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Why are British English and American English so different?

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Estro Felino, Dec 5, 2018.

  1. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    I mean...they sound like two completely different language....so many differences as for phonology...how is that possible? I mean...only 3 centuries separate the English from the Pilgrim Fathers




     
  2. Rival

    Rival Cybercommander
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    Mostly it seems because vowels in Germanic languages seem inherently unstable. That along with natural language changes. Personally, I dislike English vowels and wish they'd sound more like continental ones; ours are too raised.
     
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  3. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    You mean Scandinavian languages...particularly.
    German and Italian have the same vowels;)

    btw my question was: what made English change so much once it crossed the ocean:..:D
     
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  4. columbus

    columbus Conservative Catholic from Hell

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    They're probably going to get a lot more different as Brits are influenced by Muslim immigrants and America by Hispanics.
    Tom
     
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  5. Woberts

    Woberts The Perfumed Seneschal

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    There are different populations influencing the language. For example, you don't have as much of a Spanish influence on British English as you do is American English, as the majority of Spanish speaking countries are closer to America. Plus, you have practically every other language on Earth mixing with British English due to the fact that it's not across the Mediterranean.
     
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  6. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva
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    Hehe. Then you have Canadian English which is a Hodge-podge of both. EH! I guess that is why the English and Americans like us as they can sort of understand almost everything we are saying.
     
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  7. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
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    It was British English that has changed. British English at the time of the American Revolution sounded more like us today.
     
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  8. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    And don't forget speakers of 'Strine!
     
  9. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Ignorant Heathen Libertarian Capitalist
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    But if I go to Timmie's for a double double without loonies or toonies, that's a real kerfuffle, eh!
    Btw, only us codgers know the difference twixt a chesterfield & a davenport.
     
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  10. Rival

    Rival Cybercommander
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    They say the Virginian accent in particular (I don't know if there is a specific 'Virginian accent' though).

    But I would still disagree. There have always been very many accents in this country and they vary from one village to another. Even more so before radio and television. Some Northern accents were not even intelligible to Southerners, because they are closer to original English and have many Nordic influences.
     
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  11. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva
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    Que? Je ne le comprandes pas.
     
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  12. It Aint Necessarily So

    It Aint Necessarily So Well-Known Member
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    For the same reason that old world monkeys are different from new world monkeys - evolution, although in this case, it is linguistic evolution, not biological. Lexicons are like gene pools. They vary naturally, and when you introduce geographical separation, their evolutionary paths diverge

    It's remarkable how language families, like biological taxonomy, yields nested hierarchies. We see the same thing with religions and their denominations. They vary due to human nature over time, and schism yields divergent evolution of the belief systems.
     
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  13. Axe Elf

    Axe Elf Prophet

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    They're not THAT different, compared to say, French and English--but even New York English is different from Texas English.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Hi, I'm Axe Elf, and I'm hooked on phonics. Oh, it all started innocently enough, with just a phoneme or two on the weekends, but before I knew it, I was up to a three syllable a day habit...
     
  14. Mindmaster

    Mindmaster Well-Known Member
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    But, it's who came here that differ. Mostly, Quakers and Puritans. :D Basically, what you're dealing with in England is a mash-up of Anglo-Saxon, British (in this context, what would be known as Welsh these days), Normand, and Scandinavian language influences. Those variances do not really manifest in mid-17th century Protestants who came to America who started living side by side with the German's, Irish, Polish, and Italians -- and similarly had their language shaped by those people somewhat. The Irish influence in America is pretty hilarious, because while we borrow none of their slang we borrow their way of pitching our language when expressing ourselves emotionally. It's subtle. :D (You will generally find that Irish and Americans use the exact same tone when amazed with something, for example.) The Italians softened our vowels, but the Germans strengthened our constants. That being said, we still have a ton of regional dialects here in the USA.
     
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  15. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Oldest Heretic

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    It is not so much that American English has changed as it is close to the dialects that they took with them across the Atlantic all those years ago.
    On the other hand British English has changed dramatically and lost a majority of its dialects to retrieved English since the arrival of the RADIO.

    When I first met my Father in law in the late 50's I could hardly understand him as he spoke a Kentish Dialect, that no one speaks today.

    However when you hear actors speaking in American Films from the 30's they sound totally different than today.
    Australia also speaks an earlier form of English that is almost unchanged.
     
  16. Rival

    Rival Cybercommander
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    Yes they do. All these languages' influences took place centuries before the founding of the US. The last one, the Norman, was around 450 years before.
     
  17. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity simple man
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    The 'Southern' US accent is a relic of The Queen's English from centuries ago. The northern USA has experienced a lot more immigration and is changed by that. The West coast has had its influences. The entire country has experienced at least some immigration, and don't forget the American Indian influences. The British have also changed their speech somewhat and have several accents, besides. There has been a movement among English teachers to freeze the language and to standardize it, but it has failed. They have tried to teach Southerners not to use the word 'Aint' for instance. If I ever used 'Aint' on a paper I would lose points, but it was the teachers who were wrong about that not me. 'Aint' is a real English word and can be very useful. There's also nothing evil about the word 'Yall'. Its just that the English teachers are trying to control forces that they don't understand or can't accept.
     
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  18. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    Willard Espy, Words at Play...

    speakers of Australian English..."et's stalk Strine, Mate; nah lemme tahk to Brine!"
     
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  19. Stevicus

    Stevicus Well-Known Member
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    Actually, it's 4 centuries, but who's counting?

    I recall reading that much of it was due to any lack of standardization prior to the 19th century. But by that time, we were already separate countries, with American English becoming influenced by Noah Webster, while the British standardization went along a different path. One thing I came across was the idea that the British considered the French language to be more elegant and refined, which is why they added the superfluous "u" to words like "color" or spelled words like "theater" similar to the French "theatre."

    We Americans took a more practical approach, whereas the British were more concerned with style over substance, wanting to sound more "elegant" and "sophisticated" than their low-brow cousins across the pond. ;)

    I have little difficulty understanding British pronunciation or accents, but what often throws me is word choice. Words like "spanner," when it's properly known as a "wrench." Or the thing we call a "truck" - the British call it a "lorry." And don't even get me started on "football."
     
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  20. YmirGF

    YmirGF Bodhisattva
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    [​IMG]
     
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