Tips for differentiating British English from American English

Published on : 06 May 20204 min reading time

The British and Americans may share the same language, but there are still differences between speakers from the United Kingdom and the United States. Like all languages, English has differences in pronunciation, accents, words, and so on. English has two standard variants which are both correct. These are British English and American English. In the United States as well as in the United Kingdom, there are several dialects, but what is spoken here is English in general. It is not difficult to get used to it even with different kinds of English. To get into the details, then, you need to know the main distinctions between British and American English. It is essential to know both variants of English so that you don’t make mistakes when talking to many people with different accents in many countries around the world. These differences, however, relate to vowels, consonants, pronunciation, as well as tonic accent, and different vocabularies.

Differences in vowels

The vowels appear in the differences between the two variants of the English language. Indeed, vowels carry the melody of a language and also an accent. If you know the vowels used by the Americans or the English, the distinction between their accents will be easy.
However, the vowels in some words are for British English and American English especially in the phonetics of the words. So, it is easy to recognize the American and British accent if you know how to differentiate the vowels, because if you hear the sound in British English, you will be able to know the sound in American English and vice versa.
So it is the sound and pronunciation of vowels that are different from each other in the two variants of English.

Difference in consonants

Apart from the vowels, there are also differences in the consonants for the two types of English. The best known is the consonant R which, for British English, is not pronounced at the end of words. On the other hand, for American English, the R at the end of a word is well pronounced. Then, when the t is between two vowels, there is a change of sound in American English. This is not the case in British English. In British English, the consonant t is very articulate in all contexts.
These are then the specificities to remember in English consonant pronunciation. This helps to differentiate the English of the two countries. In sound and pronunciation, there is therefore a distinction in certain consonants of the two English languages.

Pronunciation as well as tonic accent

The pronunciation of the words differs in the two languages. The British and Americans often use the same words, but there is a difference in the emphasis of the syllable. It is also because they pronounce the words in different ways. In fact, there is no precise rule that allows us to know this non resemblance. You just have to know how to listen and know the phonetics to recognize English in this case.
For example, in diphthongs, there are several words that are equal, but the pronunciation is not the same. To do this, listening to discussions would allow you to know the accent. It will also help to know the kinds of words with a particular pronunciation that it makes memorize. In addition, if you get to know the pronunciations, you will be able to master English in both styles.

Word Difference

You can’t stop at accent and pronunciation. There is also a distinction between words and vocabulary. There are spelling inequalities for many words in English. On the other hand, some words are very different from each other, not only in spelling, but the meaning of some British expressions changes in American English and vice versa. The two English languages are similar, but they are not identical. They understand each other, but sometimes there are misunderstandings about certain expressions.
There are, however, a lot of unequal words between the two. So you have to memorize them so that you don’t make mistakes.

As far as grammar is concerned, there are nouns, verbs and spelling which must also be taken into account. The agreement of the verb with collective nouns is also different. In American English, collective nouns are always singular. On the other hand, in British English, collective nouns can be singular or plural depending on the context.
Also in terms of grammar, for British people, the perfect present tense is used for an action that has an effect on the present moment; whereas for Americans, the preterite is used in this situation.
Spelling can also have non-similarities in both cases. With suffixes, one must know the grammatical rules of both in order to know how to write the word.

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