Peculiarities of British and American variants in the English Language

America has given the English lexicon many thousands of words, meanings, and phrases. Several thousand are now used in English

Peculiarities of British and American variants in the English Language

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Contents

 

IntroductionI Historical background of the English Language. 1. A short history of the origins and development of English. 2. Varieties of English. 3. English as a global language.4. Writing systemII Peculiarities of British and American variants in the English language. 1. Peculiarities of American and British English and their differences. 2. American and British English lexical differences. 3. Grammatical Peculiarities of American and British English. 4. Social and cultural differences

 

Introduction

 

The theme of my Diploma paper is Peculiarities of British and American variants in the English Language.purpose of my Diploma paper is to investigate peculiarities of British and American variants in the English Language.

Every language allows different kinds of variations: geographical or territorial, perhaps the most obvious, stylistic, the difference between the written and the spoken form of the standard national language and others. It is the national language of England proper, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and some provinces of Canada. It is the official language of Wales, Scotland, in Gibraltar and on the island of Malta. Modern linguistics distinguishes territorial variants of a national language and local dialects. Variants of a language are regional varieties of a standard literary language characterized by some minor peculiarities in the sound system, vocabulary and grammar and by their own literary norms.task of our Diploma paper is to reveal the main peculiarities of British and American variants in the English Language; i.e. when we speak about the English language in general, we often ignore some very important differences between several varieties of this language. Some people argue that it is the same language and whichever variant a person speaks, he is sure to be understood everywhere. This is only partially true because of the differences between two countries, two peoples, two cultures, and we cannot, in fact, divorce language and culture.

The theoretical value of work is to find differences between British English and American English which can be the main task of the Diploma paper.Diploma paper consists of Introduction, two Chapters, Conclusion, Appendix and Bibliography. Introduction is about some differences between BrE and AmE. The first Chapter of the Diploma paper gives the historical background of the English language and its link with other languages. The second Chapter of the Diploma paper speaks about peculiarities of British and American variants in the English language.is the summary of our paper. In Appendix, we have included some examples. The appearance of the American variant of the English language is the result of a long process of independent development of the people who settled in a new place to arrange a new way of life. They didnt give new names to old things, but very often they filled old words with new meanings and borrowed new words from their native languages, thats why today for the British and Americans the same words can have different connotations and implications even if they denote the same things or phenomena. Oscar Wilde wrote, `The English have really everything in common with the Americans, except a course of language.`

Standard English - the official language of Great Britain taught at schools and universities, used by the press, the radio and the television and spoken by educated people may be defined as that form of English which is current and literary, substantially uniform and recognized as acceptable wherever English is spoken or understood. Its vocabulary is contrasted to dialect words or dialectisms belonging to various local dialects. Local dialects are varieties of the English language peculiar to some districts and having no normalized literary form. Regional varieties possessing a literary form are called variants. Dialects are said to undergo rapid changes under the pressure of Standard English taught at schools and the speech habits cultivated by radio, television and cinema.differences between the English language as spoken in Britain. The USA, Australia and Canada are immediately noticeable in the field of phonetics. However these distinctions are confined to the articulatory- acoustic characteristics of some phonemes, to some differences in the use of others and to the differences in the rhythm and intonation of speech. The few phonemes characteristic of American pronunciation and alien to British literary norms can as a rule be observed in British dialects.

The existing cases of difference between the two variants are veniently classified into:

§Cases where there are no equivalents in British English: drive-in 'a cinema where you can see the film without getting out of your car' or 'a shop where motorists buy things staying in the car'; dude ranch a sham ranch used as a summer residence for holiday-makers from the cities'.

§Cases where different words are used for the same denotatum, such as can, candy, mailbox, movies, suspenders, truck in the USA and tin, sweets, pillar-box (or letter-box), pictures or flicks, braces and lorry in England.

§Cases where the semantic structure of a partially equivalent word is different. The word pavement, for example, means in the first place 'covering of the street or the floor and the like made of asphalt, stones or some other material'. In England the derived meaning is 'the footway at the side of the road'. The Americans use the noun sidewalk for this, while pavement with them means 'the roadway'.

§Cases where otherwise equivalent words are different in distribution. The verb ride in Standard English is mostly combined with such nouns as a horse, a bicycle, more seldom they say ride on a bus. In American English combinations like a ride on the train, ride in a boat are quite usual.

§It sometimes happens that the same word is used in American English with some difference in emotional and stylistic colouring. Nasty, for example, is a much milder expression of disapproval in England than in the States, where it was even considered obscene in the 19th century. Politician in England means 'someone in politics', and is derogatory in the USA. Professor A.D. Schweitzer pays special attention to phenomena differing in social norms of usage. For example balance in its lexico-semantic variant 'the remainder of anything' is substandard in British English and quite literary in America.

§Last but not least, there may be a marked difference in frequency characteristics. Thus, time-table which occurs in American English very rarely, yielded its place to schedule.

Actually, the idioms spoken in Great Britain and in the USA have too much in common to be treated as different languages. Their Grammar is basically the same. The main part of the vocabulary is essentially the same. In fact, the period of their separate development is too short for them to become absolutely independent.

 

Chapter I. Historical background of the English Language

English language was first introduced to the Americas by British colonization, beginning in the early 17th century. Similarly, the language spread to numerous other parts of the world as a result of British trade and colonization elsewhere and the spread of the former British Empire, which, by 1921, held sway over a population of about 470-570 million people: approximately a quarter of the world's population at that time.the past 400 years, the form of the language used in the Americas-especially in the United States-and that used in the British Isles have diverged in a few minor ways, leading to the dialects now occasionally referred to as American English and British English. Differences between the two include pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary (lexis), spelling, punctuation, idioms, formatting of dates and numbers, and so on, although the differences in written and most spoken grammar structure tend to be much more minor than those of other aspects of the language in terms of mutual intelligibility. A small number of words have completely different meanings between the two dialects or are even unknown or not used in one of the dialects. One particular contribution towards formalizing these differences came from Noah Webster, who wrote the first American dictionary (published 1828) with the intention of showing that people in the United States spoke a different dialect from Britain, much like a regional accent.divergence between American English and British English once caused George Bernard Shaw to say that the United States and United Kingdom are "two countries divided by a common language"; a similar comment is ascribed to Winston Churchill. Likewise, Oscar Wilde wrote, "We have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, the language" (The Canterville Ghost, 1888). Henry Sweet falsely predicted in 1877, that within a century, American English, Australian English and British English would be mutually unintelligible. It may be the case that increased worldwide communication through radio, television, the Internet, and globalization has reduced the tendency to regional variation. This can result either in some variations becoming extinct (for instance, the wireless, superseded by the radio) or in the acceptance of wide variations as "perfectly good English" everywhere. Often at the core of the dialect though, the idiosyncrasies remain., it remains the case that although spoken American and British English are generally mutually intelligible, there are enough differences to cause occasional misunderstandings or at times embarrassment - for example, some words that are quite innocent in one dialect may be considered vulgar in the other.

.1 A short history of the origins and development o

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