Basic grammatical and lexical-semantic differences between American and British English

The history and reasons for the formation of american english, its status as the multinational language. Its grammatical and lexical-semantic features. Differences in American and English options in the grammar parts of speech, pronunciation and spelling.

Рубрика Иностранные языки и языкознание
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Язык английский
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Chapter I. The history and reasons for the formation of American English, its status as the multinational language

1.1 The history of the formation of American English

1.2 Causes and sources of American English

1.3 Current status of English as the multinational language

Chapter II. Grammatical and lexical-semantic features of American English

2.1 Verb

2.2 Noun

2.3 Preposition

2.4 Article

2.5 Adverb

2.6 Adjective

2.7 Pronoun

2.8 The introductory words

2.9 Spelling

2.10 Syntax

2.11 Differences in American and English Pronunciation

2.12 Differences in American and English Spelling




Nowadays English is generally accepted language of international communication. It is used in all national routes, it is spoken and written hundreds of millions of people of different nationalities (eg, three thousand newspapers are published in English in India [1]. It is the language of modern business, science, office, information technology and, of course, communication.

Now over a billion people on the Earth say and seek to speak in English, English is the most studied language in the world, whose influence is so great that it is able to affect not only the dictionary, but also on the linguistic structure of the other languages.

One of the possible causes of spreading English is a wealth of vocabulary (about 600 000 words, according to the Oxford dictionary, not counting a special technical vocabulary) and a large percent of the international concepts (up to 200 000 words). Here we should add richness synonymous that allows English speakers to distinguish the shades of the meaning.

American English was more successful competitor than British language, and there were several reasons for this. One of them is the fact that American English was linguistically particularly cleaner and more correct. Because the settlers, people from different corners of Britain, being together in new and risky conditions, were forced to drop the dialectal differences in speech and keep only what was common to them all. It is interesting that, at the same time the language of the Americans retains obvious features of the English language of 17 and even 16 centuries, which are quite archaic for modern Britons, because they extincted in the 18th century.

The discrepancy between the American and British versions was much more significant in the early of the XX century, but later due to the media, especially television, this discrepancy was smoothed out somewhat.

The differences between the English language in America and the English in the UK were discussed in the special linguistic and popular literature for a long time. The disputes continues to this day which of the variants of the English language should be considered as a standard and whether American English should be considered as an independent language, finally separated from British language.

Much attention to the study of differences of American and British versions of English we can observe in the works of such linguists as: Yartseva, Halperin, Schweitzer, Stupin, Belyaeva, Potapov, Zviadadze.

All of the above explains the relevance of our work.

The theme of this research is basic grammatical and lexical-semantic differences between American and British English.

The purpose of this study is to identify and comparison of grammatical and lexical-semantic features of American English.

Research objectives:

· examine the state of problems in scientific and methodological literature;

· consider historical aspects of the origin of the English language;

· identify grammatical and lexical-semantic features of American English;

In this work we consider the history of the formation of American English and the causes of the differences between two versions of the language, the multinationality of the English language, as well as basic grammatical and lexical-semantic differences between American and English.

The subject of the study are the differences between American and British English.

The object of this study is grammar and lexical semantics of the modern English language.

Chapter I. The history and reasons for the formation of American English, its status as the multinational language

In this chapter we consider the periodization of formation of American English, the sources and reasons for its occurrence, as well as the current state of English as the multinational language.

1.1 The history of the formation of American English

English language entered to the North America in the early XVII century and initially it conformed to the standards adopted in England in the XVII century.

The history of the English language in America has 3.5 century. In connection with this there are two main periods of development of the English language in America:

· the early period from the beginning of the XVII century to the end of the XVIII century, which is characterized by the formation of the American dialects;

· the late period (XIX-XX) is characterized by the creation of the American Standard English.

In the early seventeenth of century the colonists from England began to bring their own language to America. The first English settlement in the North America was founded in 1607 - it was town Jamestown in what is now Virginia. In November 1620 was founded the city of Plymouth by the puritans who arrived on the ship "Mayflower".

The residents of these two settlements had the different linguistic traditions. The carriers of different dialects settled to the west and to the south. And although the picture of spreading of the dialects has never been clear due to the constant migration from the north to the south and vice versa, and due to the influx of immigrants from various countries of the world, the differences persist at the level of dialects in the United States today.

In the XVII - XVIII centuries the flows of immigrants were growing, bringing with them a great variety of languages and dialects. For example, Pennsylvania was populated mainly by Quakers who were natives, as a rule, of the middle and northern parts of England.

Often argued that if colonization occurred two or three centuries earlier, American English would be as much different from the British, as the modern French differs from the Italian. So, instead of different variants of the same language would appear different languages.

However, the colonization occurred after the invention of printing, and continued in the period of Enlightenment with its ideas of the universal education. Over a long time, most of the books which were read in America, were English.

Moreover, many of the colonists continued to maintain links with England and due to this, they differed from their Anglo-Saxon ancestors who, as known, have broken all ties with the continent after the relocation to the British Isles.

Thus, uneven expansion of the lexical fund led to the asynchronous development of English in Britain. English developed and improved the standards of the language at all levels in England, and the emergence of the British variant of the word connect due to the development of the new American meaning. Therefore, the British variant appeared as the opposition to the American variant.

For example, store - in the original meaning - storage, warehouse, in America has the meaning "shop" because in that time "store" served and for storing and for sale, i.e. there were and warehouse and store in the same room [10].

So, the Americanisms were as a deviation from the language in this period. The American version of English has not established itself as a literary yet, because America did not have their own national culture.

And only in the conditions of a single state has become possible to create the American version of English literary norm in the late period. In the same period, there was a trend to the convergence of both variants by the penetration of

Americanisms into the English language (connected with nature, American realities, political systems, etc.)

However, maintaining of the literary norm of American version of English is becoming a problem due to the large number of the ethnic groups and different languages in America now.

Only New York has more than 150 nationalities and 80 languages. Thus, now continuing the replenishment of American English with various lexis, dialects. And it does not contribute to the maintenance of Standard English, which can be traced, perhaps, only through the media and literature.

1.2 Causes and sources of American English

The emergence of American English is the result of a long process which was run in parallel and independently from the development of the people who settled in the new place to lead a new lifestyle.

They did not enter a new designation for the known concepts, but very often they used the old word with a new meaning or they borrowed the new words from their native languages, and so today the same word in the UK and the U.S. may have different connotations and meanings, even if they denote the same phenomenons [14].

The main part of the linguistic material (lexical and grammatical)which is used in the UK and the U.S., has a lot of in common, and this fact does not let treat them as the different languages. The main part of the vocabulary of these languages is the same. In fact, the period of their separate existence is not so long, to form two completely independent languages.

On the other hand, this period is characterized by the coexistence of two independent nations and two independent states, for which are characterized specific geographical location, different political systems, different way of everyday life.

All these reasons affected the development of the variants of the language, which led to the emergence of some significant differences in lexical and phonological structure of language, grammatical phenomena and spelling some words.

Addition to the vocabulary of the English language came in two ways in America: a) by the formation of new words and phrases and rethinking old, and b) by borrowing from the other languages.

Among the new words formed in the American colonies of England in the XVII - XVIII centuries, the majority are difficult words which were created by the way of substantivizing of phrases such as "adjective + noun" and "noun + noun." These transformations are based on the words which were in the lexis of the early English language.

For example: the Bull-Frog

The coexistence of the old and new meaning we can note, for example,in the noun "frontier", which has acquired additional meaning in America: a newly mastered or sparsely populated area immediately adjacent to the wilderness or desert terrain. Many difficult words and phrases were based on this new meaning and in these words one of the elements is the American "frontier" in his meaning. (For example, frontierman, frontier country, frontier town).

A special group is the words, lexical meaning which has undergone a complete rethinking. Here, first of all, we should mention so-called the narrowing of the meaning.

This process can be traced, for example, with the English noun "corn", which means any cereals in England . In America, the word "corn" has become to mean "maize", because it was the crop which the first settlers had to cultivate [15].

On the formation of the language of the colonies influenced not only England. Already in the XVIII century the wave of immigrants gushed to the North America from Ireland. In the West and Southwest of the United States Spanish was primary language. The immigrants from France settled along the St. Lawrence River. In New York City, originally called New Amsterdam, the Dutch language predominated. Germans settled in Pennsylvania. In addition, in the southern regions was imported a large number of Africans who have been the subject of the slave trade. All of these new inhabitants of North America (do not forget also aboriginal - Indians) contributed to the formation of the dialect of the colonies. But for all that, despite the plenty of languages and cultures of the new settlers, the predominant language was still English. "Due to the natural process of assimilation, most immigrant families began to speak in English during the life of one or two generations" [1, c. 53].

One source of replenishment of the vocabulary of this period was borrowing from other languages. The settlers borrowed the words from the Indian languages ??to refer to unfamiliar plants (eg, persimmon) and animal (raccoon). From French were borrowed the words "chowder" - a kind of soup, "prairie", from Dutch were borrowed "scow", "sleigh". Many new words appeared by combining already known words, for example, "backwoods".

The characteristics of the late period, covering the XIX and XX century, is closely associated with the description of modern English language in America.

For the late period the most representative processes were those that took place in the lexic.

First of all,in this period has grown the level of Americanisms. Education in the United States with their specific state and political system, with their new state institutions, political parties and civil organizations - all this reflected in the emergence of political terminology.

Westward expansion and the so-called "Gold Rush" left an imprint in the vocabulary and, in particular, in the phraseology of the English language in the United States. Designation of the words and phrases that emerged during this period have been preserved only as historicism (eg, forty-niner - gold digger, who arrived to California during the "gold rush" in 1849).

Among the words and phrases that entered into use in the XIX century and which are beyond the limits of the literary language, large part accounted for by the so-called "slang." These include, in particular, a number of expressive colored words and collocations, reflecting a lot of the dark sides of the "American way of life», such as, "slush money" - money to bribe officials, "bum" - tramp.

1.3 Current status of English as the multinational language

First, modern British language is heterogeneous, and secondly, it is far from the classic English that existed three centuries ago. Inside the British variant are three types of language: the conservative English (the language of the royal family and parliament) adopted standard (the language of media, it is also called BBC English) and advanced English (the language of the youth).

The latter type is the most mobile. It incorporates actively the elements of other languages and cultures. Advanced English is most subject to the general tendency of simplify the language. The changes are occurring primarily in the lexicon, one of the most mobile parts of the language and in the grammar.

Primarily the language changes in grammar caused of the tendency to save linguistic efforts and simplify the language. The new vocabulary comes to British youth language and from other variants of English, in particular, from the American language [2].

The language of educated population of London and the south-east England - eventually acquired the status of a national standard (RP - received pronunciation). Its foundation is the "proper English" - the language of the top private schools (Eton, Winchester, Harrow, Rugby) and universities (Oxford, Cambridge). This is the classic, literary English, which is the base of any course in English language schools for foreigners.

Irish, Australian and New Zealand versions of English, are probably closest to the classic British language. Due to the geographic isolation, these countries have not experienced the strong influence of other languages and cultures. In the formation of American English participated almost all the inhabitants of Europe, while Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the south Africa were inhabited mainly by British. There English kept more or less classical guise. The differences are mainly in phonetics, in particular, in the melodica of the language. It is more "neutral" pronunciation, the replacement of difficult sounds on the simpler sounds.

But America has created almost a new language. The changes affected not only phonetics and vocabulary, but also the most stable part of the language - grammar. Therefore quite natural that debates are mainly around two versions of English - British and American.

In contradistinction to the British version, American English is more flexible, open to the changes and easy to understanding. So, he got more widespread in the world. This is the language of the new generation without a certain nationality and place of residence, the generation that is brought up on the popular culture. The English language of today's youth is more or less common due to the general culture, rock music, dense communication and the ideals and idols.

american english language pronunciation

Chapter II. Grammatical and lexical-semantic features of American English

In this chapter we will examine the grammatical features of American English based on a comparison with British English.

The most striking morphological feature of the English language is its "short word." The scientists have conducted numerous studies, and each time the results showed that the English language is almost entirely comprised of short morphological forms [7].

Let's consider the basic differences between American and British options in the grammar parts of speech.

2.1 Verb

First of all, there is a difference in the using of verb tenses. So, instead of Present Perfect American can use Past Simple. Waiver of Perfect Tenses in spoken language has become commonplace for American [6].

Iґve lost the keys.(BrE) - I lost the keys. (AmE)

Have you seen my new dress?(BrE) - Did you see my new dress? (AmE)

Using Past seems to them perfectly natural and correct, although by all standards, including those, which are described in the american grammars, Perfect are required. Usually, the main contribution to the ignoring of the tenses the group Perfect attribute to the immigrants from those countries whose language has no perfect time. However, any English-speaking American will use Perfect tense, if another selection makes the statement ambiguous or unclear.

When you use the words already, just and yet, British English also requires Present Perfect. In these cases those who speak American English use mainly Past Simple, although both options in American English are considered correct:

Sheґs just arrived home. (BrE) - She just arrived home. (AmE)

Iґve already eaten. (BrE) - I already ate. (AmE)

Have you already found the keys?(BrE) - Did you already find the keys? (AmE)

“Partly this phenomenon goes to British English. In other cases, the traditional distinction between the Present Perfect and the Past Simple observed in both versions of English”[3, p.65]

“Instead of the auxiliary verb shall (shan't) in America is used will (won't). Now it is a general trend of English” [8, p.7]

I shall do. (BrE) - I will do. (AmE)

The designation of future simple tense in the first person with word shall (I shall, we shall) have virtually disappeared from American English, and disappears from the British language, but still is being used in formal British English. [8, p.8]

Using the form of "to be going to" for the future simple is used a lot of more in American than in British English:

I shall visit a doctor. (BrE) - Iґm going to visit a doctor. (AmE)

In American English "shall" is much more common in writing. At the same time in an oral speech "shall" is almost never used.

In the American version of the language "should" is not used after verbs "demand, insist, require", etc. [8, p.9]

I demanded that he should apologise.(BrE) - I demanded that he apologize. (AmE)

For expressing possessions in American English is used the verb "to have", in the British version is used " to have got":

How many brothers have you got?(BrE) - How many brothers do you have? (AmE)

You havenґt (got) much room here. (BrE) - You donґt have much room here. (AmE)

In American English the modal equivalent "have to" is a colloquial synonym for the modal verb "must". Gradually begins ousting of the modal verb "must" in the British version [17].

Must you do that? (BrE) - Do you have to do that? (AmE)

Americans believe that there are unnecessary problems from the irregular verbs. Therefore, many verbs that in British English are irregular, in American English have become regular:

He spoilt his dog. (BrE) - He spoiled his dog. (AmE)

The fire burnt away for two days. (BrE) - The fire burned away for two days. (AmE)

If the speaker wants to say what he likes to do, or about his habits, it is used participle in British English, and, as a rule, it is used infinitive in American English [17].

I like climbing mountains. (BrE) - I like to climb mountains. (AmE)

Americans prefer to use "don't need" instead of the British "needn't":

They neednґt come to school today. (BrE) - They donґt need to come to school today. (AmE)

The verb "go", formerly meant "walk", has lost its previous meaning, so it can be used as an auxiliary verb in itself in the American version:

We are going to go a long way.

In the American version of spoken English there is also a definite trend to the verb "to do". The forms of the first and second person of the verb "do" gradually displace the form of the third person of the verb "does".

This also applies to the negative form of the verb. This trend manifests itself in the British version of the language, so it is not only an American one:

«Sheґs got a ticket to ride, and she donґt care» («The Beatles»)

The link - verb "to be" is often used in the plural with a pronoun of singular in American English:

Arenґt I lucky to have you around?

2.2 Noun

In American English is more often used the singular form of collective nouns. In the British version is always used the plural form. “But it is necessary to consider the general rule relating to the mentality - what is meant by the term (for example, individual members of the government or the government as a single authority of power) [8, p.10].

the government have (BrE) - the government has (AmE)

team are winning (BrE) - team is winning (AmE)

“There are some differences in using of singular and plural nouns. For example, in British English words "overheads", "maths" are used in plural, whereas in the American version they are used in singular” [8, p.10].

overheads (BrE) - overhead (AmE)

maths (BrE) - math (AmE)

“At the same time, known cases of using a noun in plural instead of singular in American English, which is impossible in the British version” [3, p. 98].

accomodations (AmE) - accomodation (BrE)

sports (AmE) - sport (BrE)

Only in American English the noun "way" reinforces the word standing behind it and it is translated into Russian as "far", "much" [7].

They are ahead of us, way ahead. - Они впереди нас, далеко впереди.

I feel way better today. - Сегодня я чувствую себя намного лучше.

In American English are often formed verbal nouns:

to research - a research

to smell - a smell

2.3 Preposition

The most significant grammatical differences between American and British English regard to the prepositions. In general, these differences can be observed in the prepositions: of, in, to, for, with, on, at, by:

at a quarter to three (BrE) - at a quarter till three (AmE)

five past nine (BrE) - five after nine (nine five) (AmE)

at the weekend (Christmas) (BrE) - on the weekend (Christmas) (AmE)

at school (BrE) - in school (AmE)

in the street (BrE) - on the street (AmE)

Your name stands first in the list. (BrE) - Your name stands first on the list. (AmE)

These dresses are in a sale. (BrE) - These dresses are on sale. (AmE)

Americans tend to omit prepositions in those cases when British actively use them [17].

Is he at home? (BrE) - Is he home? (AmE)

We can see this trend of simplifying of grammatical structures on the example of using the prepositions in phrases, which denote the time intervals [18]:

The new term begins on September 1. (BrE) - The new term begins September 1. (AmE)

Iґll see you on Sunday. (BrE) - Iґll see you Sunday. (AmE)

2.4 Article

There are differences in using of articles. Nouns which have an article in British English can be used without it in the American version [17].

all the week (BrE) - all week (AmE)

Iґll be here all the summer. (BrE) - Iґll be here all summer. (AmE)

The nouns, which denote administration, various governments, are used without article in American English, meanwhile in British English they are used with article “the” [17].

Management has closed the mine. (AmE) - The Management has closed the mine.(BrE)

However, there are cases of using article in American English, whereas in British English it is just dropped out [3].

to hospital (BrE) - to the hospital (AmE)

in future (BrE) - in the future (AmE)

at university (BrE) - in the university (AmE)

The next day, the rain began. (BrE) - Next day, the rain began. (AmE)

“For the British version is more typical to use the nouns "toothache, earache, stomach-ache and backache" without the article, as uncountable nouns. But in

American English specific twinges are transmitted by the same nouns, which are considered countable nouns” [3, p.109].

Iґve got headache. (BrE) - I have a headache. (AmE)

2.5 Adverb

Let's consider another feature - using of adverbs in a sentence. In the British version adverb is used after the auxiliary verb in a sentence and in the American version is used before the auxiliary verb [17].

I seldom am late for work. (AmE) - I am seldom late for work. (BrE)

He probably has arrived by now. (AmE) - He has probably arrived by now. (BrE)

2.6 Adjective

The adjectives "slow, real, awful" are used primarily as an adverb in American English [8, p. 11].

to drive slowly (BrE) - to drive slow (AmE)

really nice (BrE) - real nice (AmE)

I felt awfully sleepy (BrE). - I felt awful sleepy. (AmE)

In general, Americans use more adjectives, and unlike the British, they prefer long words.

2.7 Pronoun

There are some differences in using of the pronoun "one". In American English it is replaced by "he". [17].

One cannot succeed unless he tries hard. (AmE) - One cannot succeed unless one tries hard. (BrE)

One should learn to take care of himself. (AmE) - One should learn to take care of oneself. (BrE)

One canґt be too careful, can he? (AmE) - One canґt be too careful, can one? (BrE)

2.8 The introductory words

Only in American English introductory words "yet" "still" within the meaning of«однако», «все же», «тем не менее» are synonymous and are translated as:

She has many friends, still she feels lonely. - У неї багато друзів, і все ж вона почувається самотньою.

I still love him. - І проте, я люблю його.

2.9 Spelling

The main differences in the British and American versions of spelling have their origin from the reforms of the American linguist and originator of the "American Dictionary of the English Language» Noah Webster in 1828. It contained the words that were not in any dictionary, released in the UK. According to Christopher Dobbs "any great nation could not boast of linguistic unity of language to Noah Webster. Webster designed and fastened a single American English in his dictionary. Webster helped to create an entire nation. But throughout the English-speaking world, his name became the synonymous with the word "dictionary." Anyway, what dictionary. Everyone [5].

The dictionary consisted of two books and contained 70 000 words, 5000 of which are not included in any British dictionary. It took 27 years on its creation. Unlike Russians, Americans often use the dictionary of their language. The most popular has become the second edition of Webster's Dictionary, which includes 600,000 articles on 3400 pages. Since 1898 the dictionary was published in abridged form and was called "Collegiate Dictionary Merriam-Webster." Americans use exactly this dictionary. In 2006 was released 11th edition of mini-dictionary that contains the new words which appeared in the lexicon of Americans over the past few years [5].

Namely Noah Webster introduced the practice of writing the words in the American version [8, p.12].

a) the nouns with -our (Latin and French origin):

flavour (BrE) - flavor (AmE)

humour (BrE) - humor (AmE)

labour (BrE) - labor (AmE)

b) the nouns with -ce, -se, -ze:

defence (BrE) - defense (AmE)

licence (BrE) - license (AmE)

organise (BrE) - organize (AmE)

c) the nouns with -gue:

catalogue (BrE) - catalog (AmE)

dialogue (BrE) - dialog (AmE)

d) doubling of the final consonant -l and -m:

traveller (BrE)- traveler (AmE)

jeweller (BrE) - jeweler (AmE)

programme (BrE) -program (AmE)

e) the nouns with -re, -er:

centre (BrE) - center (AmE)

fibre (BrE) - fiber (AmE)

theatre (BrE) - theater (AmE)

f) the nouns with -y and -i in the root:

tyre (BrE) - tire (AmE)

syphon (BrE) -siphon (AmE)

In general, in the American version there is often a simplification of spelling the words if compared with British English, for example:

draught (BrE)- draft (AmE)

plough (BrE) - plow (AmE)

Some complex words that are hyphenated in British English, have fused spelling in the American version:

break-down (BrE) - breakdown (AmE)

make-up (BrE) - makeup (AmE)

blow-up (BrE) - blowup (AmE)

2.10 Syntax

The subject of comparisons on the syntactic level there are grammatical models of phrases and sentences. In phrases consisting of multiple nouns, there is a different word order:

River Thames (BrE) - Hudson River (AmE)

Americans prefer a common case in the phrases noun + noun, but there is used possessive case in the British variant[17].

a dollґs house (BrE) - a doll house (AmE)

a babyґs bottle (BrE) - a baby bottle (AmE)

In subordinate clauses conjunction "like" is used in a conversational style in meaning "in the same way as," "as if" in the American version, in British English is used the same conjunction "as":

It looks like itґs going to rain. (ArE) - It looks as if itґs going to rain. (BmE)

In sentences like "I wish she were here" is used "was" in the American version,but in the British variant is used "were":

I wish she was here. (AmE) - I wish she were here. (BrE)

In some verb phrases there are observed differences related to the ability or inability to use the prepositional-nominal turnover for a given verb. In the British version in phrases with the verb is accepted to use prepositions, whereas in the American version the same verbs do not require any preposition behind them [19].

to battle great difficulties (AmE) - to battle against great difficulties (BrE)

please write me soon (AmE) - please write to me soon (BrE)

Differences related to the syntax of a complex sentence [19].

This includes cases of omission conjunction "that" after "so" in the subordinate clauses of purpose and consequence:

Hold his arms and legs so (that) he doesnґt hurt himself.

I can make it like new so (that) you donґt have to buy a new one.

The certain changes can be observed in both cases due to the using of two models of the interrogative sentences - with the auxiliary verb "do" and without it.

“As it is well known, both models are used in the American and British versions. Herewith the model with the inverted order of the word and without the auxiliary verb "do" covers the sentences with modal verbs, verbs "to be" and "to have". There are no restrictions which determine compatibility "do" and "have" in the American version. In the British version in similar contexts more often uses a different model” [8, p.12].

Do you have a sister? (AmE) - Have you a sister? (BrE)

Does he have any children? (AmE) - Has he any children? (BrE)

“If use two or more homogeneous nouns, you need to consider the "proximity rule" in choosing of singular or plural forms of the verb - matching with the closest word” [3, p.113]. Matching by the traditional rule, which is usual for British English,is used rarely:

There are a girl and two boys in the room. (AmE) - There is a girl and two boys in the room. (BrE)

Americans often use "I think", "I guess" instead of sustainable expressions "it seems to me" in the British version [12].

I think he will come soon. (AmE) - It seems to me he will come soon. (BrE)

I guess itґs a good idea. (AmE) - It seems to me it is a good idea. (BrE)

The boundaries between the distinctive elements and a common core of grammar of both versions are very shaky and movable in some cases [9]. At the same time the grammar of American English is the formed type of the literary language, which is characterized by the specific features of the language system, which peculiar to the English language in the USA [4].

2.11 Differences in American and English Pronunciation

The major difference in American and English pronunciation is in intonation and voice timbre. Americans speak with less variety of tone than the English. American voice timbre seems harsh or tinny to the English, their's gurgling or throaty to Americans. English conclusion: Americans speak shrilly, monotonously, and like a schoolboy reciting. American conclusion: the English speak too low, theatrically, and swallow their syllables [11].

The more precise differences include:

Americans pronounce [a] in such words as ask, brass, can't, dance, fast, grass, half, last, and path as a short, flat [a]; the English pronounce it more as the broad [a:] in father. American shorter, flatter [a] is just a continuation of the way first colonists from Southern England pronounced it; the English dropped this pronunciation in the 18th century and began to use the broad [a:] (this same change took place in parts of New England and the South, giving some Americans the pronunciation of aunt as "ahnt" and vase as "vahz")[16, p.210].

On the other hand, most Americans sound the short [ o ] in such words as box, hot, lot, not, pot, and top almost as the broad [a: ] in father, while the English (and some New Englanders) give it a more open sound, with the lips rounded.

And some are just unique pronunciations of individual words. Such miscellaneous differences in pronunciations include:

ate, Americans say "eight"--"et" is an accepted English pronunciation.

been, Americans say "bin"--the English say "bean."

clerks- "dark."

either, neither, most Americans say, "e-ther, ne-ther"--"I-ther, ni-

ther" is the English pronunciation.

issue, Americans say "ish-you"--the English say "is-sue."

leisure, most Americans say "le-sure"--the English say "laysure."

lieutenant, Americans say "lew-tenant"--the English say "lef-tenant."

nephew, Americans say "nef-hew"--the English say "nev-hew."

schedule, Americans say "sked-ule"--the English say "shed-ule." [16, p.211].

2.12 Differences in American and English Spelling

When the colonists came to America, spelling was not a problem--if a man could write at all he was lucky. English spelling was not yet rule-ridden: i and y, as well as u and v, were often used interchangeably. Not until 135 years after the Pilgrims landed did English spelling have a guide in Dr. Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language. This monumental work froze much of English spelling and, among other things, decreed that such words as critick, loglck, musick, andpublick end in a final k and such words as colour, honour, etc., end in -our [16, p.212].

England, including its colonies, began to follow Johnson's spelling; but, in 1758, three years after Johnson's dictionary was published, Noah Webster was born, in Hartford, Connecticut, and 21 years after Johnson's dictionary the American Revolution began--two events that were to help separate English English and American English. After graduating in law from Yale, Webster couldn't make a living doing legal work, so he became a teacher. He then found English schoolbooks hard to obtain, and unsatisfactory, so he compiled his own three-part Grammatical Institute of the English Language, including an elementary spelling book (in 1783), a grammar (in 1784) and a reader (in 1785). Part I became the fantastically successful The American Spelling Book, which went through edition after edition and sold 80 million copies in its first hundred years, 1783-1883. It was one of the most influential books ever published in America: from the time America became a nation, past the Civil War, and almost into the Gay 90s, generations of Americans learned to spell and pronounce from it, spelling and pronouncing each syllable in every word over and over again under stern teachers. It was known to millions as Webster's Speller, the Blue-Backed Spelling Book (1853) and the Blue-Backed Speller [16, p.213].

Americans are more scrupulous about clearly articulating certain unaccented syllables, especially -ary, -ery, and -ory, and certain ds, gs, hs, Ps, rs (following vowels) and t's than the English. Thus the English say melanchy, monastery, necessary, preparatory, secretary, etc, when Americans fully articulate the final syllables. Also, except in parts of New England and the South, Americans articulate the first l in fulfill, the h in forehead, the r in lord and there, and the final t in trait, rather than pronounce them as the English do: fu'fill, for 'rid, laud, theh, and train [16, p.214].

The English are also more conservative in using fewer abbreviations and more capital letters and commas than Americans do. They capitalize such words as the Bar, the Church, the Government, the Press, and Society. By doing away with such capital letters, Americans are closer to the fashion of the 18th century, when the months, the days of the week, and the names of religions were often not capitalized [16, p.215].

Written forms of American English are fairly well standardized across the United States. An unofficial standard for spoken American English has developed because of mass media and of geographic and social mobility. This standard is generally called a General American or Standard Midwestern accent and dialect, and it can typically be heard from network newscasters, although local newscasters tend toward more provincial forms of speech. Despite this unofficial standard, regional variations of American English have not only persisted, but have actually intensified, according to William Labov [22].

Regional dialects in the United States typically reflect the elements of the language of the main immigrant groups in any particular region of the country, especially in terms of pronunciation and vernacular vocabulary [23].

British and American English are the reference norms for English as spoken, written, and taught in the rest of the world. For instance, the English-speaking members of the Commonwealth often closely follow British English forms while many new American English forms quickly become familiar outside of the United States [13].


The linguistic analysis showed that the differences between American and British English is rather noticeable. However, the opinion about the significant differences between American and British English is just a myth. In fact, there are not so much differences. Sometimes it's hard enough to understand whether the book is written by American or British author. "... Individual lexical features in the speech of residents of various British dominions are not large enough to be able to talk about some dialects specific to a particular region: their grammatical structure and basic lexical fund fully coincide with the same basic components of the English national language in metropolis "[2, p. 150].

Thus, in this paper we have proved the following.

American English is only a local one, and it is not a separate language. As it was shown in the work, American English has neither its particular vocabulary, nor its particular grammatical structure.

In general, for American English characteristically simplified spelling (eg, the elimination of redundant signs, the example eliminate exceptions to the rule). But at the same time, all these processes are carried out on the material of the English language.

It has been proven, that the role of meaning-difference is small, as the English version, which is spoken in the United States suitable for understanding to the British native speakers and vice versa.

Nevertheless, the differences between these two variants of language there are more and more every year .

This raises the question: what variant of the language is worth to study? And how to be aware of the latest trends in language?

According to the director of the Russian representation of the British school Language Link Dzhenski Robert, now we can talk about the emergence and consolidation of an average universal English, which absorbed the particularities of different languages. This is the "international language".

It is, of course, easier for understanding. First, it is neutral in lexical coloring, and secondly, foreigners speak in English more slowly, they pronounce the sounds in isolation and they pronounce the words clearly. American English is more convenient in pronunciation.

According to many Russian linguists and teachers, the "correct" language is the British language, more precisely, that part which is called the "accepted standard" (RP - received pronunciation). Correct English is required, by the way, and for understanding the other language variants, dialects and features. A person with a good classic English always be in demand and, if necessary, he will be able to regroup easy enough and get used to another language modification.


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3. Вейхман Г.А. Новое в английской грамматике. Учеб. пособие для ин-тов и фак. иностр. яз./ Г.А. Вейхман. - М.: Высш. шк., 1990. - 128c.

4. Домашнев О.А. О лексикографическом отражении американского стандарта английского литературного языка. Лингвистические исследования. 1985. Структура языка и языковые изменения./ О.А. Домашнев. - М., 1985. - 70 -79c.

5. Ефимова М. 200 лет словарю Вебстера. Создание нации./ М. Ефимова. - М., 2006.

6. Коптелова Е. Варианты английского. Какой учить и как?/ Е. Коптелова. - "Иностранец", №25. - М., 2000. - 293c.

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9. Швейцер А.Д. Различия в лексике американского и британского вариантов современного литературного английского языка. / А.Д. Швейцер. - Вопросы языкознания. №2. - М., 1967. - 60c.

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