Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Historical backdrop of US and British English

The British and the American English are presently the accepted reference norms for English language as spoken, written, and taught in the world. Although U.S English and  British English are mutually intelligible there are enough differences to cause in everyday life languages often arising the need for  Helpful Translations for U.S. Visitors to Northern England or vice versa. The lexicon differences can sometimes lead to complete failure of communication. U.S English is much more casual while the northern England English is much formal in nature.

 The first divergences between US and British English have a historical and nationalistic origin. Early America was an accidental discovery by Italian-born merchant and explorer Amerigo Vespucci while he was exploring for a new sea route to India for profitable spice trade. The first known inhabitants were the red Indians who were ruthlessly cleansed by the early white settlers. They had their own language and culture.  The English language was introduced to the native and American settlers in the early 17th century during the British colonization. At that time English had also spread to other parts of the world due to the vast British Empire.

 From the beginning, the early American settlers borrowed and adopted words from Native American languages for various unfamiliar objects. America has been a meeting point of various cultures and linguistic groups who have accepted it as their new home. The American form of English evolved as a result of the innovation and intermixing of various language groups from different parts of the world who accepted English as their language of communication in their new found home.

The founding fathers’ of Modern America had propagated anti-English sentiment had even proposed adoption of another language as it would have been helpful in affirmation of a new national identity.

 Over the years, English spoken in the U.S and in Britain started diverging from each other in various aspects. This led to the emergence of two dialects in the form of the U.S English and the British English.

The relationship between the US and British English can be best described in separation and commonness which has a dual nature because of the American characteristics of certain continuity and separation from its parent country, Great Britain.

When American and British people meet, the first and the obvious difference noticed is their accent, pronunciation of the words.  But at a much more profound and less apparent level, the difference in making one to treat the two varieties as distinct languages. Sometimes, even words are used in different ways to mean the same thing. There also exist some distinct differences in spelling and grammar between the two English siblings. It is for this reason that many American visitors take her Helpful Translations for U.S. Visitors to Northern England or vice versa.

People who want to learn English as a foreign language can decide opt between U.S or British English center.  However, schools and universities usually teach British English. Only in the recent years have educational institutes included an analysis of the dissimilarities between the two forms of the English language because of the increasing contact with the two varieties.