AMERICAN AND BRITISH ENGLISH Lexical and grammatical differences LEXICAL DIFFERENCES • Vocab – most noticeable differences • Differ in: – total meaning OR – in one particular sense of usage OR – totally unknown in some varieties REASONS FOR VOCABULARY DIFFERENCES i) New objects & experiences encountered in N. America – new names – adapt or neulogism (i. e.
create new word, expression or usage) e. g. corn (US); maize (UK) robin ? small red-breasted (Eng. ) large red-breasted (US) REASONS FOR VOCABULARY DIFFERENCES ii) Technological & cultural developments e. g.
indshield (US) windscreen (Eng. ) trunk boot iii) Influence of other languages: American Indian – hickory moccasin squash toboggan Spanish – tornado; African – goober REASONS FOR VOCABULARY DIFFERENCES iv) Independent linguistic change: – some preserve archaisms – some lost it – new meaning for old words The highest proportion of borrowing – AmeEng ? EngEng brief-case cafeteria FOUR MAIN CATEGORIES OF VOCABULARY DIFFERENCES 1) Same word, different meaning EngEng AmeEng HOMELY • down to earth ugly (people) • homey PANTS underpants trousers to make angry TO TICK to scold OFFFOUR MAIN CATEGORIES OF VOCABULARY DIFFERENCES 2) Same word, additional meaning in one variety (involves metaphorical extension) Meaning in common BATHROOM Additional meaning in AmeEng DUMB room with bath or room with toilet shower & sink only (also rest room) mute stupid REGULAR consistent, habitual Average (size), normal FOUR MAIN CATEGORIES OF VOCABULARY DIFFERENCES 2) Same word, additional meaning in one variety (involves metaphorical extension) Meaning in common SMART SURGERY intelligent a medical operation or operating room a thick carpet Additional meaning in EngEng well-groomed an office of a doctor a thick wrapRUG FOUR MAIN CATEGORIES OF VOCABULARY DIFFERENCES 3) Same word, difference in style, connotation, frequency or use Style formal/ informal Connotation Frequency positive/ negative common/ uncommon FOUR MAIN CATEGORIES OF VOCABULARY DIFFERENCES 3) Same word, difference in style, connotation, frequency or use. For example: EngEng Usage Autumn Clever common, all styles common; positive (smart, dextrous) negative / neutral AmEng uncommon less common usually neg. positive QuiteFOUR MAIN CATEGORIES OF VOCABULARY DIFFERENCES 4)Same concept or item, different word – not widely known or known AmEng only Emcee Faucet Sophomore corresponds to EngEng compere tap 2nd year student FOUR MAIN CATEGORIES OF VOCABULARY DIFFERENCES EngEng only Hire purchase Queue Nought corresponds to AmEng installment buying line zero AmEng to call Can Couch Gas To make a reservation EngEng to ring tin sofa petrol to book Grammatical differences MORPHOLOGY 1.
Inflection Verbs: a) In AmeEng some irregular verbs become regularised but remain irregular in EngEng: BurnSpill EngEng (P & PP) AmeEng (P & PP) Burnt Burned spilt Spilled MORPHOLOGY b) Some regular EngEng verbs – /i/ in present tense ? /? / in past & pp but no change in AmEng: EngEng (p & pp) AmEng (p & pp) Leap leapt Leaped Kneel knelt kneeled c) More irregularities in AmEng forms (some): Dive dived dove dived Get got got gotten 2. DERIVATIONAL (a) Deriving new verbs – adding suffixes/prefixes onto adjectives/ nouns. AmeEng more prolific ~ -ify; -ize (b) Forming new words by changing their grammatical classes e. g. noun? verb Americans do this more often e. g.
an author ? to author