Lesson 79 — BRITISH and AMERICAN ENGLISH
HOPE COVE South Devon (UK)
You know the world of English is a fun and exciting place to be.
I’m so glad you could join me for another lesson.
LESSON 52 FIFTY TWO
Hi everybody, this is Misterduncan in England.
How are you today?
Are you OK?.. I hope so!
Are you happy?.. I hope so!
In today’s lesson, we will look at one of the most varying parts
of the English language which seems to cause a great deal of confusion
for those who are in the process of learning it.
Today we will look at the differences between …British and American English.
Do you want to go out to night?
When we say British English, what we are actually referring to
is the way in which English is spoken to in the United Kingdom.
This includes Wales, Scotland, and Nothern Ireland where English is spoken widly.
For some people the term ‘British English’ is a misleading one.
But the fact remains that this terminology is the usual one
When it comes to decribing the way in which English is spoken
here in the UK.
These days the term ‘Standard English’ is slowly being used less and less.
Mainly due to the realisation that there is no real standard way of speaking English.
The basic academic rules of English tend to be the same,
Wherever in the world it is being used.
It is a common question and one of which is often posed to me.
What are the differences between the way English is spoken in England (&UK)
and the way it is used in the USA?
Well, this is not an easy question to answer quickly.
It would be better to break the differences down into sections…
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN NOUNS
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SPELLING and GRAMMAR
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN PRONUNCIATION
When it comes to word ‘usage’, there are quite a large number of words which differ between
British and American English.
Now we will take a look at some of these words.
This list is not exhaustive, but many of the words here are in common use.
Flat = Apartment
Building = Block
Pavement = Sidewalk
Road = Route
Motorway = Freeway
Junction = Fork
Roundabout = Traffic Circle
Phone Box = Phone Booth
These days, payphone is used in both British and American English.
Film = Movie
Headmaster = Principal
Caretaker = Janitor
Photo = Snap-shot
Public School = Private School
State School = Public School
Marks (exam) = Grades
Term = Semester
When it comes to actually speaking English, then the slight differences between
British and American English become more obvious.
American English tend to put more emphasis on the consonant sounds,
especially the letter ‘R’.
This is very apparent in words beginning with ‘R’ such as…
Red, Really, Robert and Rich.
VOWEL SOUNDS such as those made by the letter ‘A’ are also emphasised.
The letter ‘T’ is a good one to look closely at.
Occasionally in American English the ‘T’ sound is not pronounced the same
as it is in British English.
For example…LETTER, BETTER, BOTTLE, THROTTLE, METAL.
More general words:
(water) tap = faucet
Power Socket = Power Outlet
(Electricity Loss) Power Cut = (Blackout) Outage
Tin = Can
Shopping Trolley = Shopping Cart
Shop = Store
Food Shop = Grocery Store
Corner Shop = Convenience Store
Sellotape = Scotch Tape
Tippex = White-Out
Settee/Sofa = Couch
Holiday = Vacation
Maths = Math
Iced Lolly = Popsicle
Crisps = Potato Chips
Sweets = Candy
Candy Floss = Cotton Candy
Cashpoint = ATM
Till = Cash Register
Estate Agent = Realtor
There are many ways of finding out the differences between American and British English.
Most English dictionaries now point out these variations within their word definition listings,
normally within the alternative spelling being placed next to whichever word is being defined.
PARTS OF A CAR or AN AUTOMOBILE:
Bonnet = Hood
Boot = Trunk
Petrol = Gas
Windscreen = Windshield
Number Plate = License Plate
(Gear Stick) Gear Lever = (Stick) Gear Shift
Exhaust Pipe = Tail Pipe
(HGV) Lorry = Truck
Fire Engine = Fire Truck
Caravan = Trailer
Police Car = (Squad Car) Patrol Car
Estate Car = Station Wagon
Car Park = Parking Lot
Car Journey = Road Trip
(Movement) Overtake (v) = Pass