in Year 1 that useless letter c would be dropped to be replased either by k or s, and likewise x would no longer be part of the alphabet. The only kase in which c would be retained would be the ch formation, which will be dealt with later. Year 2 might reform w spelling, so that which and one would take the same konsonant, wile Year 3 might well abolish y replasing it with i and Iear 4 might fiks the g/j anomali wonse and for all. Jenerally, then, the improvement would kontinue iear bai iear with Iear 5 doing awai with useless double konsonants, and Iears 6-12 or so modifaiing vowlz and the rimeining voist and unvoist konsonants. Bai Iear 15 or sou, it wud fainali bi posibl tu meik ius ov thi ridandant letez c,y and x — bai now jast a memori in the maindz ov ould doderez — tu riplaisch, sh, and th rispektivli. Fainali, xen, aafte sam 20 iers ov orxogrefkl riform, wi wud hev a lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spiking werld.”

18 Conclusion

19  Difference: spelling, vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation & accent, speech Be careful of the differences when talking with English speakers.  Future development: Difference between A.E. and B.E. will decrease. Increasing transatlantic travel and trade Mass media: TV, Hollywood films American GIs during WWII Conclusion

20 References m m english-differences.aspx english-differences.aspx thru.aspx thru.aspx

21 Thank you for your attention!


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