Anyone that has ever tried learning a language knows how difficult learning a new language from scratch is, even when the language is as similar to our own as possible. If you are trying to learn the English language when you have never spoken it before, the process can be daunting, frustrating and tiring.
Many people understand English to be a reasonably easy language to understand and learn, probably because it lacks many of the elements that make other languages difficult to learn. However, when it comes to differentiating between American and British English, even the most experienced learners of English can experience difficulties. If you are like many that struggle with English and American English, here are the main differences between the two:
There are some general pronouncing differences between American and British accents. One the main difference is that American letters mainly end with a letter ‘r’. In most British dialects, the ‘r’ is usually not highly emphasized. Another common letter that sounds different in American English is the‘t’. Brits tend to make the letter‘t’ clearer; for example, the word computer will sound different when it is said by an American than when it is said by a Brit.
This is one of the most noticeable differences between the way Americans and Brits speak English. Both versions of English have different words that refer to the same thing. For instance, elevator and lift mean the same thing. In another example, the front of the car may be called a bonnet in Britain while it is referred to as a hood in American English.
The grammatical differences between the two versions are not as pronounced as they once were but they are still quite noticeable. For instance, the way the two countries place prepositions are different; An American would say that I’m going to a party on the weekend while a Brit would say that I’m going to a party at the weekend.
In British English, the collective nouns tend to be singular or plural while collective nouns in the US are typically by comparison. For example:
- American English: Our team is winning.
- British English: Our team are
There are also some distinct spelling differences between American and British English. For instance:
- British: centre, litre, homour, realise.
- American: center, liter, homor, realize.
Despite the obvious differences, American and British English share more similarities than it does differences. If you can learn to understand one style, it is easier to make adjustments to accommodate your audience along the way.