British vs American EnglishLearners of english
will inevitably adopt the english
which their teachers are familiar with. The teacher may either use British or American english
to teach their students. There are some differences between that two that could confuse students. The main difference between British and American english
is in word choice, vocabulary, and spelling. Here, I will speak of some of the differences between the two.
One of the differences is in how particular words are spelled. Americans for example would write the word ‘center’ whereas the British may write that word as ‘centre’. Other British words may also end in ‘-re’ whereas the American counterpart of that word may end in ‘er’. Such words include ‘caliber’ and ‘calibre’, ‘meter’ and ‘metre’, and ‘theater’ and ‘theatre’.
‘Recognize’ is used in American english
while ‘recognise’ is used in British english
. ‘Patronize’ and ‘patronise’ also demonstrates this difference in spelling. We can see that Americans use ‘z’ to spell these words while in British english
these words are spelled with a ‘s’.
In British english
, ‘colour’, ‘flavour’, ‘neighbour’, or ‘rumour’ may all be spelled with an ‘-our’ ending whereas in American english
the ‘u’ will be dropped and words will be spelled as ‘color’, ‘flavor’, ‘neighbor’, and ‘rumor’. Other commonly encountered spelling differences of particular words may be seen in ‘moustache’ used in British english
and ‘mustache’ used in American english
, ‘mum’ used in British english
and ‘mom’ used in American english
, ‘axe’ used in British english
and ‘ax’ used in American english
, ‘cheque’ used in British english
and ‘check’ used in American english
. There are other spelling differences but they too numerous to all cover here.
The differences in spelling however may not be the most problematic area for those who encounter the differences between the two forms of english
. Differences in vocabulary may pose a bigger problem. ‘Biscuit’ in British english
and ‘cookie’ in American english
refer to the same thing. ‘Dustbin’ from British english
and ‘trash can’ from American english
also refer to the same thing. Other words that refer to the same thing include ‘lift’ in British english
and ‘elevator’ in American english
, ‘motorway’ used in British english
and ‘highway’ used in American english
, ‘pub’ used in British english
and ‘bar’ used in American english
. There is no good way to learn these differences in vocabulary other than memorizing what each word refers to.
The biggest difference between the two might be the difference in pronunciation and rhythm and stress. The first syllable in the following words is stressed in British english
while the final syllable is stressed in American english
: adult, ballet, montage, brochure, and debut. Americans stress the first syllable in ‘address’ while the British stress the last syllable. Other words that are pronounced differently include: agile, docile, fertile, fragile, volatile, and sterile. British english
will pronounce the last part of the preceding words where the letter ‘i’ sounds like ‘eye’ while Americans may pronounce the letter ‘i’ similar to the ‘i’ found in the word ‘illness’.
As we can see, numerous differences exist between American and British english
. The student will learn the english
that his teacher is familiar with. It is important that the teacher does not interchange the two as this may confuse the student. However, students may inevitably encounter a teacher of British and American english
should they take many years of english
. The student should be aware of the differences between the two, but it should not be the central focus of the student’s learning experience.