American English

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  • Topic: English language, American English, British English
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American English
Chapter 12
Monday, 4th of Feb.
Haifa Almotiary

1.         How did the values of “Puritanism” and “republicanism” contribute to the will to simplify American English during the 1770s--1830s? The first ideal may be linked to the Puritanism value of thriftiness and the second to republicanism, that is, democratic ideas about social sharing and the role of any privileged class in interpreting language for other less privileged classes  

2.         What are some of the simplifications from British to American English that occurred in the area of spelling? (-mme) to (-m), (-our) to (or), (-gg) to (-g), (-ll) to (-l), (-logue) to (-log) .. etc. Examples:

British: programme, colour, waggon, woollen, dialogue, judgement & aluminium. American: program, color, wagon, woolen, dialog, judgment & aluminum.  
3.         What are some simplifications that took place in terms of morphology (e.g., at the word level)? British: maths, innings, towards, backwards, sailing boat, sparking plug, dumper truck, musical box & cookery book, American: math, inning, toward, backward, sail boat, spark plug, dump truck, music box & cook-book.  

4.         What are some simplifications that took place in the way of syntax?  Do the American English differences ring true for you? Sentences in British English are longer than on American English. Examples: British: the exams started on Monday, where do you want to get off?, we’ll stay at home today. American: the exams started Monday, where do you want to off?, we’ll stay home today.  

5.         Kovecses finds evidence for linguistic economy as being a strong force in American Literature.  He provides examples from Cooper and Hemingway that evidence this tendency.  Can you think of any other writers who are also famous for their economy of expression?                                                          
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