TEFL Winslow West Arizona



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British english vs. American english (19) This short article will discuss the differences between British english and American english. Spelling The online Oxford dictionary offers a sector called “British and American spelling”, where main differences in spelling are listed. When British english words end in: “-re”, “-our”, “-ce”, (= Latin-derived spelling) “-yse”, “-ise”, “-ogue”, (greek-dervied spelling) their American equivalents will end with: “-er”, “-or”, “-se”, “-ize”, “-yze”, og”. Examples: center vs. centre, colour vs color, apologize vs. apologise, analyse vs. analyze, defence vs. defense, analogue vs. analog. Also, British english words spelled with a double vowel are just spelled with an “e” in American english (leukaemia vs. leukemia) and British english words ending with a vowel + “L” double the “L” if an ending is added which also begins with a vowel. (Example: travelling). American english does not double the “L”. (Example: traveling). Terms The online Oxford dictionary also offers a list of terms, which are different in both english varieties. Same words may mean something else in one or the other variety. Example: Rubber. (AE: condom, BrE: tool to erase pencil markings). Also, some words will be more common in one variety than in the other. (AE: cell phone instead of mobile phone, BrE: advert instead of publicity). Use of Tenses British english uses the present perfect to talk about an action, which has occurred in the recent past and has an effect on the present moment. Example: “I've found some cookies. Would you like some?” In American english, the past simple would also be appropriate in this case. In British english, using the past simple would be incorrect. These differences often occur in sentences with the words “already, just, yet”. Use of Prepositions British english speakers would say they are playing “in a team”, while American english speakers would say “on a team”. Another example would be going out “at the weekend” in BrE and going out “on the weekend” in AE. Verbs British english sometimes has another past participle than American english: dreamed vs. dreamt, learned vs. learnt, forecast vs. forecasted. Punctuation American english would write Mrs., Mr., Ms. and British english would use Mrs, Mr, Ms (etc.) without the point. Time telling While Americans would say: “It is ten fifteen” (10.15), British english speakers would say: “It is a quarter past ten.” Pronunciation When talking about the American pronunciation, we call it the “general American” pronunciation and this is the so-called “educated” english found in American media, dictionary, schools etc. The regional differences among the American accents are usually small. The General American pronunciation is rhotic. Rhotic means, that the “r” is always pronounced. The so-called “educated” British english pronunciation is called “Received Pronunciation” (RP). This RP is sometimes also called the Queen's english, since it the english of the British upper class. RP is non-rhotic. (r is only pronounced if placed before a vowel) In Britain, people usually have their own regional accents, which are quite different from RP. Sources American english vs British english: http://www.diffen.com/difference/American_english_vs_British_english British and American spelling: http://oxforddictionaries.com/words/british-and-american-spelling Choosing between American and British pronunciation: http://www.antimoon.com/how/pronunc-american-british.htm

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