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Pioneers! Oh Pioneers!. --Schedule for this week --British and American English --Features and Figures of American English. This week. Lecture Today Available on the class website HW#4 (Due 11/29)

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pioneers oh pioneers

Pioneers! Oh Pioneers!

--Schedule for this week

--British and American English

--Features and Figures of American English

this week
This week
  • Lecture Today
    • Available on the class website
      • HW#4 (Due 11/29)
  • Quiz #6 is cancelled; Quiz #7 (SOE chapters 6-10; related CEEL readings; lectures on 12/6 will be worth 100 points. There will be another study guide for this quiz available on 11/29.
  • Thursday (11/17): “The Echoes of an English Voice” (SOE chapter 8)
speech samples
Speech Samples

Please call Stella.  Ask her to bring these things with her from the store:  Six spoons of fresh snow peas, five thick slabs of blue cheese, and maybe a snack for her brother Bob.  We also need a small plastic snake and a big toy frog for the kids.  She can scoop these things into three red bags, and we will go meet her Wednesday at the train station.

british and american english
British and American English

Can you think of any examples that describe the differences between British and American English?

different pronunciation same spelling
Different Pronunciation, Same Spelling
  • Advertisement (advert, ad)
  • Leisure, schedule, dynasty, dance
  • Renaissance, oregano
  • Harass, harassment
different spelling same pronunciation
Different Spelling, Same Pronunciation
  • Colour — color
  • Centre — center
  • Cheque — check (noun form [bank]; verb "to check" the same)
  • Defence — defense (noun form)
  • Licence (noun form) — license
  • Alright — all right
  • Manoeuvre — maneuver
  • Tyre — tire
  • Ageing — aging
  • Whisky (Scotch) — whiskey (U.S. & Ireland)
  • Gaol — jail
same term different but similar spelling and pronunciation
Same Term, Different But Similar Spelling and Pronunciation
  • Aluminium — aluminum
  • Polythene — polyethylene
  • Maths — math (shortening of "mathematics")
  • Rise — raise (more money in salary, wages)
same words but different or additional meanings
Same Words, But Different or Additional Meanings
  • GB 'Trousers' = US 'Pants'; US 'Pants' = GB 'underwear pants'US 'It was a tremendous storm; my pants got all wet' would in GB refer to 'underwear pants' rather than 'outerwear pants' [trousers]
  • GB 'Jumper' = US 'Sweater'; US 'Jumper' = GB Pinafore [dress]. GB 'I'm getting warm; I think I'll take off my jumper' would refer in SAE to 'taking off my dress' instead of 'taking off my sweater'
  • (U.S.) Finnair has a flight to London today.(G.B.) Finnair have a flight to London today. (large collective nouns)
  • (U.S.) England has played well today, even if it lost.(G.B.) England have played well today, even if they lost.
(G.B.) Have you got your grade in history yet?(U.S.) Have you gotten your grade in history yet?
  • (G.B.) He went on a course. How many were on the course?(U.S.) He was in a course. How many were in the course?
G.B.) We lived in the High Street.

(U.S.) We lived on Main Street

  • (G.B.) He's in hospital with a broken leg.(U.S.) He's in the hospital with a broken leg.
  • (G.B.) We weren't able to catch him up(U.S.) We weren't able to catch him, catch up with him, catch up [with him].
same concept different terms or expressions
Same Concept, Different Terms or Expressions
  • Hire a car — rent a car
  • Petrol — gasoline
  • Saloon — sedan
  • Estate car — station wagon
  • Boot — trunk
  • Silencer — muffler
  • Fortnight — two weeks
  • Goods train — freight train
  • Barrister vs. solicitor — lawyer, attorney-at-law
different versions of h arry potter and the philosopher s stone
Different Versions of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

UK Edition US Edition

lot bunch

shan't won't

dustbin trashcan

jumper pull-over sweater

cine-camera video-camera

mummy mommy

glove puppet hand puppet

has the american influence ruined english
Has the American Influence Ruined English?

‘It is about a mile and a quarter in

circumference; it stands upon the flat of a

hill, the bank of the river (which they in

barbarous English call a bluff) is steep.’

--Francis Moore, a British traveler in Georgia describing the town of Savannah in 1735.

‘We must act now to insure that English –

and that, to my way of thinking, means

English English – maintains its position as

the world language well into the next


[American] ‘people tend to invent all sorts of nouns and verbs and make words that shouldn’t be.’

--Prince of Wales, 1995

has the american influence ruined english1
Has the American Influence Ruined English?
  • Did English change from Old English to Middle English to Early Modern English to Modern English?
        • British English has changed over time; as has American English.
  • Extending language to new speakers and new uses will always change language.
        • Can you think of examples of this?
why does english have such a differences compared to british english
Why does English have such a differences compared to British English?

Thomas Jefferson:

There are so many differences between us and England, of soil, climate, culture, productions, laws, religion and government, that we must be left far behind the march of circumstances, were we to hold ourselves rigorously to their standard…Judicious neology can alone give us strength and copiousness to our language, and enable it to be the vehicle of new ideas.

what does this quote illustrate
What does this quote illustrate?
  • The importance of language and identity
  • The need to show separation from a nation that once ruled them
    • The term America was adopted in 1782
    • In 1802 the U.S. Congress first used the term The American Language
benjamin franklin
Benjamin Franklin
  • In 1768 Franklin wrote A Scheme for a New Alphabet and a Reformed Mode of Spelling
Much as the imperfections of the alphabet will admit of; the present bad spelling is only bad because contrary to the present bad rules: under the new rules it would be good -- the difficulty of learning to spell well in the old way is so great, that few attain it; thousands and thousands writing on to old age, without ever being able to acquire it. 'Tis, besides a difficulty continually increasing; as the sound gradually varies more and more from the spelling: and to foreigners.
The new system of spelling did not catch

one. Franklin was successful, however in

changing the spelling a some words such as:

theater for theatre

honor for honour

plow for plough

curb for kerb

noah webster
Noah Webster

During the American Revolution, schoolbooks, which had previously been imported from Britain, became scarce. A Connecticut teacher called Noah Webster filled the gap by writing a speller, a grammar and a reader. His speller became a bestseller and was thus very influential.

He published The American Spelling Book in 1788 -- later to be called The Elementary Spelling Book -- and over the following 40 years the book went through about 300 editions. It sold more than 60 million copies by the end of the 19th century.

In 1828, Noah Webster published the

American Dictionary of the English

Language. This edition sold only 2500

copies and left him broke.

However, the book had a profound impact

on American English

webster s successful contributions
Webster’s Successful Contributions
  • He was the first to document distinctively American vocabulary such as skunk, hickory, and chowder.
  • Most people credit Noah Webster for the differences in spelling between American and British English and that he had a major influence on spelling norms in America. 
webster s unsuccessful contributions
Webster’s Unsuccessful Contributions
  • He believed that children should learn to speak by pronouncing each syllable separately and dearly. Therefore silent letters such as the “u” in colour had to be discarded. Spellings such as “tough women” became “tuf wimmen”.
After Webster’s death in 1843, Charles and George Merriam bought the rights to his dictionaries and published the first Merriam-Webster dictionary in 1847.
other factors affecting american english
Other Factors Affecting American English
  • The Mississippi River and transportation of goods and people
  • The Gold Rush
  • Cowboys
  • Gambling
  • The Transcontinental Railroad
  • World Wars
  • Immigration