American vs. British English

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  • Přidal/a: anonymous
  • Datum přidání: 05. července 2007
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American vs. British English

Vocabulary Differences between American and British English

G. B. Shaw: “Britain and the USA are two countries divided by a common language.”

The original thirteen American states were mainly settled by people from Britain Isles and remained colonies of the British Crown until they rebelled in 1775. It took them five years of fighting to win their independence.
Since then English language has been developing separately in America. During its development American English has been influenced by another languages such as Spanish, French or native American's languages. British English has not been influenced that much due to the separate geographical situation. American English is more variable because American society has been opened to the outer influences, while British society has been rather conservative and closed.
As the USA has become a worldpower, they spread their culture all over the world including Britain. New words are assimilated in Britain, because they serve a purpose, and without them something could not be said so effectively and iterestingly.
Significant differences between American and British English are in Vocabulary, Grammar and Spelling. We would like to look on the Vocabulary differences a bit closer.
There are many words in British English taken from American English which has become familiar alredy. The most famous American term is OK. Other words are, for example, babysitter, commuter, gimmick, punchline, snoop, teenager or expressions such as face the music, be out on a limb, take a back seat or verbs to interview, to advocate, to park.
There are also British words in American English, but the number is smaller (words such as miniskirt, gay, gamesmanship). Some words went to the USA years ago and were then forgotten in Britain. These words then reappear as American terms (teen, mugging, moonshine). Some American words are totally unknown in Britain.

For example, boondocks (rural area or wilderness) or duplex (a two-family dwelling or an apartment on two floors).
The most confusing words are those which are used in both languages, but have slightly different meaning.

American means what Brit calls: Brit means what American calls:
bill banknote check
chips crisps french fries
mad angry crazy
pants trousers underpants
pavement road surface sidewalk
purse handbag wallet
rubber condom eraser
subway underground railway underpass
vest waistcoat undershirt

Despite all the differences British and American people understand each other without big complications. After all both speak one language, English.

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