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Работа № 109709
Курсовик Differences between American and British English
Тип работы: Курсовик.
Предмет: Ин. языки.
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CHAPTER 1. THE DEVELOPMENT OF BRITISH AND AMERICAN ENGLISH ……………………………………………………....5
1.1. Historical background of the English Language ………………..…….5
1.1.1. Old English………….…………………………………………6
1.1.2. Middle English……………………..……………….………….7
1.1.3. Modern English…...……………………………….…………...8
1.2. The origin of Standard British English on the British Isles……….11
1.3. The origin of American English in the USA………………………12
CHAPTER 2. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BRITISH AND AMERICAN VARIANTS IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE …………..…14
2.1. Differences in American and English Pronunciation ……………..…14
2.2. Grammatical Peculiarities of American and British English …..……21
2.3. Differences in American and English Spelling …………...…………23
2.4. American and British English lexical differences ………………...…26
Nowadays, English is probably the most frequently spoken language in the world, either as an official language, or as a foreign language. Speaking English has become more than a trend, more than a fashion. There are lots of different varieties of English, spoken in different parts of the world, such as Australian English, South African English, Indian English and so on. However, two varieties of English are considered to be the most influential and widespread of all: Commonwealth English, generally known as British English, mainly spoken on the territory of Great Britain, and American English, the language spoken in the USA [13, 985].
When a Briton and an American meet, even though they are far from mutually unintelligible, each is soon aware of differences in the speech of the other. First, the accent is different: pronunciation, tempo, intonation are distinctive. Next, differences in vocabulary, idiom and syntax occur, as they would in a foreign language: individual words are misunderstood or not understood at all, metaphorical expressions sound bizarre, subtle irregularities become apparent in the way words are arranged, or in the position of words in a sentence, or in the addition or omission of words. It is estimated that some 4,000 words and expressions in common use in Britain today either do not exist or are used differently in the US. These differences are reflected in the way British and American English are written, so that variations in spelling and punctuation also emerge. Finally, there are immense cultural divergences, ranging from different trademarks for everyday products to different institutions and forms of government [4, 5].
Actuality of the theme lies in the fact, that differences between American and British English are one of the basic parts of studying the English language. Relative fluency in English is getting more and more to be a must when it comes to communicating with people belonging to other nations or applying for a job.
The focus of this study is on how contemporary British English differs from American. That is, in comparing two varieties of a language, it is convenient to take one as the basis for comparison and to describe the other by contrast with it. This study takes American as its basis and describes British in relation to that basis. The reason for this approach is that American has more native speakers than British and is rapidly becoming the dominant form of English in non-native countries other perhaps than those of Western Europe. Many Europeans established academic bias favors British as a model; but evolving popular culture is biased toward American. This widespread dissemination of the American variety makes it a reasonable basis for describing British.
A lot of scientists investigate and compare these two languages. The most popular works related to Algeo John, Karol Janicki, Christopher Davies, Glenn Daragh, Bin Zhang and others.
The aim of the theme is to study deeply the differences of American and British English.
The object: British and American English.
The subject: grammatical, phonetic and lexical differences between British and American English.
The following tasks are to be solved:
1. Historical background of the English language is to be reviewed.
2. Differences in British and American English histories and development are to be reviewed.
3. Grammatical, phonetic and lexical differences between modern British and American English are to be analyzed.
The main methods used in this research are the following: analysis of information, comparison and generalization of data, classification and description.
The structure of the work. The coursework consists of an introduction, two chapters, conclusion and bibliography.
CHAPTER 1. THE DEVELOPMENT OF BRITISH AND AMERICAN ENGLISH
The historical and political consequences had caused that American and British English were separated and each of them has been taking its own direction in the world. As a result of the historical and political consequences, English in Britain began to shape earlier and gave the seeds to American English.
This chapter further clarifies the historical background of the English language, and also the development of British and American English.
1.1. Historical background of the English Language
British is the form of English now used in the country whence all other forms of English have ultimately derived. But present-day British is not the origin of any other variety of the language; rather it and all the other varieties are equally descendant from a form of English spoken in the British Isles in earlier times. In some respects, present-day British is closer to the common ancestral form of the present-day varieties than is American or other varieties; but in other respects the reverse is true, and American, for instance, preserves older uses that became obsolete in British use. To mistake present-day British for the ancestor of all other forms of English is a logical and factual error [3, 1].
The English language belongs to the West Germanic branch of the Indo-European family of languages. The closest undoubted living relatives of English are Scots and Frisian. Frisian is a language spoken by approximately half a million people in the Dutch province of Friesland, in nearby areas of Germany, and on a few islands in the North Sea .
The history of the English language has traditionally been divided into three main periods: Old English (450-1100 AD), Middle English (1100-circa 1500 AD) and Modern English (since 1500). Over the centuries, the English language has been influenced by a number of other languages .
1.1.1. Old English
During the 5th Century AD three Germanic tribes (Saxons, Angles, and Jutes) came to the British Isles from various parts of northwest Germany as well as Denmark. These tribes were warlike and pushed out most of the original, Celtic-speaking inhabitants from England into Scotland, Wales, and Cornwall. One group migrated to the Brittany Coast of France where their descendants still speak the Celtic Language of Breton today. Through the years, the Saxons, Angles and Jutes mixed their different Germanic dialects. This group of dialects forms what linguists refer to as Old English or Anglo-Saxon. The word “English” was in Old English “Englisc”, and that comes from the name of the Angles. The Angles were named from Engle, their land of origin .
Before the Saxons the language spoken in what is now England was a mixture of Latin and various Celtic languages which were spoken before the Romans came to Britain (54-5 BC). The Romans brought Latin to Britain, which was part of the Roman Empire for over 400 years. Many of the words passed on from this era are those coined by Roman merchants and soldiers. These include win (wine), candel (candle), belt (belt), weall (wall). The influence of Celtic upon Old English was slight. In fact, very few Celtic words have lived on in the English language. But many of place and river names have Celtic origins: Kent, York, Dover, Cumberland, Thames, Avon, Trent, Severn .
The arrival of St. Augustine in 597 and the introduction of Christianity into Saxon England brought more Latin words into the English language. They were mostly concerned with the naming of Church dignitaries, ceremonies, etc. Some, such as church, bishop, baptism, monk, eucharis and presbyter came indirectly through Latin from the Greek .
Around 878 AD Danes and Norsemen, also called Vikings, invaded the country and English got many Norse words into the language, particularly in the north of England. The Vikings, being Scandinavian, spoke a language (Old Norse) which, in origin at least, was just as Germanic as Old English .
The River Humber was an important boundary, and the Anglian-speaking region developed two speech groups: to the north of the river, Northumbrian, and, to the south, Southumbrian, usually referred to as Mercian. There were thus four dialects: Northumbrian, Mercian, West Saxon, and Kentish .
Several written works have survived from the Old English period. The most famous is a heroic epic poem called “Beowulf”. It is the oldest known English poem and it is notable for its length – 3,183 lines. Experts say “Beowulf” was written in Britain more than one thousand years ago. The name of the person who wrote it is unknown .
1.1.2. Middle English
After William the Conqueror, the Duke of Normandy, invaded and conquered England in 1066 AD with his armies and became king, he brought his nobles, who spoke French, to be the new government. The Old French took over as the language of the court, administration, and culture. Latin was mostly used for written language, especially that of the Church. Meanwhile, the English language, as the language of the now lower class, was considered a vulgar tongue .
Another outcome of the Norman Conquest was to change the writing of English from the clear and easily readable insular hand of Irish origin to the delicate Carolingian script then in use on the Continent. With the change in appearance came a change in spelling .
By about 1200, England and France had split. English changed a lot, because it was mostly being spoken instead of written for about 300 years. The use of Old English came back, but with many French words added. This language is called Middle English. Most of the words embedded in the English vocabulary are words of power, such as crown, castle, court, parliament, army, mansion, gown, beauty, art, poet, duke, servant, governor .
Because the English underclass cooked for the Norman upper class, the words for most domestic animals are English (ox, cow, calf, sheep, swine, deer) while the words for the meats derived from them are French (beef, veal, mutton, pork, bacon, venison) .
The Middle English is also characterized for the beginning of the Great Vowel Shift. It was a massive sound change affecting the long vowels of English. Basically, the long vowels shifted upwards; that is, a vowel that used to be pronounced in one place in the mouth would be pronounced in a different place, higher up in the mouth. The Great Vowel Shift occurred during the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries .
The most famous example of Middle English is Chaucers “The Canterbury Tales”, a collection of stories about a group of thirty people who travel as pilgrims to Canterbury, England. The portraits that he paints in his Tales give us an idea of what life was like in fourteenth century England ....
The division of the English speaking Britain and the English speaking America brought about the changes that are apparent in today’s English language. The common English language of these countries has undergone changes in the use of vocabulary, pronunciation and spelling and is no longer perceived as common.
The theoretical part of this work clarified the historical and linguistic perspective of the British and American English language, the reasons why these two common languages are shaped differently by the flow of time along with the significant codifications. The historical and political consequences had caused that these two standard English languages were separated and each of them has been taking its own direction in the world. As a result of the historical and political consequences, English in Britain began to shape earlier and gave the seeds to American English.
Studying the history of the English language, we can say, that present-day British is not the origin of any other variety of the language; rather it and all the other varieties are equally descendant from a form of English spoken in the British Isles in earlier times. In some respects, present-day British is closer to the common ancestral form of the present-day varieties than is American or other varieties; but in other respects the reverse is true, and American, for instance, preserves older uses that became obsolete in British use.
According to the second task, we investigated, that fhe beginnings of the English language in the British Isles were the combination of foreign influences that were left by the non-natives. The situation of the Standard English in the British Isles in the earlier centuries clarifies why Standard British English is recently associated with the educated and higher-social circles. The history of American English may be divided into two significant periods: Colonial period and National period. The events in these periods contributed to the diversification of British and American English. The exploring of these two periods is a step towards a better understanding of the recent distinctions between British and American Englishes.
The practical part was focused on the linguistic features and differences between British and American English in terms of pronunciation, lexis, grammar and spelling that were further explored in the practical part. According to the third task, we distinguished that differences between British and American standard pronunciation make the two variants strikingly recognizable. For non-native speakers the choice between RP and GA is individual and may result in a blending of the two different variants into one. Also, the discrepancy between British and American words may cause misunderstanding between their native speakers but predominantly in non-native speakers who may use a certain mixture of the two varieties. The bilingualism in this sense may cause misunderstanding while talking to native speakers of either variant, or other high-level non-native speakers solely proficient in either form. But a substantial part of the differences between British and American English are concentrated around spelling and grammatical structures of these two standard variants of English. American English has a tendency to shorten and simplify both grammar and spelling. As a result, grammar and spelling of British English are considered more complicated.
On the whole, these would be the main differences between British and American English. On the other hand, however different these two varieties might seem, there is only one English language, which is presently spoken by more than a third of the world’s population. Choosing what variant to speak remains a matter of preference, but a good speaker of English should know how to juggle with both or at least should know how to recognize them. Perhaps, at a certain time in the future, the differences will be erased and we will all speak one single language. That common language might as well be English; for the time being, English is a universal language that helps communication between peoples become easier [13, 990].
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