Differences between British and American English Languages
|2.||The development of the English language||7|
|3.||Differences of grammar||8|
|3.1.||Differences of the verb||8|
|3.2.||Differences of the noun and pronoun||9|
|3.3.||Differences of prepositions||10|
|4.||Differences of vocabulary||12|
|4.1.||Common ideas, different words||12|
|4.2.||Words with no counterparts||14|
|5.||Differences of pronunciation||15|
|6.||Differences of spelling||18|
|8.||The American influence on British English||20|
|9.||Briticisms in American English||21|
|10.||Changes in English language||22|
The theme of my work is "Differences between British and American English languages".
I have chosen this theme, because there are vast differences in culture between Americans and their British Commonwealth counterparts throughout the world. There are disagreements about which language students should learn in Latvian schools and which language is more correct to use.
The aim of my work is to study British and American dictionaries and other sources available to find the differences between word meanings, spelling, grammar and pronunciation in these two English languages. After completing my work, I want to find out for myself which language is more suitable to use for me. I also hope that it will help others who might be interested in this theme to understand it better.
In particular, people are becoming aware to a greater extent of the existence of two great arteries of English, a British and an American artery. At the same time as they become aware of these two kinds of English, they are becoming interested in the nature of the differences between them.
This work is intended to enable those who use English, either as their mother tongue or as a foreign or second language, to understand more about English as a whole and in particular about the differences and similarities between the American and the British forms of the language.
Chapter 1 deals with a number of facts about English language. It gives an explanation about what is the difference between American and British English, explains what expression "American English" means, why distribution and the use of English are changing and what is the status of English nowadays.
English has a history of some six years, developing from the language of a small number of people in England to its present position as a language for the entire world. The history of English is the story of those who speak and use it. Consequently, Chapter 2 gives an outline of this national and international story.
In Chapters 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7, the two families of English are compared in various aspects. The first kinds of difference described are those of grammar, then those of vocabulary, spelling, and pronunciation. Finally, in this section, few differences of punctuation are considered. In the vocabulary section, the reader will see how many words differ completely between the two languages. Spelling will cover differences in the ways of spelling the exact same word. Pronunciation part will show the differentiations in the way Americans and Britons sound certain words.
A general characteristic of the English language today is that it is being increasingly influenced by the English of the United States. Chapter 8 includes the information about the way the earliest Americanisms found their way into British usage and about factors in propagating Americanisms in Britain nowadays.
The number of borrowings from American English into British is so great that many people forget that there also is the small but steady stream of borrowings from British English into American. Chapter 9 gives a little information about the East-to-West flow followed by few examples.
Chapter 10 draws attention to the fact that with greatly improved communications and increasing contacts the various forms of English spoken in the world are now influencing one another as never before. English language changes very fast and many of its dialects are dying out.
At the end of the work there are three appendixes with word-lists in them. These word-lists contain information about vocabulary and spelling differences in English, they enclose several hundred of the commoner equivalent. The word-lists do not pretend to be comprehensive but they embrace most of items, which I have found to be important or interesting.
My work has intentionally been kept short. There is a great deal more about British and American English that could be written but was not included here.
In preparing the work, I have been greatly indebted to the sources mentioned in the Bibliography. Many examples for vocabulary and spelling sections were taken from dictionaries and internet web sites mentioned in Chapter "Literature". Especially useful were books written by O. Mutt and P. Strevens. They gave systematical information on many items included in this work. I have also quoted some of expression they had used in their books.
As I had enough information on the subject I have chosen, I did not have to propose hypothesis. My work establishes on generalization of materials got obtained from dictionaries and other sources and comparison of English as a whole and concrete words in particular. I did not express many of my own conclusions and few times used inferences drawn by other authors. These inferences are mentioned in footnotes.
In my work I have used abbreviation AE for "American English" and BE for "British English" to save space.
1. English language
"Of all the people in the world who speak English as their mother tongue, over two thirds (some 200 million) now live in North America. As regards the number of its speakers and the influence it is exerting on other kinds of English, American English is clearly the most important variety of the English language today."