Welcome to the Langfocus channel
and my name is Paul.
Today we’ll be answering the question
“How are British English and American English Different?”
One of the most commonly asked questions by learners of English.
And hopefully native speakers of English will learn a thing or two from this video as well.
The truth is that both British and American English have numerous varieties,
in other words various accents and dialects,
so for the main part of this video
I will try to focus on the most standard,
non-regional variety of each one.
Disclaimer: I’m not American,
I’m actually Canadian.
But I’m confident
that we will someday be Americans after the invasion.
Standard Canadian English is very very close to General American English,
so I will say the American examples myself,
unless there’s some specific need to distinguish between American and Canadian pronunciations.
There are several ways in which Britain Englishand the American English are different:
词汇 发音 拼写 以及语法
vocabulary, accent, spelling, and grammar.
Let me just throw a bunch of examples at you.
在美国 人们通常称垃圾为“garbage ”或 “trash”
In the US, people generally say “garbash” or “trash”,
然而在英国 无论是字面和比喻意义 都常说 “rubbish”
while in the UK they generally say “rubbish” both literally and figuratively.
“The game was rubbish!”
美国人称度假为“go on vacation”
Americans go on vacation,
而英国人说“go on holiday” 这在美式英语中也可以
while Britishes go on holiday, and this is also possible in American English.
在美国 人们租公寓 用“apartments”
In the US people “rent apartments”,
while in the UK they “rent flats”.
In the US, if your apartment is at street level,
then you live on the first floor,
and the person above you lives on the second floor.
在英国 你住在“ground floor”
In the UK, you live on the ground floor,
and the person above you lives on the first floor.
If that person above you is unable or just too lazy to take the stairs,
在美国 他们坐电梯 用“elevater”
in the US, they’d take the “elevator”.
而在英国 他们坐电梯 用“lift”
In the UK, they’d take the “lift”.
When you’re bored at home,
in the US you might turn on the TV,
while in the UK you would turn on the “telly”.
When you step outside of your building to go for a walk,
在美国 你可能走在人行道 用“sidewalk”
in the US you might walk on the sidewalk,
而在英国 你走在人行道 用“pavement”
while in the UK you walk on the pavement.
And if you’re tired of walking,
in the US you might take the subway.
In the UK, you take the underground.
在美国 当你乘坐地铁时 穿裤子（pants）没问题
In the US, it’s perfectly ok to wear pants when you’re riding the subway,
but in the UK you’d better wear some trousers too
because “pants” means “underpants”.
And specifically women’s underpants are sometimes refer to as knickers in the UK.
So when someone overreacts to something
在美国 你可以说“Don’t get your panties in a bunch!”
in the US you might say “Don’t get your panties in a bunch!”
在英国 你可能说“Don’t get your knickers in a twist!”
In the UK you’d say “Don’t get your knickers in a twist! “
Paul how dare you be so crude.
Now I can’t show this video to my 6-year old students!
Don’t even worry about that,
those are just watching it on their phones during recess.
Going back to the word “pants” for a moment,
it can also be used in British English as an adjective,
meaning something is “crappy” or “it sucks”.
举个例子 这个唱片糟糕透了（is pants）
For example “That album is pants”.
In American English, you might say “That album sucks”.
So for the US, I’ll try to focus on General American English.
For the UK, I’d like to focus on Received Pronunciation.
These are the accents you’re likely to hear on CNN and the BBC, respectively.
American English is rhotic,
meaning that “r” sounds are always clearly pronounced.
British English is non-rhotic,
meaning that the “r” sound is not pronounced
unless it is followed by a vowel sound.
Listen to the difference.
美式英语“My father’s in the car”
US: “My father’s in the car”.
英式英语“My father’s in the car”
UK: “My father’s in the car.”
Let’s focus on two words.
US: father, UK: father
US: car, UK: car
Notice that the final r sound is not pronounced in British English.
“Father” ends in a simple schwa vowel /ˈfɑː.ðə/.
“car”中的元音延长 代替“r”的发音 /kɑː/
And in “car” the vowel sound is lengthened in place of the “r” sound /kɑː/.
Now, the thing about British non-rhotic accent that I find pretty wild
is something called the intrusive “r”.
That means that people sometimes add an r-sound
to a word that doesn’t actually have one,
if it’s followed by a vowel in the next word.
例如 句子“l saw a film”
For example, in the sentence “I saw a film”.
在英式英语中 这句话听起来像“l sawr a film”
In British English it sometimes sounds like this: “I saw’r a film”.
So you can hear that there’s an “r” sound connecting “saw” and “a”.
I once had British on-the-job trainer,
and I remember she said
“Hello my name is Paula-r and I’ll be your trainer today”.
I remember thinking Pauler?
What, you can’t say your own name?
But, it wasn’t just her.
That was the “intrusive r”.
In British English and again,
I must emphasize that I’m talking about the accent referred to as Received Pronunciation,
T sounds are pronounced as hard t’s,
in other words voiceless /t/ sounds.
In the US, they sometimes sound like /ɾ/(an alveolar tap)
instead of /t/ (an alveolar stop).
This normally occurs in an unstressed syllable, between 2 vowel sounds,
or between a vowel and a rhotic sound (like an “r” sound).
In the US people say butter [ˈbʌɾɚ].
And in the UK, they say butter /ˈbʌ.tə/.
在美国 读/stɑp ˈfʌɪɾɪŋ/
In the US: Stop fighting! /stɑp ˈfʌɪɾɪŋ/.
在英国 读/stɒp ˈfʌɪtɪŋ/
In the UK: Stop fighting! /stɒp ˈfʌɪtɪŋ/.
You may have also noticed the “o” sound in the word “stop” was a little different,
which brings me to O sounds
In the word “stop”, the American “o” sound is an unrounded vowel /ɑ/,
while the British “o” sound is rounded /ɒ/.
Another example: /hɑt/ /hɒt/.
There is also the “o” diphthong in the word “know”.
In the UK: /nəʊ/.
In the UK the sound is a schwa followed by /ʊ/ as in “put”.
US: show /ʃoʊ/ UK: /ʃəʊ/
In other words, sounds represented by the letter “a”.
/ɑː/ in UK English normally becomes an /æ/ sound in American English.
For example, in the UK: half /hɑːf/.
And in the US: half /hæf/.
Words with a /æ/ in British English remain pretty similar in American English.
in the UK: cat /kæt/.
And in the US: /kæt/.
An exception is a small set of words in which the “a” is followed by “rr”,
in which case the vowel is pronounced as /e/ in the US.
In the UK: marry /ˈmæɹɪ/. In the US:marry /ˈmɛɹi/.
Because of the difference, in the US “marry” and “Merry” sound the same.
“Carry” and “Kerry” sound the same.
American and British spellings are largely the same,
but there are a few notable differences.
This is in large part because Noah Webster
whom the Webster dictionary is named after
made an effort to reform English spelling in the 1700s,
in order to make the words spelled the way they sounded.
This resulted in some spelling changes in American English.
Most but not all words that end in ~re in the UK
end in ~er in the US.
例如 centre/ center theatre/ theater metre/ meter sombre/ somber
For example: centre/center, theatre/theater,metre/meter, sombre/somber.
Some words that end in ~nce in the UK
are spelled with ~nse in the US.
如：licence/ license defence/ defense offence/ offense
licence/license, defence/defense, offence/offense.
Some words with “ou” in the UK are spelled with “o” in the US.
比如colour/ color favour /favor honour/ honor labour/ labor等
Colour/color, favour/favor, honour/honor, labour/labor, etc.
The ending ~ise became ~ize in the US.
如organise/ organize apologise/ apologize
A similar change also occurs in other contexts where the “s” is voiced in other words it makes a /z/ sound.
如analyse/ analyze cosy/ cozy
There are verbs ending with “l”
that take a doubled “l” in British English when a suffix is added.
In American English there is no double “l”.
如travelled/ traveled cancelled/ canceled marvellous/ marvelous
travelled/traveled, cancelled/canceled, marvellous/marvelous.
If you’re wondering how the last one fits in with the others,
remember that “marvel” is a verb,
and then an adjectival suffix is added to it.
There are only very minor grammaric differences between British English and American English.
British people use “shall” for the future much more than Americans,
as well as to ask for advice or an opinion.
Some difference in preposition is:
In the US, people say “on the weekend”,
but in the UK they say “at the weekend”.
And in the US, people say “different from” or “different than”,
but in the UK they say “different from” or “different to”.
There are some different past tense forms.
For example, in American English the past tense of the world “learn” is “learned”,
while in British English it’s more common to say “learnt”.
Actually both forms are used in either country,
but there is more of tendency towards one form.
This is true for other words
如dreamed/ dreamt burned/ burnt leaned/ leant等
like dreamed vs. dreamt, burned vs. burnt, leaned vs. leant, and etc.
Another example, in the US, the past tense of dive is usually “dove”.
In the UK it’s “dived”.
Maybe the American form developed by analogywith “drive” and “drove”.
Anyways, differences like these are not consistent,
but you’ll notice some different past tense forms here and there.
Sometimes past participles have a different form.
The most well-known example is for the verb “get”.
在美国 它的变化是get/ got/ gotten
In the US, there’s get/ got/ gotten.
但在英国 它则变化为get/ got/ got
But in the UK, it’s get /got /got/.
Both forms got and gotten have existed since the MiddleEnglish period,
but “gotten” has fallen out of use in the UK.
在美式英语中 “got”也可以用于“have got”
“Got” can be used in American English in the form “have got”,
but with the meaning of “have”, not “have received/ have become”.
US: I haven’t gotten the eviction notice yet.
UK: I haven’t got the eviction notice yet.
All right, let’s check a couple of more sentences.
and see what we encounter
在美国 用“l think we need a lawyer”来表示我们需要一个律师
In the US: I think we need a lawyer.
在英国 这句话写做“I reckon we need a solicitor”
In the UK: I reckon we need a solicitor.
You’ll notice that a couple of words are different.
British people often use the word “reckon” which means “think” or “suppose”.
Americans know this word, but rarely use it.
And while Americans would typically refer to a professional legal consultant as a lawyer,
in the UK they often say “solicitor” which is a type of lawyer that does consultation.
The type of lawyer who represents you in court in the UK is usually a barrister,
while in the US they are usually referred to as attorneys.
Another sentence. In the US: I’m going for a beer with my friends.
In the UK: I’m going for a pint with my mates.
可以注意到 英国人常用“pint”表示啤酒 而美国人则说“beer”
Notice that British people often say “pint”where Americans would say “beer”.
British also say beer as a countable noun like this, but pint is frequently used.
And notice that Britishes often say “mate”
where Americans would say “friend”.
The differences between British English and American English might seem surprising or amusing,
但记住 在这个视频里 我放大并强调了它们的差异
but remember: in this video I’m zooming in on the differences and focusing on them.
For the most part they are actually the same.
他们只是在词汇 发音 语法和拼写上 有细微的差异
There are some minor differences in vocabulary, in pronunciation, in grammar, and in spelling,
but any native speaker with a little bit of exposure to the other
will quickly adapt to these differences
and be able to understand the other variety without any problem.
The differences are sometimes greater
if we focus on regional dialects and sociolects of British English and American English.
While most Americans probably have no troubleunderstanding Received Pronunciation,
they may have some trouble understanding Cockney English,
or the Georgie accent of Northeastern England, or other varieties.
But as far as standard, non-regional speech goes,
I’d say that the differences are minimal.
However learners of English who focus on one of the two varieties
will likely have a little bit of trouble understanding the other
until they gain significant exposure to it.
The Question of The Day
What other differences between American and British English are you aware of?
In this video I was only able to give a limited number of examples,
so add yours in the comments!
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各位观众 感谢欣赏 祝好心情
And to everyone out there, thank you for watching and have a nice day.
Thank you for watching and have a nice day.