Thursday, 25 October 2012

Differences among British, American and Australian English

Differences among American English, British English and Australian English

For most people, English is English wherever it is spoken; also people tend to understand the different forms of the language as its basics remain more or less similar. But the differences among American, Australian and British English lie in the accent in which the language is spoken, its pronunciation and spelling and many other linguistic factors that are of vital importance to be focused on. The most common differences that occur in English spoken in Australia, America or any other English country can be summarized as below:

Differences in Pronunciation:

The problematic alphabet is the ‘r’ which affects the pronunciation of most of the English words. In AmericanEnglish the ‘r’ is pronounced much better whereas in Australian and BritishEnglish, it is almost always silent. The emphasis on the syllables of the word pronounced in these countries also differs. For example, the word ‘adult’ has the emphasis on the first syllable in British English whereas the second half of the word gets its importance in American English. Australian English is unique is many aspects as many of its words (that get pronounced) have sounds that are eliminated. For example, instead of ‘have a good day’ the Australians prefer pronouncing g’day. There is a great difference in the pronunciation of vowel sounds in all these three types of English.

Spelling differences:

It is understood that the spelling has effect on the pronunciation of words, so if the sounds differ, spellings also should differ. For example, the Air mode of transport is referred as Airplane in America, whereas in Britain it is aeroplane which is pronounced with an audible ‘o’ sound. Another difference is the word “Aluminium” which is spelled as “Aluminum” in US. Britain and Australia spell the word as “Aluminium.” Another common difference in spelling between the three countries is the ‘our’ at the end of the words. The words, colour, flavour and honour spelled this way is UK, is spelled as ‘or’ in US, i.e., color, honor etc. Australian English is same as British English in this aspect. American and British dialects also differ considerably in ‘-re’ endings of words. The words Theater and centre is spelled with ‘-er’ at the end in US and as theatre and centre in Britain and Australia. Other common spelling differences includes, ‘-ize’ endings in American English and ‘-ise’ in UK and Australia.

Difference in Vocabulary and Grammar:

All these three languages differ greatly in their vocabulary as well. The hood of a car in American language is referred as the bonnet in Britain and Australia. And Australian English has few terms that are not used elsewhere in the world such as Bloke referring a man, Arvo meaning afternoon etc. And Australians tend to use some phrases that combine British and American English such as ‘rubbish truck’. There are few grammar distinctions among various forms of the same English language as well. In British English, collective nouns can be used as plurals which is not acceptable in US English and English speaking people in UK and Australia tend to use irregular forms of past participle of verbs and neglect definite articles in few words such as in hospital instead of using ‘in the hospital’.


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  3. very helpful. thanks..


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