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реферат British English and American English
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Differences of American English from British English…….…..4
Spelling and punctuation features………...……….10
Modern English belongs
to the West German group of languages. It is native for
410 million people, not less than 1 billion people speak this language.
It is an official language of Great Britain, the USA, Australia, New
Zealand, Canada and Ireland (in Canada together with French, in
Ireland — with Irish, on Malta - with Maltese), one of official languages
of India and 15 African states. It’s one of the official and
working languages of the UN.
English comes back to
languages of old-german tribes, who moved from the continent in the
V—VI centuries to Britain, occupied by Celts. Interaction of different
tribes’ dialects, developing in the conditions of formation of an
English nationality, led to formation of territorial dialects. But in
Great Britain there is a set of versions of this language, called as
dialects and accents.
Colonial expansion of
England in the XVII-XIX centuries caused spreading of English outside
Great Britain and led to emergency of some regional differences, mainly
in lexicon. For example, differences between the American English and
British English can be explained by the first settlers who arrived in
North America from London and its suburbs (1607), and the last settlers
were natives, mainly, from northern part of Great Britain and Ireland.
It is quite difficult
to draw a line between concepts: a language variant and a dialect since
according to definition, both of them can be characterized as variants
of this language, specific to a certain group of people. But it isn't
necessary to forget that the main distinction consists that some variants
of the language, in this case English, already began to play as independent
languages (others will inevitably follow their example), that never
will happen to dialect speech.
There are multiple local
variations of English in the countries where it is native for a small
amount of the exclusive population, it is considered the second official
language or is used for communication with foreigners. Any of the countries
using similar variations, isn't European one - India, Pakistan, Malaysia,
Thailand, South Korea, Philippines, Nigeria, Uganda. In my opinion the
topic “English outside Great Britain and how American English differs
from British English" is of present interest.
The purpose of my work
is: to find as much as possible information about British English and
American English and to analyze it and to answer the question “British
English and American English as the two variants of the English language.”
The following item will
be researched in the work: similarities and differences of these
two variants of English. Besides, the most important factors affected
the studied item will be researched in the work: history of the English
language, phonetic and lexical distinctions and examples of these distinctions.
The following methods
will be used in my work: comparative research, discursive analyses.
The research is based on the analyses of various source of information,
such as division of American English from British English, the internet
resource, articles from books and magazines.
The work consists of introduction,
theoretical and practical chapters, conclusion, selective research bibliography
1.Differences of American English from British English.
We know that the USA is
a multinational country and there are a lot of various races there.
Generally the black population suffers most often as there is a discrimination
of this population. But there are also representatives of other nationalities
who are also oppressed in America, and not only in language.
Taking into consideration
a very important problem for the public theory of social differentiation
of language and social structures two main measurements of social
variability are highlighted – stratification and situational.
Stratification variability is connected with social structure of society
that is the social status of a speaker, and situational - social situations
of functional usage of language. Between stratification and situational
variability there is a close interrelation: the distinctions caused
by social stratification of society, are imposed on the distinctions
caused by a social situation. Let's address to following sentence: "We
will go, Peter", he said. Here the form of future tense of
the first person where in the British English the auxiliary verb ”
shall” is used, is forced out by a form of future tense of the second
and third person. We can see coexistence of two models of future tense
in American English. In the first, the most widespread, as a universal
indicator of future the verb “will” is used, but also
in England the most part of the population now use the same form of
Social classes in the
USA are defined indistinctly and their moving up or down in social
hierarchy is simply associations of people with identical social
and economic characteristics. Grammatical features typical
for an informal context are quite various. So, there are structures,
the general for all a society level which directly depend on sociocultural
and sociophsichological factors (social norms, values, motivations,
orientations and mechanisms of social control). 
Besides the listed factors,
prevailing impact on various use of language is made by a social situation.
One of its parameters is the relations, that is relationship between
participants of the communication, defined by a social and communicative
situation. During social interaction the person should play more or
less extensive repertoire of social roles. Thus he/she plays the
various roles: a teacher - a pupil, a judge - an accused,
a customer - a seller, a husband -a wife.
Changes of roles significantly
changes structure of social situations, and, therefore, influences a
choice of language means. These constructions represent the typical
phenomenon and special structure of informal conversation as result
of a social and communicative situation.
So, this or that social
situation is a major factor to use certain grammatical structures and
lexical units with a certain phonetic meaning. Violation of these rules
is realized by all members of language community, but in different degree.
The higher the social status of a person, the more strictly he observes
these rules and the more sharply he perceives this violation. Besides,
complexity of a person’s speech depends on his social status. Therefore
only the grammatical features inherent to the people of the lowest social
status are of interest because their speech characteristic allows
to define their social status. These features differ at syntactic and
morphological levels. There is a dependence of grammatical structures
of an informal context on socially - dialect differentiation.
At syntactic level, in turn, interaction and merge of grammatical and
phonetic changes and usage of “ain’t” instead of any form
of the verb “to be” shows insufficient level of education in society
in all areas. As for morphological level, grammatical structures
with “ain’t” instead of any form of the verb” to have
“ gains huge popularity.
Existence of these noted
features is the proof socially - dialect differentiation. In particular,
in literature they serve to fuller disclosure of an image of the hero
by means of his speech characteristic, mark his social status and situation
The alternativeness is
a property of language system which is shown not only at all levels
of language, but also in all types of its functioning. One of the reasons
of intralinguistic alternativeness of English is its functioning in
different fields of activity and in different territories. Developed
in language system of American English the alternative relations have
various realization in functional styles. English variants are as a
reverse side of functional and style differentiation of language. Each
variant is characterized by differences typical for it at phonetic,
lexical, semantic and grammatical levels. Distinctive signs of English
cover not only the dialect phenomena, but also the phenomena of the
literary language. In certain cases we find borrowed words in
one variant and the word of an English origin in another one. Such words
appeared after division of English into British English and American
English: a lift - an elevator, a tap – a faucet. Sometimes
the new borrowed words displace the old ones from the American
English language: rubbish – gabbage. Some general words, keeping
the general dominant meaning, get various sense or the use.
For example: purse – the British version: A small flat leather
container divided into parts for keeping paper money, cards, coins,
in, and used especially by woman; American version: Small pouch for
carrying money on the person; pavement – the British version: hard
level surface or path at the side of a road for people to walk on; American
version: paved path, roadway. And the meaning which ‘pavement’
has in the British variant, in American it is expressed by the
noun - 'sidewalk' - paved track for pedestrians.
It is clear that nowadays
there is a social differentiation of English in the USA and Great Britain.
We assume that this differentiation, certainly, happens because of mixture
and a variety of the population. But, in our opinion, the main reason
is huge influence of the American language on English. Certainly, the
worst aspect is that the conventional English which was spoken a set
of centuries, changes under the influence of the American version. 
At school we are taught
standard English, instead of modern. The purpose of it is that we could
be understood in any English-speaking country. Grammar always was the
stablest part of a language. However, the middle English period
is characterized by considerable changes in morphology which turned
English into analytical language. These processes came to the end only
in the new English period and therefore in American English we find
echoes of old forms, for example perfect forms with an auxiliary verb
of “to be” in sentences like this:
Нe is gone.
I am done.
I am finished.
Word order, being, certainly
fixed, also shows some liberties in comparison with the British language.
The knowledge of culture and national history, certainly, increases
efficiency of communication. Culture studying without knowledge of language
always won’t be enough.
Distinction between American
and British English versions are mostly seen in lexicon and somewhat
in phonetics; differences in grammar are insignificant. At a large number
of newly appeared words in American English lexicon word-formation models
remain the same with British English.
1.2 Phonologic distinctions.
Internal factors of language
development are caused, first of all, by language tradition and language
function. The influence of these factors increases or decreases
depending on language level (phonetic, lexical, grammatical). As the
development of American English shows , the phonetics is to a lesser
extent influenced by the language tradition. So, some phonetic
changes happening in British English, since XVII century aren't seen
in American English. For example, the consonant [r] didn't undergo vocalization
in American English and instead the diphthong in British English,
we find ‘a monophthong + r’ in American English, and instead a triphthong
there is ‘a diphthong + r’: hear [hir], sure [?ur], fire [fir].
In certain cases the vowel changes as well as in the British English,
but vocalization [r] doesn't happen: hard [ha:rd], fir [fз:r].
May be in these words vocalized [r] appeared
again in American English by analogy to those cases where there
was no vocalization. Some phonetic tendencies, characteristic for both
versions of English, are better shown in American English. So, the rhythmic
tradition led to change of an accent in compound words: 'nece'ssary ;,
abso'lutely, 'labora'tory #39;, ?adver'tisement. 
In the word " 'adver'tisem nt"
the second accent changed a vowel pronunciation an open syllable. More
intensively in comparison with British English there is a formation
of affricates. In most cases affricates appear at first in American
English, and only after that they appear in British English:
congratulate, educate, bless you, have to.
It is known that there
was no full correspondence between a letter and a sound in Old English
when the Latin alphabet was accepted.
1.3 Lexical signs
During colonization and
after the USA was founded, emigrants from various parts of the world
came there. Their languages affected development of American English,
especially in those parts of the USA where English was in long contact
with other languages, especially with French and Spanish. The analysis
of place names gives a clear depiction of the history how North America
was settled. So, we find the Spanish names in the south and the southwest
(Santa Fe San Buenaventura), French names in the southeast (Lafayette,
Louisiana, Louisville, Arkansas) and in the north and the northeast
(Chicago, Michigan), Indian names (Milwaukee, Chattahoochee River),
the name of New England with elements - ford (Rumford), - burg (Ogdensburg),
- town (Provincetown), - bury (Salisbury), - brook (Westbrook), - dale
(Carbondale), - chester/-cester/-cas er (Rochester, Glouchester, Lancaster),
- wick (Brunswick) which completely coincide with names of their
Homeland, or contain elements of their native language.
Historically the United
States originate in New England. Since pioneer settlements the main
language here is English, however influence of other languages on English
is great. The number of borrowed words from German, French, Spanish
is unequal in various parts of the USA. Those words which show the American
realities were included into English before the American version appeared,
and equally both variants of the English language possess, for example:
canyon, tornado, prairie, rapids. At first they entered into language
of the English settlers in America, and it is possible to say that they
were territorially limited. Later they became part of the national dictionary.
Some borrowed words have different meanings in American English (AE)
and British English (BE). For example: kindergarten – British English:
school for children aged two to five; American English: class or school
for children before first grade; biscuit - British English: thin, flat,
dry, usually sweet cake that is usually sold in packages or tins; American
English: quick-baking bread made in small buns; cracker; caravan - British
English: 1. vehicle that a car can pull in which people can live and
sleep when they are on holiday; 2 . covered vehicle pulled by a horse
in which people such as gypsies live. American English: people traveling
together across a desert. The meaning of the word “caravan” in American
English has respectively the meanings ‘trailer’ and ‘wagon’.
In certain cases we find
borrowing in one version and the word of an English origin in
the other. Such words appeared after division of English into the British
and American versions: aubergine (BE) - eggplant (AE), lift (BE) - elevator
(AE), tap (BE) - faucet (AE). Some English words, keeping the general
dominant meaning, get various sense or the use in British and
Reconsideration of words
in American English led to emergence of the new meanings or narrowing
of the old meanings, to replacement of the old words by the new ones:
“apartment” instead of “flat”, “yard” instead of “garden”,
“rooster” instead of “cock”, “line” instead of “queue”,
“mall” instead of “shopping center”.
Spreading of American
English in that territory where British English earlier dominated
leads to interpenetration of dictionary of both versions and many words
start existing as synonyms.
1.4 Grammatical features
1.There is a certain difference
in the use of verb tenses. So, instead of Present Perfect the
Americans can use Past Simple. Perfect Tense in a spoken language
is not used at all and it became a usual phenomenon became that it is
time to enter it into grammar. The phrase: "Did
you see "Redheat" with Arnold? " is considered
by many Americans absolutely natural and true, though, according
to standard English including American grammar, Perfect is required:
"Have you seen …? " or at least as a colloquial form:
"Seen "Redheat" yet? " Usually the main
contribution to ignoring of Perfect tenses is referred to immigrants
from those countries in whose languages there are no perfect tenses,
Russian is also mentioned. However any English-speaking American
will use Perfect if other tense makes the statement unclear. Past
participle of a verb “got” sounds as “gotten”.
2.Instead of an auxiliary verb “shall”
in American English the verb “will” is used which, in its
turn, is forced out by the “gonna” form – colloquial version of
the verb “going to”. It is nowadays the general tendency of English.
In the difficult system of verbal tenses which has gradually come instead
of binary temporary system of Old English language which initially expressed
the opposition of the present and future tenses to past, two important
changes are seen. The first change is in more and more broad use
of Present simple “I eat” (in general meaning) instead of “I am
eating” (at present moment). This change gives to the action described
by a verb more vitality and realty – and it differs from other current
trends in the language, as a whole aspiring to bigger profitability
and brevity of language expression. The second change is in wider use
of expanded forms of a verb “go” to describe the near future, like
in the sentence “We are going to write” instead of "We
Will Write". The verb “go” with the meaning “walk”
– “go on foot”, nowadays lost the former meaning that can be used
as an auxiliary verb in the expression: We are going to go a long
way” - "We Are Going to Pass a Long Way".
3. Also in American colloquial English
we can see such a tendency of an English verb “to do”, as
gradual replacement of the third person “ does” by the first and
second person “do”. It belongs also to a negative form of this verb.
This tendency can be seen also in British English. (it is an example
from “The Beatles” group song - "She's got a ticket to
ride, and she don't care", what proves that it isn't actually American.
However, in literary English still there is a use of the third person
of a verb “does”.
4. In American English
the verb “should” after verbs “demand, insist, require” isn't
used: "I demanded that he apologize" instead of "I
demanded that he should apologize" in British English.
5. Many irregular verbs (for example,
to burn, to spoil) in American English are correct.
6. Articles are differently used in
American and British English. For example, "to/in the hospital"
in American English, while in British it is used without an article
"to/in hospital" .
7. Often in the
same expression instead of one preposition another is used, for example,
"on the weekend/on weekend" instead of "at the weekend/at
weekend" in British English; «on the street" instead of "in
8. Many set expressions in American English
changed their verb. For example, the Americans will say "take
a shower/a bath" instead of "have a shower/a bath",
instead of "needn't&quo ; the complex form "don't need to"
9. Adjectives “slow” and “real”
are used as an adverb: He likes to drive slow (instead of “slowly”).
She's real nice (instead of “really”).
10. Americans less
willingly, than British, use plural forms of the verbs with the
collective nouns (the audience were, the government have ). However,
despite stated differences above, the majority of grammatical features
of American English are not considered normal in modern English. 
1.5 Spelling and punctuation features
The phonetic changes which
happen in language don’t find spelling reflection, and made
English spelling quite difficult. In American English the spelling became
simpler. This process concerned theendings: - our (BE) - or (AE), -
re (BE) - er (AE), doubling of final - l is absent in an unaccented
syllables in such verbs as travel, cancel. (traveled - AE). These distinctions
are, generally, a merit of Noy Webster (1758–1843) who introduced
writing - er instead of - re (center - 'centre', meter - 'metre', theater
-'theatre') in American English, - or instead of - our (favor – favour
, honor - honour, labor - labour), check instead of cheque ',
connection instead of connexion, jail instead of gaol - 'prison', story
instead of storey - 'floor'.
It is possible to explain
a simplicity of spelling of such words as thru (through), tho (though),
u (you), lite (light), nite (night). Such spelling corresponds to their
phonetic form, we can meet these forms of spelling in headings, advertizing,
guide signs. Probably, such simplification of spelling is caused by
the fact that in the USA there is a large number of immigrants for whom
English is neither native nor the main language and these immigrants
know only colloquial language. There is a difference in writing of dates
in American and British English:
March 12, 2003
December 3, 2003
In official business letters the address is written
(AE) Dear Mr. Jones:
(BE) Dear Mr Jones,
(AE) Mr. or Mrs. or Dr. Smith
(BE) Mr or Mrs or Dr Smith
Having analysed American
English and British English, now it is possible to speak about emergence
and fixing of the certain average universal English which has incorporated
features of different languages. This - instead of American, not British
and any another - the option also is "language of the international
communication". It, naturally, is easier for understanding. First,
it is neutral on coloring, secondly, foreigners speak English more slowly,
say sounds separately, and words is accurate. Besides, it is more convenient:
it isn't necessary to strain, trying to come nearer to "purely
British" or "purely American" pronunciation.
And here America created
almost modern language: changes concerned not only English phonetics
and lexicon, but also the steadiest part of language - English grammar.
Therefore it is quite natural that disputes are conducted generally
round two options of English - British and American. The American English
call the simplified language
In my opinion, the "correct"
language is the British option, more precisely, that its part which
is called "the accepted standard". The correct basic English
is necessary to understand and other options of language, dialects and
features. And that can master them. The person with classical English
can adapt in any English-speaking environment.
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теория слова - М. : Русский язык, 2001.
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Т. М. Хрестоматия по истории английского
языка. -Л., 2005.
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языка и культура страны в
лингвострановедческ м аспекте - М.
: Русский язык, 2000 .
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язык в Америке. - М., 2003.
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американского варианта английского
языка: дискуссионные проблемы//Вопросы
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национального литературного английского
языка. — М., 2004.