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“Two countries divided by a common language” – George Bernard Shaw The United States and the United Kingdom
The British Empire The English language was introduced to America through colonization. x The first English settlement was established in Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. The language also spread to other parts of the world as a result of British trade and colonization. By 1921 the former British Empire controlled a population of 470 to 570 million people (a ¼ of the world’s population).
The History of English Over 400 years, the English language has changed into two versions we refer to as American English and Standard British English. Differences include: pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, spelling, punctuation, idioms, and formatting of dates.
Dates The way dates are formatted in the UK & USA is different: 05/01/2013: British English – DD/MM/YYYY 01/05/2013: American English – MM/DD/YYYY The way UK and USA speakers say dates is also different: 5th of January 2013 – British English January 5th, 2013 – American English It gets a bit confusing!
Spelling American English does not use the letter U in words ending in –or. Example: Labour/ Labor, Favour/Favor, Savour/Savor, Colour/Color American English does not always use double consonants. Example: Traveller/Traveler American English has changed words ending in “re” to “er.” Example: Fibre / Fiber, Centre / Center, Theatre / Theater American English has changed “C” to “S” in words. Example: Defence / Defense, Offence / Offense American English has changed “S” into “Z.” Example: Recognise / Recognize, Hyponotise / Hypnotize, Realise / Realize
Vocabulary There are many objects that are described by different words in British and American English. Examples: Dustbin and Trash Can Rubbish and Garbage Differences most likely to create confusion are those where the same word or phrase is used for two different objects. Examples: French Fries Chips Chips Crisps Crisps Chips Chips French Fries
Pronunciation The /ae/ sound becomes /a:/ in American English. Example: Fast / Path / Grass The /o/ sound is pronounced with lips rounded only in British English. Example: Not / Lot / Hot / Top Unaccented syllables are very slightly pronounced in British English. Example: literature. Ts are less pronounced in American English. Example: Meter / Twenty The double T turns into a D sound in American English. Example: Kettle / Battle / Bottle / Little