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The English and Literature Department

Qualification work on speciality English philology

on the theme:

“Differences between American English and British English”

Supervisor: ___________

Gulistan 2008

I. Introduction

1.1 General American

In the early part of the seventeenth century English settlers began to bring their language to America, and another series of changes began to take place. The settlers borrowed words from Indian languages for such strange trees as the hickory and persimmon, such unfamiliar animals as raccoons and woodchucks. Later they borrowed other words from settlers from other countries – for instance, chowder and prairie from the French, scow and sleigh from the Dutch. They made new combinations of English words, such as backwoods and bullfrog, or gave old English words entirely new meanings, such as lumber (which in British English means approximately junk) and corn (which in British means any grain, especially wheat). Some of the new terms were needed, because there were new and un-English things to talk about. Others can be explained only on the general theory that languages are always changing, and American English is no exception.

Aside from the new vocabulary, differences in pronunciation, in grammatical construction, and especially in intonation developed. If the colonization had taken place a few centuries earlier, American might have become as different from English as French is from Italian. But the settlement occurred after the invention of printing, and continued through a period when the idea of educating everybody was making rapid progress. For a long time most of the books read in America came from England, and a surprising number of Americans read those books, in or out of school. Moreover, most of the colonists seem to have felt strong ties with England. In this they were unlike their Anglo-Saxon ancestors, who apparently made a clean break with their continental homes. The problem of the theme is that the problem of the theme is that: A good many Englishmen and some Americans used to condemn every difference that did develop, and as recently as a generation ago it was not unusual to hear all “Americanisms” condemned, even in America. It is now generally recognized in this country that we are not bound to the Queen’s English, but have a full right to work out our own habits. Even a good many of the English now concede this, though some of them object strongly to the fact that Americanisms are now having an influence on British usage.

The aim of the theme is to study deeply the differences of American and British English. There are thousands of differences in detail between British and American English, and occasionally they crowd together enough to make some difficulty. If you read that a man, having trouble with his lorry, got out his spanner and lifted the bonnet to see what was the matter, you might not realize that the driver of the truck had taken out his wrench and lifted the hood. It is amusing to play with such differences, but the theory that the American language is now essentially different from English does not hold up. It is often very difficult to decide whether a book was written by an American or an English man. Even in speech it would be hard to prove that national differences are greater than some local differences in either country. On the whole, it now seems probable that the language habits of the two countries will grow more, rather than less, alike, although some differences will undoubtedly remain and others may develop.

It also seems probable that there will be narrow-minded and snobbish people in both countries for some time to come. But generally speaking, anybody who learnsto speak and write the standard English of his own country, and to regard that of the other country as a legitimate variety with certain interesting differences, will have little trouble wherever he goes. General American—like the British Received Pronunciation as well as most standard language varieties of many other societies—was never the accent of the entire nation. Rather, it is most closely related to a generalized Midwestern accent and is spoken particularly by many newscasters, in part because the national broadcasters preferred to hire people who exhibited similar speech. Famous news anchor Walter Cronkite is a good example of a broadcaster using this accent. Since Cronkite was born in Missouri, and spent his first dozen years there, some assumed that General American was the regional accent of the state, although Cronkite's teen years were spent in Texas, which is not known for having "accentless" speakers. General American is sometimes promoted as preferable to other regional accents; in the United States, classes promising "accent reduction" generally attempt to teach speech patterns similar to this accent.

The well-known television journalist Linda Ellerbee, who worked hard early in her career to eliminate a Texas accent, stated, "in television you are not supposed to sound like you're from anywhere." Some sources[attribution needed]1 suggest this is less true today than it was formerly. GeneralAmerican is also the accent generally taught to individuals from other countries learning English as a second language in the United States, as well as outside the country to anyone who wishes to learn "American English."

II. Main part

2.1 Pronunciation symbols

The symbols used to render pronunciations are those that are used in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition (1992). These symbols are phonemic rather than phonetic. That is, they are designed to help you distinguish meaningful units of sound, such as the difference between cat and cad or pat and pet. They are not designed to represent the specific pronunciation of any individual or of any particular speech community. Thus they allow people from different speech communities to pronounce words correctly in their native dialect. In the discussions that follow, the term long vowel can refer to any of the following sounds: ( ), ( ), ( ), ( ), (ä), and ( ); it can also refer to the diphthongs (ou) and (oi). The term short vowel can refer to any of these sounds: ( ), ( ), ( ), ( ), ( ), and ( ). A full pronunciation key can be found at Pronunciation Symbols.

1. a

2. aberrant

3. acumen

4. -ade

5. aerate

6. affluence affluent

7. -age

8. agoraphobia

9. ague

10. albumen albumin

11. alms

12. alumni alumnae

13. analogous

14. anesthetist

15. angina

16. Antarctic

17. apartheid

18. aplomb

19. arctic / Arctic

20. argot

21. ask

22. assimilation

23. asterisk

24. athlete

25. auxiliary

26. banal

27. barbiturate

28. blackguard

29. boatswain

30. bogeyman

31. bouquet

32. bowline

33. breeches

34. brooch

35. bulimia

36. buoy

37. C

38. cabal

39. cache

40. cadre

41. catacomb

42. Celt / Celtic

43. centenary

44. cerebral

45. Ch

46. choleric

47. clique

48. clothes

49. colander

50. comptroller

51. conch

52. coupon

53. covert

54. culinary

55. dais

56. debacle

57. deify / deity

58. demagogic demagogy

59. despicable

60. desultory

61. diphtheria

62. diphthong

63. disastrous

64. disparate

65. dissect

66. dissimilation

67. doughty

68. dour

69. dwarf

70. ebullience ebullient

71. -ed

72. either

73. envelope

74. environment

75. epoch

76. err

77. escalator

78. escape

79. espresso / expresso

80. et cetera

81. exquisite

82. February

83. flaccid

84. forecastle

85. formidable

86. forte

87. fulminant fulminate

88. fulsome

89. fungi

90. G

91. genealogy

92. genuine

93. genus

94. gerrymander

95. gibberish

96. governor

97. grievous

98. gunwale

99. H

100. harass

101. hegemony

102. height

103. heinous

104. herb

105. hoof

106. hovel / hover

107. impious

108. inherence / inherent

109. integral

110. interest

111. intrusion

112. inveigle

113. jewelry

114. junta

115. juvenilia

116. kerchief

117. kilometer

118. kudos

119. L

120. lasso

121. leeward

122. leisure

123. length

124. library

125. lived

126. lower / lour

127. machinate

128. mainsail

129. mauve

130. mayoral

131. metathesis

132. millenary

133. mineralogy

134. mischievous

135. moot

136. mores

137. naphtha naphthalene

138. neither

139. niche

140. nuclear

141. often

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