British English vs American English

Topic : Vocabulary Words

In this lesson you will learn the word difference between British English and American English. Also, how English language has formed its unique style in England and United States

Reading – Intermediate Level

History


The British actually introduced the language to the Americas when they reached these lands by sea between the 16th and 17th centuries. At that time, spelling had not yet been standardised. It took the writing from the first dictionaries to set in stone how these words appeared. In the UK, the dictionary was compiled by London-based scholars. Meanwhile, in the United States, the lexicographer was a man named Noah Webster. Allegedly, he changed how the words were spelled to make the American version different from the British as a way of showing cultural independence from its mother country.

In terms of speech, the differences between American and British English actually took place after the first settlers arrived in America. These groups of people spoke using what was called rhotic speech, where the ‘r’ sounds of words are pronounced. Meanwhile, the higher classes in the UK wanted to distinguish the way they spoke from the common masses by softening their pronunciation of the ‘r’ sounds. Since the elite even back then were considered the standard for being fashionable, other people began to copy their speech, until it eventually became the common way of speaking in the south of England.


Vocabulary Words

Beginner Level

Listen to Rosie

Notice the difference between British English and American English.



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