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English to American : The Transition of Two Languages Alan D. DeSantis.

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Presentation on theme: "English to American : The Transition of Two Languages Alan D. DeSantis."— Presentation transcript:

1 English to American : The Transition of Two Languages Alan D. DeSantis

2 Part One: First things first: English is not a more pure form of the Mother Tongue than American!!!

3 The English Contempt for American  For centuries, American has been frowned upon by the English We, and our language, were seen as unrefined and uncultured Perhaps like the US views “black English” or “Southern”  As earlier as 1735,  In 1979,  Even Price Charles claimed

4 The Truth About American  British and American started to become different when English speakers first set foot on America  Why American evolved on its own: 1) 2)  But, at the same time, speakers in England were also changing at the same rate

5 The Truth About American  Over time, the two varieties of English became increasingly different  The differences between American and British is not due to American changing from a British standard  Present-day British is no closer to that earlier form than present-day American is

6 Part Two: Early Changes that Separated American from England

7 What Early American Sounded Like:  In 1620 the first English Pilgrims arrive in Massachusetts.  Our English soon became “Americanized”  Seven significant changes took place in our pronunciation and vocabulary

8 Changes to English (in America)  Change 1  The old practice of making plurals by adding “n” was replaced with our now familiar “s” kneen became housen became flean became eyen became shoon became  Interestingly, we still have a few left:

9 Changes to English (in America)  Change 2  The “th” on the end of verbs was dropped makethe became leadeth became runneth became goeth became  Change 3  The middle “t” sound disappeared

10 Changes to English (in America)  Change 4  The middle “sh” sound appeared and replace the “s” sound  Change 5  Thee, They, and Thou were replaced with you

11 Changes to English (in America)  Change 6  The emergence of the new “j” sound Previously, the “i” and the “g” served as its predecessor

12 Changes to English (in America)  Change 7 (pronunciation) We actually kept some old Shakespearian habits that the English lost:  1)  2)

13 Part Three: How Different is America from its Mother England

14 America vs. England  As with all cultures, once a segment of a people are separated from the mass, the new group will inevitably evolved away from the host culture In 1776, 1/3 of the nation still consider itself English (loyalists)—and spoke like the English By 1876, no American thought of themselves as English (especially not after our Civil War) By 1976, England was seen as our little brother (less rich, smaller army, less people, etc.)

15 America vs. England  Although we have clearly broken from the Crown over 200 years ago, we still very much identify with English culture We love the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Princesses Diana, Shakespeare, James Bond, their accent, etc.

16 The Sharing of our Languages  Words that have died out in England but are still used in U.S.: gotten, fall (the season), bath and path (with a strong “a”), sick (all illness), injured, mad (angry) progress, consignment, deck of cards, slim, mean (bad), trash, hog, glee, jeopardy, smolder, antagonize, mayhem, talented, magnetic, skillet chore, maximize, minimize, ragamuffin, homespun, I guess, maybe, quit, leaf through a book, frame up  Many of these, however, have found their way back into “English” via America.

17 The Sharing of our Languages  Many words in England originated in America: commuter, snag, strip tease, cold spell, gimmick, baby sitter, lengthy, sag, soggy, teenager, telephone, type writer, radio, but in, side track, hang over, to make good, fudge, publicity joy ride, blizzard, stunt, law abiding, department store, notify, advocate, currency, to park, to rattle, hind sight, bee line, rain coat, scrawny, take a back seat, cloud burst grave yard, know how, to register, to shut down, to fill the bill, to hold down (to keep), to hold up (to rob), to stay put, stiff upper lip, smog, weekend, gadget, miniskirt, radar gay (homosexual), belittle, scientist, Presidential, normalcy, transpire, antagonize, shoe string, 64,000 $ question, looking like a million bucks, mega bucks, stepping on the gas, taking a rain check

18 The Sharing of our Languages  There still remains differences, however: checkers v. draughts elevator v. lift garbage v. rubbish lumber v. timber mail v. post pants v. trousers sidewalk v. pavement vacation v. holiday zero v. naught two weeks v. fortnight TV v. tele f_cking v. bloody (used as modifiers)

19 The Big, Nagging Question:  Do we think the “Queen’s English” is better?  Have we bought into their superiority?  It is, after all, the voice of all things educated and refined in the media


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