Group 2,Class 1
Structure
Introduction--AmE & BrE
Background--historical reason
Differences -- grammar
pronunciation
spelling
writing
Conclusion
Written forms of American and British English as found
in newspapers and textbooks vary little in their essential
features, with only occasional noticeable differences in
comparable media. This kind of formal English,
particularly written English, is often called 'standard
English '. However, there are still many remarkable
differences between the two languages. Since it is of vital
importance for us English majors to distinct the two
different branches of English, our group focus on two
questions: What is the historical reason for American
English is different from British English? What is the
difference between them?
Here, we regard Received Pronunciation (RP) as British
English (BrE) and General American (GAm) as
American English (AmE).
Nouns
In BrE, collective nouns can take either singular (formal
agreement) or plural (notional agreement) verb forms,
according to whether the emphasis is, respectively, on the
body as a whole or on the individual members.
For example: A committee was appointed .
The committee were unable to agree.
In AmE, collective nouns are usually singular in
construction: the committee was unable to agree. AmE,
however, may use plural pronouns in agreement with
collective nouns: the team take their seats, rather than the
team takes its seats. The rule of thumb is that a group acting
as a unit is considered singular and a group of "individuals
acting separately" is considered plural.
Nouns
The difference occurs for all nouns of multitude.
For instance,
BrE: The Clash are a well-known band;
AmE: The Clash is a well-known band.
BrE: Spain are the champions;
AmE: Spain is the champion.
Proper nouns that are plural in form take a plural
verb in both AmE and BrE
For example,
The Beatles are a well-known band;
The Saints are the champions.
Use of tenses
Traditionally, BrE uses the present perfect tense to
talk about an event in the recent past and with the
words already, just, and yet. In American usage,
these meanings can be expressed with the present
perfect (to express a fact) or the simple past (to
imply an expectation). Recently, the American use
of just with simple past has made inroads into BrE,
most visibly in advertising slogans and headlines
such as "Cable broadband just got faster".
"I've just arrived home." / "I just arrived home."
"I've already eaten." / "I already ate."
Use of tenses
Similarly, AmE occasionally replaces the past
perfect tense with the simple past.
In BrE, have got or have can be used for
possession and have got to and have to can be
used for the modal of necessity. The forms that
include ‘‘got’’ are usually used in informal
contexts and the forms without got in contexts
that are more formal. In American speech the
form without got is used more than in the UK,
although the form with got is often used for
emphasis. Colloquial AmE informally uses got
as a verb for these meanings – for example, I
got two cars, I got to go.
Prepositions and adverbs (1)
In the United States, the word through can
mean "up to and including" as in Monday
through Friday. In the UK Monday to Friday,
or Monday to Friday inclusive is used instead;
Monday through to Friday is also sometimes
used.
British sportsmen play in a team; American
athletes play on a team. (Both may play for a
particular team.)
Prepositions and adverbs (2)
In AmE, one always speaks of the street on
which an address is located, whereas in BrE in
can also be used in some contexts. In suggests
an address on a city street, so a service station
(or a tourist attraction or indeed a village)
would always be on a major road, but a
department store might be in Oxford Street.
Moreover, if a particular place on the street is
specified then the preposition used is
whichever is idiomatic to the place, thus "at
the end of Churchill Road."
Prepositions and adverbs (3)
BrE favours the preposition at with weekend ("at
(the) weekend(s)"); the constructions on, over, and
during (the) weekend(s) are found in both varieties
but are all more common in AmE than BrE.
Adding at to the end of a question requesting a
location is common in AmE, for example,
"where are you at?", but would be considered
superfluous in BrE. However, some southwestern British dialects use to in the same
context; for example "where are you to?” to mean
"where are you".
Differences in pronunciation
between American English (AmE)
and British English (BrE) can be
divided into:
1)differences in accent.
2)differences in the pronunciation
of individual words in the lexicon.
BrE
AmE
words
/æ/
/ɑ/
annato, BangladeshA2, Caracas, chiantiA2, Galapagos,
GdańskA2, grappaA2, gulagA2, HanoiA2, JanA2
(male name, e.g. Jan Palach), KantA2, kebab, Las
(placenames, e.g. Las Vegas), Mafia, mishmashA2,
MombasaA2, Natasha, Nissan, Pablo, pasta,
PicassoA2, ralentando, SanA2 (names outside USA;
e.g. San Juan), SlovakA2, Sri LankaA2, Vivaldi,
wigwamA2, YasserA2 (and A in many other foreign
names and loanwords)
/iː/
/ɛ/
aesthete, anaesthetize, breveA2, catenaryA2, Daedalus,
devolutionA2,B2, ecumenicalB2, epochA2,
evolutionA2,B2, febrileA2, Hephaestus, KenyaB2,
leverA2, methane, OedipusA2, (o)estrus, penalizeA2,
predecessorA2, pyrethrinA2, senileA2, hygienic
/ɒ/
/oʊ/
Aeroflot, compost, homosexualB2, Interpol, Lod, pogrom,
polkaB2, produce (noun), Rosh Hashanah, sconeA2,B2, shone,
sojourn, trollB2, yoghurt
/ɑː/
/æ/
(Excluding trap-bath split words) banana, javaA2, khakiA2,
morale, NevadaA2, scenarioA2, sopranoA2, tiaraA2, Pakistani
/ɛ/
/i/
CecilA2,B2, crematoriumA2, cretin, depot, inherentA2,B2, leisureA2,
medievalA2, reconnoitreA2, zebraB2, zenithA2,B2
/æ/
/eɪ/
compatriot, patriotB2, patronise, phalanx, plait, repatriate,
Sabine, satrapA2, satyrA2, basilA2 (plant)
/ɪ/
/aɪ/
dynasty, housewifery, idyll, livelongA2, long-livedA2, privacyB2,
simultaneous, vitamin. Also the suffix -ization. See also -ine.
/z/
/s/
AussieA2, blouse, complaisantA2, crescent, diagnoseA2, erase,
GlasgowA2, parse, valise, trans-A2,B2 (in some words)
/ɑː/
/eɪ/
amenA2, charadeB2, cicada, galaA2, promenadeA2, pro rata,
tomato, stratum
/əʊ/
/ɒ/
codify, goffer, ogleA2, phonetician, processor, progress (noun),
slothA2,B2, wont A2, wroth
/ʌ/
/ɒ/
accomplice, accomplish, colanderB2, constableB2, Lombardy,
monetaryA2, -mongerA2
/ɒ/
/ʌ/
hovelA2,B2, hover. Also the strong forms of these function words:
anybodyA2 (likewise every-, some-, and no-), becauseA2,B2 (and
clipping 'cos/'cause), ofA2, fromA2, wasA2, whatA2
(sou (sile
nde nt)
d)
chthonic, herbA2 (plant), KnossosB2, phthisicB2, salve, solder
/ɑː/
/ɚ/
Berkeley, Berkshire, clerk, Derby, Hertford. (The only AmE word
with <er> = [ɑr] is sergeant).
/aɪ/
/i/
eitherA2,B2, neitherA2,B2, Pleiades. See also -ine.
/iː/
/aɪ/
albino, migraineB2. Also the prefixes anti-A2, multi-A2, semi-A2 in loose
compounds (e.g. in anti-establishment, but not in antibody). See also -ine.
/ə/
/ɒ/
hexagon, octagon, paragon, pentagon, phenomenon.
/iː/
/eɪ/
eta, beta, quayA2, theta, zeta
/aɪ/
/ɪ/
butylB2, diverge, minorityA2,B2, primer (schoolbook). See also -ine.
/ə/
/ɒ/
hexagon, octagon, paragon, pentagon, phenomenon.
/iː/
/eɪ/
eta, beta, quayA2, theta, zeta
/aɪ/
/ɪ/
butylB2, diverge, minorityA2,B2, primer (schoolbook). See
also -ine.
/ɛ/
/eɪ/
ateB2 ("et" is nonstandard in America), mêlée, chaise
longue
/ɜːz/
/us/
Betelgeuse, chanteuse, chartreuseA2, masseuse
/eɪ/
/æ/
apricotA2, dahlia, digitalis, patentA2,B2, comrade
(silent) (sounded) medicineB2. See also -ary -ery -ory -bury, -berry
/ɒ/
/ə/
Amos, condom, Enoch
/ʃ/
/ʒ/
AsiaB2, PersiaB2, versionB2
/ə/
/oʊ/
borough, thorough (see also -ory and -mony)
/ɪr/
/ɚ/
chirrupA2, stirrupA2, sirupA2, squirrel
/siː/
/ʃ/
cassia, CassiusA2, hessian
/tiː/
/ʃ/
consortium
/uː/
/ju/
couponA2, fuchsine, HoustonB2
/uː/
/ʊ/
boulevard, snooker, woofA2 (weaving)
/ɜː(r)/
/ʊr/
connoisseurA2, entrepreneurA2
/ɜː/
/oʊ/
föhnB2, MöbiusB2
/ə/
/eɪ/
DraconianA2, hurricaneB2
/eɪ/
/i/
deityA2,B2, Helene
/juː/
/w/
jaguar, Nicaragua
/ɔː/
/ɑ/
launch, saltB2
/ɔː(r)/
/ɚ/
record (noun), stridorA2,B2
/ziː/
/ʒ/
Frasier, Parisian, Malaysia
/æ/
/ɒ/
twatB2
/ɒ/
/æ/
wrath
/ɑː/
/ət/
nougat
/ɑː/
/ɔ/
Utah
/ɑː/
/ɔr/
quarkA2,B2
/æ/
/ɛ/
femme fataleA2
/aɪ/
/eɪ/
Isaiah
/aʊ/
/u/
nousA2
/ɒ/
/ə/
Amos, condom, Enoch
/ð/
/θ/
booth
/ʃ/
/ʒ/
AsiaB2, PersiaB2, versionB2
/diː/
/dʒi/
cordiality
/ə/
/oʊ/
/dʒ/
/ɡdʒ/
suggestA2
borough, thorough (see also ory and -mony)
/eɪ/
/ə/
template
/ɪr/
/ɚ/
/eɪ/
/ət/
tourniquet
chirrupA2, stirrupA2, sirupA2,
squirrel
/ə(r)/
/ɑr/
MadagascarA2
/siː/
/ʃ/
cassia, CassiusA2, hessian
/ə(r)/
/jɚ/
figureA2 for the verb
/tiː/
/ʃ/
consortium
/ə/
/ɛ/
nonsense
/uː/
/ju/
/ɛ/
/ɑ/
envelopeA2,B2
couponA2, fuchsine,
HoustonB2
/ɛ/
/ə/
Kentucky
/uː/
/ʊ/
/ə/
/æ/
trapeze
boulevard, snooker, woofA2
(weaving)
(silen (soun medicineB2. See also -ary -ery
t)
de
-ory -bury, -berry
d)
/ɜː(r)/
/ʊr/
connoisseurA2, entrepreneurA2
/ɜː/
/oʊ/
föhnB2, MöbiusB2
/ə/
/eɪ/
DraconianA2, hurricaneB2
/eɪ/
/i/
deityA2,B2, Helene
/juː/
/w/
jaguar, Nicaragua
/ɔː/
/ɑ/
launch, saltB2
/ɔː(r)/
/ɚ/
record (noun), stridorA2,B2
/ziː/
/ʒ/
Frasier, Parisian, Malaysia
/æ/
/ɒ/
twatB2
/ɒ/
/æ/
wrath
/ɑː/
/ət/
nougat
/ɑː/
/ɔ/
Utah
/ɑː/
/ɔr/
quarkA2,B2
/æ/
/ɛ/
femme fataleA2
/aɪ/
/eɪ/
Isaiah
/aʊ/
/u/
nousA2
/a:/--/æ/ glass
/iәr/--/i:r/ hero
/o/--/Λ/ shop
/o/--/o:/ dog
/uәr/-/ur/ curious
/ Λr/--/ә:r/ hurry
/ju:/--/u:/supermarket
/æ/--/e/ ration
/ai/--/i/ fragile
Spelling
BrE IPA
AmE IPA
Notes
barrage
ˈbær.ɑːʒ
(1) bəˈrɑʒ
The AmE pronunciations are for distinct senses (1)
"sustained weapon-fire" vs (2) "dam, barrier" (Compare
garage below.)
(2) ˈbær.ɪdʒ
garage
(1) ˈɡærɪdʒ ɡəˈrɑ(d)ʒ
(2) ˈɡærɑːʒ
vase
vɑːz
(1) veɪs
The AmE reflects French stress difference. The two BrE
pronunciations may represent distinct meanings for some
speakers; for example, "a subterranean garage for a car"
(1) vs "a petrol garage" (2). (Compare barrage above.)
The BrE pronunciation also occurs in AmE
(2) veɪz
z
(the
zɛd
letter)
ziː
The spelling of this letter as a word corresponds to the
pronunciation: thus Commonwealth (including, usually,
Canada) zed and U.S. (and, occasionally, Canada) zee.
Stress
For many loanwords from French where AmE has
final-syllable stress, BrE stresses an earlier syllable.
Such words include:
BrE first-syllable stress: adult, ballet;
A few French words have other stress differences:
AmE first-syllable, BrE last-syllable: address,
cigarette
AmE first-syllable, BrE second-syllable: liaison
AmE second-syllable, BrE last-syllable: New
Orleans
BrE
dialogue
archaeology
colour
favourite
jewellry
programme
storey
AmE
dialog
archeology
color
favorite
jewelry
program
story
BrE
centre
theatre
metre
AmE
center
theater
meter
BrE
licence
practise
analyse
globalisation
AmE
license
practice
analyze
globalization
BrE
grey
manoeuvre
AmE
gray
maneuver
Use of capitalization varies.
Sometimes, the words in titles of
publications, newspaper headlines,
as well as chapter and section
headings are capitalized in the same
manner as in normal sentences. That
is, only the first letter of the first
word is capitalized, along with
proper nouns, etc.
Many British tabloid newspapers (such as The
Sun, The Daily Sport, News of the World) use
fully capitalized headlines for impact, as
opposed to readability (for example, BERLIN
WALL FALLS or BIRD FLU PANIC). On the
other hand, the broadsheets (such as The
Guardian, The Times, and The Independent)
usually follow the sentence style of having only
the first letter of the first word capitalized.
However, publishers sometimes require
additional words in titles and headlines to
have the initial capital, for added emphasis, as
it is often perceived as appearing more
professional.
In AmE, this is common in titles, but less so in
newspaper headlines. The exact rules differ
between publishers and are often ambiguous;
a typical approach is to capitalize all words
other than short articles, prepositions, and
conjunctions. This should probably be
regarded as a common stylistic difference,
rather than a linguistic difference, as neither
form would be considered incorrect or
unusual in either the UK or the US.
After our research, we have
already known the main
differences between AmE and
BrE in grammar,
pronunciation, spelling and
writing briefly, and have had
a general idea of why
American English is different
from British English in terms
of history. We hope that our
presentation is helpful for you
with your English study.
1,New Concept English
2,Algeo, John (2006). British or American English?.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
3,Hargraves, Orin (2003). Mighty Fine Words and
Smashing Expressions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
4,McArthur, Tom (2002). The Oxford Guide to World
English. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
5,Peters, Pam (2004). The Cambridge Guide to English
Usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
6,Trudgill, Peter and Jean Hannah. (2002). International
English: A Guide to the Varieties of Standard English.
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