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British English and American English


: . : 15.12.2014. : 2014. : 8. antiplagiat.ru: < 30%


    Differences of American English from British English...4
      Phonologic distinctions6
      Lexical signs.7
      Grammatical features...8
      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. Its 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 VVI 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 and appendix.

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 speech.
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). [4]
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 persons 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 aint 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 aint 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 in society.
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. [2]
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:
e 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 wont 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 [f: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. [5]
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. [3]
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 American English.
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 the street".
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" is used.
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]
1.5 Spelling and punctuation features
The phonetic changes which happen in language dont 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 (17581843) 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:
month/day/year day/month/year
12/03/03 12/03/03
March 12, 2003 December 3, 2003
In official business letters the address is written differently:
(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.

1. Vereshchagin E.M., Kostomarov V.G. - . : , 2001.
2. . ., . . . -., 2005.
3. .. - . : , 2000 .
4. . . . - ., 2003.
5. .. : // . 2000.
6. .. . ., 2004.
7. http://www.homeenglish.ru


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