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American English

15 Nov 2023

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On November 23rd it’s Thanksgiving in the USA so it got us thinking here at Local Links how many differences in language between American English and British English language there is, most notably differences in vocabulary, spelling, and pronunciation.

One reason for the divergence between American English and British English is the historical separation of the two regions. The English language was brought to North America by British colonisers in the 17th and 18th centuries. Over time, as the American colonies developed their own distinct identity, so did their language. As a result, American English borrowed words and expressions from Native American languages, and later incorporated influences from immigrant communities, such as German, Spanish, and French.

Vocabulary differences are perhaps the most noticeable contrast between American and British English. For example, Americans say "elevator," while the British say "lift," or Americans say "truck," while the British say "lorry." There are also variations in spellings, such as "color" (American) versus "colour" (British), or "center" (American) versus "centre" (British).

Pronunciation is another area of difference. Some words are pronounced differently, such as "tomato" (AM: tuh-MAY-toh, BR: tuh-MAH-toh), or "schedule" (AM: SKED-yool, BR: SHED-yool).... lets not even go there with aluminium!

These variations in American and British English reflect the influence of different cultures, historical events, and regional dialects. While the core foundation of the language remains the same, the distinct differences between American English and British English offer a rich linguistic tapestry that highlights the diversity and evolution of the English language across different parts of the world.

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