is the international language that links people all around the world. From business
, to education, to ministries, most people have been exposed to the english
language. The question that we must ask ourselves is which dialect where we exposed too? The most common reference to the english
language dialect is the American english
and the British english
. Although both languages are similar, they differ in many components such as spelling, pronunciation, idioms, vocabulary, and grammar just to name a few. Much of this is due to the development of dialect in history and isolated population within these countries. With these differences it has been said that the Unites States and United Kingdom are “two countries divided by a common language” –George Bernard Shaw. As we dive further into the mechanics of english
we will explore the commonalities and contrasts of the language that we know as english
When it comes to spelling in British and American english
, there are differences but not substantial enough to confuse the meaning of a sentence. One of the reasons for the difference is before the 18th century; english
spelling was not standardized until a dictionary was developed in 1755. From there, the development of spelling continued and much of this developed came from personal preference of how to spell a word. Some examples are as followed: Color (AmE)-Colour (BrE); Flavor (AmE)-Flavour (BrE); Realize (AmE)-Realise (BrE); memorize (AmE)-Memorise (BrE). With these slight differences one would be able to read, listen, and understand what is being presented.
Vocabulary is one of the major differences that lie between British and American english
. One word could take a whole sentence out of context or not make sense to the other party. This difference dates back to the 19th century to the mid-20th century when developing new words were coined independently. Many industries such as the car/automobile and railway/railroad have completely different terminologies, phrases, and phrasal verbs. Some examples are as followed: Trunk (AmE) - Boot (BrE); Biscuit (AmE) - Cookie (BrE); Truck (AmE)-Lorry (BrE); french
Fries (AmE)-Chips (BrE); Rubber Band (AmE)-Elastic Band (BrE). If one was British in America and ordered “Chips” they would receive “potato chips” the equivalent to “crisp” in england
Fries. Simple differences such as this makes it difficult to communicate and can become frustrating.
The last difference we will look at is idioms. Similar to the differences in vocabulary, idioms can lead to not understanding one another, embarrassment, unintentional insults, and much more. Idioms have been developing throughout history and continue to develop with each generation. Some examples are as followed: Touch wood (BrE)-Knock on wood (AmE); Not touch something with a bargepole(BrE)-Not touch something with a ten-foot pole (AmE); Flogging a dead horse (BrE)-Beating a dead horse (AmE). From these sample idioms we can see the difference in meaning between the British and American english
In conclusion, the above is just an outline of some of the differences between both British english
and American english
. These differences may seem vast however; this has not stopped the international community from utilizing english
as a universal language. As you will find in any country there are multiple dialects for the same language, the key component is the language which we all seemingly comprehend.