Differences between American & British English

Damian   Sunday, May 09, 2004, 08:26 GMT
Ghoti: thanks for the link to the ASCII chart...it's cool and will be very helpful on this thread. I will use it from now on. Sory about my stupid "joke"!
Damian   Sunday, May 09, 2004, 08:32 GMT
Ooops!! my error.....I meant to address my last post to mjd about the ASCII chart...I apologise to mjd: SORRY! (spelt correctly this time...) It's early Sunday morning right now in England and I haven't really woken up yet. Just looked out the window.....looks like rain....again! :-(
eyeball   Sunday, May 09, 2004, 18:02 GMT
Why do canadian chicks dig the UK english accent so?
Xatufan   Sunday, May 09, 2004, 19:59 GMT
I'm interested on the different accents of the English world. Has someone heard about the accent of the Phillipines? As I speak Spanish, I can speak to them in that language, but, is their English good enough?
Maritess   Sunday, May 09, 2004, 21:03 GMT
<< Has someone heard about the accent of the Phillipines? As I speak Spanish, I can speak to them in that language, but, is their English good enough? >>

That all depends. Almost all Filipinos speak English since the language is taught in schools. However there are different levels of English fluency. The wealthier upper and middle class Filipinos are fluent in English and speak it clearly and effortlessly, although with regional accents. The lower class, which is larger in number, are harder to understand and speak it in a halting and jarring manner. They usually get their vowels mixed up and invert their b's and v's and p's and f's. But for the most part, if you speak to them in English clearly and without slang words and idioms they will understand you, you just might not understand them when they respond. In fact, you're better off speaking to them in English than in Spanish since Spanish as a spoken language has almost disappeared in the Philippines except in a few remote locations and in "creolized" versions.

Here's a link to an explanation of Filipino English:

Damian   Sunday, May 09, 2004, 22:50 GMT
Xatufan: I come from the UK which in size is very small...smaller in area than California or Montana and several other states in America. Yet it has a very wide variety of different accents..they change within just a few miles from one locality to another as there are nearly 60 million of us on these islands. I can tell you more if you like. I can let you puzzle over the words of a Geordie song..... :-) It is very late on a Sunday night now and I have to go to bed as I have lectures from esrly morning. I will post the Geordie song and dialect words tomorrow. And an explanation....English is such a varied language..I am passionate about my native tongue.

Good night

PS: Geordie is the dialect/people from the North East of England, around Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyneside and Northumbria
Ben   Monday, May 10, 2004, 19:03 GMT
The UK has so many different dialects because there were so many languages that were being spoken on the Islands during the formation of the English language. Many areas therefore maintained traces of these languages in their speech, even if the original tongue is no longer spoken there. The US, by contrast, received the language from already existing UK dialects, and only in a few areas do foreign languages have any influence on the local dialects (namely the French influenced accent of Louisiana and the Scandinavian tinged dialect of Minnesota).

I've been told the Geordie has a passing similarity to some American accents in that it flattens words like "pot, not, and top" into "paht, naht, and tahp." Do people still speak this way, or is this an archaic pronunciation.
Damian   Monday, May 10, 2004, 20:26 GMT
Ben: to a point you are right....the original Celts were pushed to the western extremities of "ancient Britain" by succeeding invasions over the centuries, resulting in the Celtic languages being confined to those areas, like Welsh, Scots Gaelic etc.

Three years ago one of the universities I applied to was Newcastle and I went there for the interview. It was my first time in Geordieland although I had been through it by train many times.

The accent is very distinctive and the people lovely and friendly...you may not of heard of Ant and Dec over in the USA but they are well known here and speak pure Geordie. I think you are correct in the way you demonstrated the comparison with some American accents..flattened but not as drawn out as the American versions maybe. Geordieland is not far short of the Scottish border so there are similarities there to in a way....like "hoose" for house; "doon" for down; "fut" for foot; "mair" for more.

This is part of one of Geordieland's famous songs, sung in Geordie dialect. Basically it is about two men who are forced to share a bed because it was the only one apparently (no other reason!! LOL):

Keep Yor Feet still Geordy Hinny

Wor Geordy and Bob Johnson byeth lay i' one bed
In a little loggin' hoose doon the shore.
Before he'd been an hour asleep a kick from Geordy's fut
Made him waken up to roar i'stead o'snore.

Keep yor feet still Geordy Hinney
Let's be happy for the neet
For Aa may not be so happy thro' the day.
So give us that bit comfort keep yor feet still Geordy lad,
And divvent drive me bonny dreams away!

Aa dreamt thor wes a dansin' held an' Mary Clark was there
An' Aa thowt we tript leetly on the floor,
An' Aa prest hor heevin' breest te mine when waisin' roon the room
That's mair than Aa dor ivver de afore.

(Chorus as before)

I guess you can get the gist of this. By the way I've heard it sung several times and it's a fantastic tune, very lively and catchy, especially the chorus. They probably sing it in Geordie pubs on Saturday/Sunday nights!
What I can tell you for sure is that "hinny" is commonly used by Geordies as a term of friendliness.

Eugenia   Monday, May 10, 2004, 23:37 GMT
I'm not a native speaker of English but I want to add some things that I think you haven't mention yet.
Firstly: Someone said that there were no differences as regards the accents in USA. Have you ever heard someone who belongs to the South and someone who belongs to the North??? There are huge differences!!! That happens everywhere, U.K for example: RP, The Queen's English, Cockney, and many more...
Secondly: Danni: From my point of view, American accent is quite different to English accent. Lexis is different, pronunciation and many more things. America is now ''another world'' and I think that now it has no relationship with England (I'm not talking about political relationships).
MMM... I wanted to say something else...Oh yes, I'm from Argentina, and I have heard lots of different accents and I definitely think that English accent is far more understandable than American accent.
Well, that's all I wanted to say, sorry if my English is not so good.
Bye Bye
Damian   Tuesday, May 11, 2004, 12:27 GMT
Ben: that bit of Geordie I reproduced is in the old dialect I think. While accents remain in their local areas the dialects have gradually been eroded in recent times, and I doubt whether anybody really talks that way now, except maybe by some really old people. As you suggest, perhaps this dialect has become archaic.

Speech has become more standardised.. in England anyway, due to much more mobility among people and because of TV, radio, films etc. Over recent years there has been a sort of transformation in the way people in the UK speak, especially among those of my generation. To talk in a "posh" accent (a sort of standard Received pronunciation) is no longer seen as an advantage...the opposite, in fact. It produces negative reactions.

Even the BBC has changed its RP image and now use a more down to earth way of speaking English, and regional accents are acceptable. Something called "Estuary English" has spread across much of the country, which is like a form of London speech using the glottal stop. As an example, Gatwick Airport has become something like "Ga'-wick Airpor-'" and "better" becomes something like "beh'uhr". The letter "t" is obsolete. Even in Scotland, with our different accents and dialects the same thing has happened and I find myself speaking a Scots form of Estuary English. LOL

Euge: your English is fine...how I would love to hear your Argentinian accent. I have no problems with American accents normally, except those from the Deep South with the pronounced drawl...I'm not saying I don't like it, just that I have to concentrate hard to understand it. The same goes for what I think is called Ebonic? Is that the right word? It's in use in the UK as well among certain communities here.

Cheers :-)
Simon   Tuesday, May 11, 2004, 13:58 GMT
When I grew up in south London, I could tell the difference between Lewisham where I lived and Croydon a few miles down the road.
Ben   Tuesday, May 11, 2004, 16:26 GMT
English has become even more "standardised" in the states, which is strange, because we're not supposed to be a very language-driven culture. But I always notice this when I go to my hometown (in a very rural part of Northeastern Connecticut). The older generation has such a pronouncedly stronger New England accent than the younger.
Xatufan   Tuesday, May 11, 2004, 17:02 GMT
And what about Nauru accent? Bet you don't know...
Damian   Tuesday, May 11, 2004, 20:05 GMT
Simon: In that case then it must be true that North London accent is different from South London. I read it somewhere and on The Bill I heard a copper say this guy spoke with a "Sarf London accent!"....I wouldn't have a clue myself being a "foreigner" from the frozen north! London sounds London to me whatever! hee hee
Damian   Tuesday, May 11, 2004, 20:10 GMT
Xatufan: Nauru? You got me beat..I haven't a clue but as it's a gorgeous Pacific Island I bet it's a cute accent! :-) Please tell us all about it.