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  1. #1
    guofei_ma Guest

    Default British and American English Differences

    Greetings, chaps:

    This forum is for discussion on the differences between British and American English. There is no need to discuss different spellings since webpages that provide basic American/British spelling differences can be found all over the Internet. Rather, what would be of interest are vocabulary differences, pronunciation differences, intonation differences and the tendencies of people from different regions to use different expressions, colloquialisms, idioms, and "speaking styles".

    Here's my first contribution to the forum-
    Different vowels are pronounced "ah" in British and American varieties of English.
    The "a" in father, bard, and lark is pronounced "ah" everywhere.
    The "a" in path, laugh, and class is pronounced "ah" in Southern England but pronounced as the short a in Northern England and in the United States.
    The "o" in proper, locker, and opulent is pronounced "ah" in Southwestern England and in the United States but pronounced "o" with the lips rounded in the Southeastern England, Northern England, Wales, and Scotland.

    Here's my first query-
    I would be interested in knowing when Canadians use the "ah" sound.

  2. #2
    Anonymous Guest

    Default Re: British and American English Differences

    I filched this from somewhere a while ago:

    The dime.
    The dime easier.
    They tell me the dime easier.
    They tell me the dime easier to understand.
    They tell me that I'm easier to understand.

    The last two sentences above should be pronounced exactly the same, no matter how they are written. It is the sound that is important, not the spelling.
    Agree?

  3. #3
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: British and American English Differences

    Quote Originally Posted by guofei_ma
    Greetings, chaps:

    This forum is for discussion on the differences between British and American English. There is no need to discuss different spellings since webpages that provide basic American/British spelling differences can be found all over the Internet. Rather, what would be of interest are vocabulary differences, pronunciation differences, intonation differences and the tendencies of people from different regions to use different expressions, colloquialisms, idioms, and "speaking styles".

    Here's my first contribution to the forum-
    Different vowels are pronounced "ah" in British and American varieties of English.
    The "a" in father, bard, and lark is pronounced "ah" everywhere.
    The "a" in path, laugh, and class is pronounced "ah" in Southern England but pronounced as the short a in Northern England and in the United States.
    The "o" in proper, locker, and opulent is pronounced "ah" in Southwestern England and in the United States but pronounced "o" with the lips rounded in the Southeastern England, Northern England, Wales, and Scotland.

    Here's my first query-
    I would be interested in knowing when Canadians use the "ah" sound.
    I'm afraid I'm not Canadian, so I'll have to go and ask some and come back to you. :D

  4. #4
    guofei_ma Guest

    Default Re: British and American English Differences

    "They tell me that I'm easier to understand"
    "They tell me the dime easier to understand"

    The two phrases are pronounced the same in American English but differently in British English. In British English, the former phrase is pronounced...

    "They tell me tha time easier to understahnd."

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: British and American English Differences

    This is waht a Canadian speaker told me:

    "Father" and "proper" both have the ah sound. "Talk" is the same.


  6. #6
    guofei_ma Guest

    Default

    Thank you, TDOL. From what you posted, I deduce that Canadian pronunciation is closer to American than British, which implies that geographic proximity is much more influential than political affiliation. I wonder why the majority of Mexicans cannot speak English semi-fluently- perhaps it is lack of education in English, which either means that Mexico is too poor to offer free and compulsory public education or has not mandated English classes in schools.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: British and American English Differences

    It could also have to do with the fact that their mother tongue is Spanish.

  8. #8
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by guofei_ma
    I wonder why the majority of Mexicans cannot speak English semi-fluently- perhaps it is lack of education in English, which either means that Mexico is too poor to offer free and compulsory public education or has not mandated English classes in schools.
    Why would Mexico be any different from any other non-English speaking country?

    As far as I'm aware Mexico does have a compulsory public education system. Whether English is mandated or not I've no idea; I would guess so.

    I studied French at school - it was mandated - do I speak any French now. Non!

    Iain

  9. #9
    Samantha Guest

    Default Candianisms

    I grew up in California near San Francisco (PLEEESE don't call it Frisco- no one FROM here does :? ), spent a lot of time with family in the gold country (a couple hours north of Sacramento, the capital of California), attend university in Washington State (two years in eastern WA and two years in Western WA-practically two different states) and have a Canadian roommate. I really love listening for differences in the english language, primarily in North Americans (simply because they're the only ones that I've been in contact with...).

    My roommate is from Southern Alberta, the province in Canada that is directly north of Montana. Her accent is a blend from Canada and Utah because Southern Alberta has a strong Utah influence (pioneers from Utah settled in Alberta sometime in the mid to late 1800's). Her father is a hoot to listen to because he talks about "bar pits" (a strictly utah phrase-comes from "borrow" meaning the ditch on the side of the road because you borrow the dirt from the ditch to make the road...) and finishes his sentence with "eh?".

    My roommate usually sounds like a West coast American except when she pronounces these words:

    llama- the "a" pronounced like in the word lamb, as in Mary had a little...
    process- the "o" is a long o, americans say"prahcess"

    Otherwise she usually just annunciates her words more clearly (I've noticed this in several canadians).

    Here are a few words and phrases that she uses that also amuse me:

    -garberator- garbage disposal
    -runners- running shoes
    -icing sugar- powdered sugar
    -grade 10, as opposed to 10th grade, or even the nomenclature Freshman, sophmore, junior, senior-she'd never heard of these until she moved to the states
    -she also doesn't go to college, she goes to university

    According to her (just an average Canadian citizen...) Canada as a whole is more similar to the States than it is to England. The culture in Western Canada is more similar to West Coast United States than it is to the eastern half of it's own country.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: British and American English Differences

    OMG I can't believe what I am reading here. Mexico, as many non-english speaking countries, has people that, whatever foreign language they learn, might as well speak it not fluently and with a strong accent.

    I think in this sentence I have said several things to make a point:

    1. Mexico is a non english speaking country. Mexican's mother tongue is spanish as lib appointed.

    2. Whatever foreign language people learn means that, if mexican people, or chinese people or proeple from whatever country you can recall, learn a foreign language such as french, german, sweden (not only english!) will probably have an accent when speaking. The same as Americans, or British or Canadians; when they learn Spanish they always have a strong accent and have trouble speaking Spanich fluently.

    3. So... it doesn't have to be people form Mexico, or English, or compulsory public education (which we have, so please get informed before making statements like this), but it has to do with:

    a. having x or y mother tongue
    b. learning a foreign language
    c. the age when the foreign language is acquired
    d. practice- hours
    e. interaction with native speakers.
    f. many other factors that influence in acquiring new vocabulary, fluency and pronunciation more like a native speaker, less foreign accent.

    Thanks!

    Sandy (from Mexico)

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