Muresan Camelia Vasilica
LRE I / 1
American vs. British EnglishBasic Differences and Influences of Change
American English acquired international significance after World War II, when the United States assumed a more global role and political, economic and technological developments promoted American influence worldwide. American English currently asserts a dominant influence on "world English" (cf. British English) largely due to the following:
Population: U.S. vs. U.K. (SAE/SBE ca 70% vs. 17% of all native English;
Wealth of the U.S. vs. the U.K. economy, & influences
Magnitude of higher education in America vs. the U.K.
Magnitude of the publishing industry in America
Magnitude of mass media and media technology influence on a worldwide scale
Appeal of American popular culture on language & habits
International political and economic position of the U.S.
American and British English are both "variants" of the English Language, more similar than different, especially with "educated" or "scientific" English. Most divergence is due to differences in national history and national cultural development, varying regional and local idioms and colloquialisms, and media/advertising influences.
The following general categories of difference between standard American English (SAE) and standard British English (SBE) each have their own sociolectic value:
I. Different Pronunciation, although same spelling
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Controversy, Laboratory, Secretary
Leisure, schedule, dance, dynasty
Renaissance, oregano, clerk [bank, office], ate
'PC'-influence examples: harass, harassment, Uranus, etc.
II. Different Spelling, although same pronunciation
Colour — color, Centre — center
Cheque — check (noun form [bank]; verb "to check" the same)
Defence — defense (noun form), Licence (noun form) — license
Alright — all right; Manoeuvre — maneuver; tyre — tire
Ageing — aging; Whisky — whiskey (U.S. & Ireland)
Gaol — jail