“The Knowledge Library”

Knowledge for All, without Barriers…

An Initiative by: Kausik Chakraborty.

“The Knowledge Library”

Knowledge for All, without Barriers……….
An Initiative by: Kausik Chakraborty.

The Knowledge Library

Difference Between American English and British English

English is a language that has undergone several changes. As we know that India was ruled by the British, so the language that they left us with was British English. The mannerisms, habits, houses, and everything people have today are inspired by British descent. On the contrary, people aspire to settle in the US and try to adapt to their nature and culture. They want to be acquainted with the American lifestyle. People who live abroad practice the culture, habits, and mannerisms of that country. The language of the US is called American English. People who are either in the United Kingdom or America aspire to study and learn the nature of the country. Now, there has been a lot of debate regarding the languages practiced by other countries. America, being the superpower, tends to instigate people to use American English. Whether to choose American English or British English has always been a debatable topic. So, let us discuss about the significant contrasting points regarding American and British English, but before that, let us understand the critical points of these terms.

American English vs British English

American English

As the name suggests, American English is also called the US-English, which is defined as the language native to the United States. American English is the common language used by almost every country (federal and state government). American English has a variety of patterns in pronunciation, spelling, vocabulary, grammar, so on, and so forth. According to historical linguistic studies, American English is regarded as the mainstream language. Many regional accents have been included in American English apart from American accent. As far as the history of American English is concerned, we can see that the first phase of English came in North America in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries respectively. After the 19th century, American English has introduced and developed new patterns and varieties, including regional accents like Eastern New England Dialect, New York Accent, Philadelphia Baltimore Accent, Western US Accent, etc. Well, it is interesting to know that American English is prominent in 32 US States and five non-US states and territories. American English has a lot of characteristics like the intonation do not tend to rise; sounds are monotonous, the voices have a higher pitch, the pronunciation is nasalized, the consonant and vowel sound are different from one another, etc.

British English

British English is defined as the language spoken in the United Kingdom. Variations in this language also exist in the written, verbal, and formal form. The oldest form of this language was called Old English, followed by Middle English and Early Modern English. Some of the colloquial words to address British English are Bringlish, Britglish, Brenglish, and Brilish. The history of British English goes back to the time when the Germans came to settle in the UK. That is why British English is also called as the West Germanic Language. The Old English is said to have many dialects, including the Anglo-Saxon and the Late West Saxon. Like American English, British English also has variants in vocabulary, grammar, spelling, and pronunciation. Now, there are certain differences between American English and British English. So, let us have a look at them.

1. American English is defined as the language which is prevalent in the United States. On the other hand, British English is a language that is prevalent in the United Kingdom.
2. American English first came to North America in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. British English first came into being by the German settlers.
3. Accents like Eastern New England Dialect, New York Accent, Philadelphia Baltimore Accent, Western US Accent, etc., are included in American English. British English has three phases, i.e., Old English, Middle English, and Early Modern English. All the accents are included in these three phases.
4. The vocabulary of American English is different from British English.

  • Sidewalk
  • Elevator
  • Freeway
The vocabulary of British English is different from American English.

  • Pavement
  • Lift
  • Motorway
5. American English differs in spelling as well.

  • Flavor
  • Color
  • Center
  • Dialog
  • Localize
  • Defense
The spelling of words is different in British English as compared to American English.

  • Flavour
  • Colour
  • Centre
  • Dialogue
  • Localize
  • Defence
6. The grammar is also distinct from American English.

  • On the Weekend
  • In the back/ front
  • In school
  • Getting along
  • In the party
The grammar of British English is in contrast with American English.

  • At the Weekend
  • At the back/ front
  • At school
  • Get on
  • At the party
7. The collective nouns in American English are singular.

  • Team
  • Band
  • Staff
In British English, the collective nouns are plural.

  • The team is playing really good.
  • The band is playing the music.
  • The staff of the school is disciplined.
8. The auxiliary verbs in American English are quite in contrast.

  • I shall go to the park.
  • Shall we leave?
  • You do not need to come today.
In British English, the auxiliary verbs are different.

  • I will go to the park.
  • Should we leave?
  • You needn’t come today.
9. The past tense used in American English is different. The ending ‘en’ is used in the past tense. For instance, in American English, we say, ‘I have never gotten into jail.‘ (Americans may use ‘gotten’ and ‘got’ both). The past tense in British English users the ending ‘t.’ For instance, we say, ‘I have not got in jail.’ (Britishers only use ‘got’).
10. Americans do not use any tag questions like isn’t it, aren’t, etc. Britishers use tag questions often. For instance, in British one may say, ‘the entire scenario is disturbing, isn’t it? (The statement becomes a question here).

So, these are some of the significant linguistic differences between American English and British English. The major difference between them is that of the countries they are used in. For instance, British English is prevalent in the UK, and American English is prominent in the US. Both these languages are essential for the natives. It is interesting to note that English literature and its history are based entirely on British English, including Greek Mythology. The history of English Literatures dates back to the Anglo-Saxon age, which is a part of British English. Thus, both American English and British English are significant languages in studies, culture, tradition, mannerisms, and nature.

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