American and British English

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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. windshield (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 OFF

FOUR 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 wrap

RUG

FOUR MAIN CATEGORIES OF VOCABULARY DIFFERENCES

3) Same word, difference in style, connotation, frequency or use
Style formal/ informal

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