When the British arrived in the Americas by water between the 16th and 17th centuries, they were the ones who brought the language. Spelling had not yet been standardised at the time.
It took the creation of the first dictionaries to cement the appearance of these words. The dictionary was developed by London-based academics in the United Kingdom.
Meanwhile, in the United States, a man named Noah Webster served as a lexicographer. He allegedly changed the spelling of the words to distinguish the American version from the British to demonstrate cultural independence from its mother nation.
The contrasts between American and British English in terms of speech emerged after the first immigrants arrived in America. These people talked in a style known as rhotic speech, in which the ‘r’ sounds of words are spoken.
Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, the upper classes tried to separate themselves from the common people by softening their pronunciation of the ‘r’ sounds. Because the wealthy were regarded as the standard for being trendy even back then, other people began to imitate their speech, and it finally became the norm in the south of England.
The difference between American and British English
The difference between American and British English is largely a question of usage, with variances in vocabulary and idiomatic expressions and, of course, pronunciation. However, there are some tiny grammatical variations that most people are unaware of.
let’s start with some vocabulary differences:
|British English||American English|
|ground floor||first floor|
|car park||parking lot|
|number plate||license plate|
|oven glove||oven mitt|
|dressing gown||robe, bathrobe|
|junior/primary school||elementary school|
|public school||private school|
|state school||public school|
|noughts and crosses||tic-tac-toe|
|hundreds and thousands||sprinkles (for ice cream)|
|skipping rope||jump rope|
|shopping trolley||shopping cart|
|railway carriage||railway car|
|nursing home||private hospital|
|the cinema||the movies|
|cello tape||scotch tape|
|snakes and ladders||chutes and ladders|
|mobile phone||cell phone|