People Innovation Excellence

Why are American and British English Sound so Different?

Americans go on vacation, while Brits go on holidays, or hols.

New Yorkers live in apartments, and Londoners live in flats.

Have you ever got confused whether to use color or colour? Flavor or flavour?

All of them are correct. It is just a matter of American and British English. Then why are they different?

The first answer is what Noah Webster, of the Webster’s Dictionary, did. Webster wanted American spelling to not only be more straightforward, but also different from British spelling, as a way of America showing its independence from the former British rule. He dropped the letter u from words like “colour and “honour to make them “color” and “honor” instead. He did the same to words ending in -ise to make them -ize, because he thought American English spelling should reflect the way to say it, and z is cooler in written form.

The differences between American and British English is not only in vocabularies and ways of spelling, but also in grammars, collective nouns, auxiliary verbs, past tense verbs, and tag questions. It would be a lie if one doesn’t notice the accent difference between those two styles.

But, people often exaggerated the difference between American and British English. British and American English have far more similarities than differences. If you can understand one style, it is quite easy understand the other style.

With the exception of some regional dialects, most Brits and Americans can understand each other without too much difficulty. They watch each other’s TV shows, sing each other’s songs, and read each other’s books.

Now, it’s your turn! Which style of English do you learn and use?


Published at : Updated
Written By
Fidella Fuvian
Staff of BNEC Public Relations | Marketing Communication BINUS University
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