Autor: UNOi

Fecha: 8 de abril de 2013

American English? British English?

by Elaine Gallagher    Many times people might comment or ask you: «Is this book/movie based on British or American English?» Having grown up in the […]

Elaine Gallagher by Diego Devesa Laux
Elaine Gallagher by Diego Devesa Laux

by Elaine Gallagher   

Many times people might comment or ask you: «Is this book/movie based on British or American English?»

Having grown up in the northeastern region of the USA, known as «New England», I had never, ever heard that question until I moved to Mexico. We might have referred to the accent, but nothing more. 

It honestly seemed to me to be a silly question, about the equivalent as, «Is this book based on Spain’s Spanish or Mexican Spanish?»

Those of you concerned about Cambridge Exams, Trinity Exams, TOEFL and the like, let me assure you. NO student will obtain a low score simply because of the country of origin of the exam, the examiner, or the student. It is a very poor excuse when one doesn’t do well on an exam, saying as an excuse, «Well, our teacher is an American from USA, but the test was the Cambridge exam.» 

About eight years ago, the British Council in San Sebastian, País Vasco, Spain, told me…

WE DO NOT DIFFERENTIATE ANYMORE…WE NOW TALK ABOUT «INTERNATIONAL ENGLISH».

 FURTHERMORE 90% OF ENGLISH NOW USED IN SCIENCE, MEDICINE, and TECHNOLOGY IS AMERICAN ENGLISH, NOT THE QUEEN’S TONGUE.»      

So, administrators, teachers, students, and parents: RELAX. Learn and practice English based on CLIL philosophy, and you’ll do fine.

Yes, there are some words and spelling differences between the two countries (USA/England).

Below I’ve included some charts with words or phrases that exhibit differences. Be prepared…but don’t worry. You’ll do well!

                                                      AMERICAN / BRITISH ENGLISH

AmericanBritish
apartmentFlat
argumentRow
baby carriagePram
band-aidPlaster
bathroomloo or WC
canTin
chopped beefMince
cookieBiscuit
cornMaize
diaperNappy
elevatorLift
eraserRubber
flashlightTorch
friesChips
gasPetrol
guybloke, chap
highwayMotorway
hood (car)Bonnet
jelloJelly
jellyJam
keroseneParaffin
lawyerSolicitor
license platenumber plate
line  (to line up)Queue
mailPost
motor homeCaravan
movie theaterCinema
mufflerSilencer
napkinServiette
nothingNought
overpassFlyover
pacifierDummy
pantsTrousers
parking lotcar park
periodfull stop
pharmacistChemist
potato chipsCrisps
rentHire
sausageBanger
sidewalkPavement
soccerFootball
sweaterJumper
trash canBin
truckLorry
trunk (car)Boot
vacationHoliday
vestWaistcoat
windshield (car)Windscreen
zip codepostal code

 

SPELLING

BRITISH / AMERICAN  ENGLISH

-or vs. –our

American

British

colorColour
favoriteFavourite
honorHonour

 

-ll vs. –l

American

British

enrollmentEnrolment
fulfillFulfil
skillfulSkilful

 

-og vs. –ogue

American

British

analogAnalogue
catalogCatalogue
dialogDialogue

 

-ck or -k vs. –que

American

British

bankBanque
checkCheque
checkerChequer

-ense vs. –enze

American

British

defenseDefence
licenseLicence
  

               

-ze vs. –se

American

British

analyzeAnalyse
criticizeCriticize
memorizeMemorise

 

-er vs. –re

American

British

centerCentre
meterMetre
theaterTheatre

 

-e vs. -oe or –ae

American

British

encyclopediaencyclopaedia
maneuverManeuver
medievalMediaeval

 

-dg vs. -dge (or -g vs. -gu)

American

British

agingAgeing
argumentArgument
judgmentJudgement

 

Other

American

British

jewelryJewellery
draftDraught
pajamaspyjamas 
plowPlough
programProgramme
tireTyre

——————————————————————————————————–                                                 

IDIOMS

BRITISH / AMERICAN ENGLISH

 

British English

American English

not touch something with a bargepolenot touch something with a ten-foot pole
sweep under the carpetsweep under the rug
touch woodknock on wood
see the wood for the treessee the forest for the trees
throw a spanner (in the works)throw a (monkey) wrench (in the works)
tuppence worth

also two pennies’ worth, two pence worth, two pennyworth,

two penny ‘th,

two cents’ worth
skeleton in the cupboardskeleton in the closet
a home from homea home away from home
blow one’s trumpetblow (or toot) one’s horn
a drop in the oceana drop in the bucket
storm in a teacuptempest in a teapot
flogging a dead horsebeating a dead horse
haven’t (got) a cluedon’t have a clue or have no clue
a new lease of lifea new lease on life
if the cap fits (wear it)if the shoe fits (wear it)
lie of the landlay of the land

In some cases, the «American» variant is also used in BrE, or vice versa.

 

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