Differences between American & British English

patsd   Friday, June 04, 2004, 09:33 GMT
<<<<<<<<Maryland.....that's interesting. How many ways are there to pronounce it? I would simply say "Mary" then "Land" but joined together in one word with 2 syllables. At a guess, would an American say "Murry-land" using the characteristic American "r" sound? If I was there I would try to pronouce it the way the locals do.>>>>>>>>>.

I can see why you would think it is simply Mary-Land. But it is always "Marrolen" as in "Merrel" Streep with an almost inaudible, soft "d" sound at the end, and for many people the d would be completely dropped. At best, some people might include the d sound at the end. "He lives in the state-uh Marrolend" However, again, even under the most formal conditions, nobody would ever say Mary-Land, or anything close to that.
Damian   Friday, June 04, 2004, 10:21 GMT
Sara: thanks for all that cool info! We sort of got told off for straying off topic! I apologise for both of us, Sara! :-) ....we're very sorry, Antimooner! :-( Promise not to do it again! Anway, to answer you, Sara....in the UK a rubber is an eraser....like when you use a pencil and make an error. You use the rubber to correct it. I was working in the library alongside an American girl student and asked her if she had a rubber handy. I just could not understand why she reacted so strangely. All part of the fun of having almost two different languages.

Maryland.....as a Scot I say "Meirrry-lah-nd" clearly pronouncing the "r" and the two syllables.
patsd   Friday, June 04, 2004, 11:01 GMT
<<<I've lived in the US for almost 4 years and don't notice a great deal of difference between say Oregon and Montana or Texas and Oklahoma. Or New York and New Jersey for that matter.

I'm amazed that someone cannot tell the difference between Manchester and Leeds. Maybe you should travel to those places?>>>>

Let me jump in on this. I think there could be about as many different accents in the US and the UK, the only difference being the obvious physical size differences of the two countries. I think it is partly old world snobbery to claim that all Americans sound basicly the same. There are different accents in towns and cities of the same state, and I can speak from experience on that, much less the differences between two different states. I get the impression the average non-nrth American English speaker thinks there is the south, the north, and at most, a boston accent which is only slightly different than the rest of the north. Thats horsecrap and hogwash.

Lets just take the south right now, where there are major differences within the region. I will use the phrase "bring it right here," and as a reference, I would say the most common way for just any old northern American to say that would be "bring et rrit herr"
In the south, there is a pretty noticeable difference between somone from Arkansas. (very very twangy and a extremely harsh with choppy syllables "Bu'ri-Ung EE-ut RiiCH'er") And someone from eastern Tennesse or much or Virgina (much softer, more flowing, pleasant "brii-inng ut riiiit'hayy-uhr") Texas seems to have its own version of the southern accent, and I have noticed that Dallas seems to be distinct from the rest of Texas. Its hard to descirbe, but in general Texans like to have all the words lean on another, far more so than Americans elsewhere. And they don't chop up the syllables the way southerns elsewhere do quite as much. They just stretch the vowels but lean the words on each other (briiiingeetriiiiiiiitheer). In New Orleans it sounds like they use apostraphes intead of hyphons like elsewhere in the south, and their vowels sounds arent very distinct from one another. (br'iing iit rii'it he'iir en na' cid'ah uh N'Awlins)

On the North East Coast, the following areas have their own very distinct accents: New York City(with tradional variations in Brooklyn and the Bronx), Long Island, Philly, and New England. For the record, Northern New Jersey sounds very much like Queens and much of NYC, and southern New Jersey is exactly the same as Philly as far as I can tell. New Englanders will tell you that there are many differences in some cases from town to town and state to state but I am not aware of them. Now, this might not be quite as dramatic as Liverpool to Manchester to Leeds, but still this is only a difference of two or three hundred miles from Philly to New England and there are several very distinct main accents in existance.

There are many differences in the way people speak in the upper Mid-West. Wisconsin and Minnesota are neighboring states but I can tell their accents apart within 10 seconds. Also, Illinois borders Wisconsin but the differences are extremely dramatic. Chicago has its own distinct accent becuase of the large Polish influence, it stands out because it is very nasel and the "a" as in sausage wants to make itself heard in every word possible. "l AAWays wanna hAAve uh PAAlish SAAusage" I could go on and on,with exaples across the country. There are several parts of the country I have never been to but a Im sure the same thing applies.

Now then, In many places west of the Rocky Mnts, there is no established accent becuase the majority of the people are transplants from various parts of the country (or Latin American or Asia) or are the children of such. Thus I will admit in places like Oregon the English spoken is very genericly American. With the exception of California however, west of the Rockies is a pretty small overall chunk of the American population.
Eugenia   Friday, June 04, 2004, 14:44 GMT
Patsd: Wow, Too much!!!!! I Got Lost!
Sara: Yes, I totally agree with you, but what can we do? :S
Antimooner: I don't see the problem if we change the subject for three minutes (or three paragraphs), I mean, are we doing something wrong?!
Anyway, I have to study semantics so...better go :)
Kayla   Friday, June 04, 2004, 16:51 GMT
I'm not here to fight dude, I'm here because I have an opinion.
Ben   Friday, June 04, 2004, 18:36 GMT

There are basically six dialects of New England, which are not defined by the six STATES of the region, but by six "areas."

1.) The classic Boston accent -- heard in the city and surrounding areas. Many things make this accent distinct, obviously, but the two most important features are the dropping of "r"s at the ends of words, and the rhyming of the words "cot" and "caught," so they both have the same slightly rounded vowel /o/.

2.) The Down East or Yankee dialect, which is generally heard in South Eastern New Hampshire and Southern Maine. Similar to Boston, only slower, more musical and generally more "twangy."

3.) Southeastern New England (Rhode Island and Southeastern Mass), similar to Boston, except that words like cot, not, and top are pronounced with a flat "ah" sound (like the midwest) instead of /o/ (Boston).

4.) Northern Maine & New Hampshire speak with an accent that is very Canadian-sounding (usually no "r" dropping).

5.) Western New England (Vermont, Western Mass, Northwestern Connecticut, much of the Connecticut River Valley) speaks with an accent that is almost midwestern sounding, though a bit more clipped and sped up.

6.) Central New England (Western New Hampshire, Mass just east of the Connecticut River Valley, Eastern Connecticut) is sort of a gray area, where accents often change a good deal from town to town.
mjd   Friday, June 04, 2004, 19:09 GMT
Patsd said: "For the record, Northern New Jersey sounds very much like Queens and much of NYC, and southern New Jersey is exactly the same as Philly as far as I can tell."

This is very true, especially the part about the South Jerseyans.
Sara   Friday, June 04, 2004, 19:13 GMT
Damian- It's so interesting the differences between British and American slang. It sounds like you had a very funny experience, I wish I could have witnessed that conversation : ) Thanks for the translation info. English is a great field of study.
Eugenia- I guess girls around the world have to deal with the same unrealistic expectations, it sucks but the only thing we can do is try to be comfortable with who we are and ignore the media. We are strong women though, we will overcome! : )
Antimooner- I apologise for straying off topic, Just interested in getting to know the cool people behind the students. I will try to keep my remarks restricted to English pronounciation and writing styles, and I will be as serious and boring as possible in my future posts, I promise : )
Damian   Friday, June 04, 2004, 23:30 GMT
Sara.......please...just be your self :-) I don't think Antimooner will get too wound up if we adhere to the rules and talk topical linguistics but just stray a tiny wee bit into the more personal now and again...we can always say we're just having a coffee break. :-)

I recently bought a volume called "The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of The English Language" by David Crystal. Although with my current commtments I haven't had time to study it in any depth but it will be fascinating.....covers the entire history of the English language and how it has developed not only in the British Isles (with all its variations here) but throughout the world, with whole sections devoted to the past and current use of the language in all the English speaking countries. Large section on United States English and its varities there, including individual cities, as here in the UK. There is a section on Estuary English, which has developed in the UK over recent years and spread widely over the country from around London; it's main feature is the glottal stop which sort of eliminates the letter "t" from words For "better" say "be'..er" "matter" = ma'...er" and "water" something like "waw'-er" and Gatwick Airport is something like Ga'wick Airpor'.
Damian   Friday, June 04, 2004, 23:35 GMT
patsd: really good and interesting post...I will study it in detail and compare it with the US section in the book I mention in my previous post. Loads of reading matter. I never realised how varied the American accents are but they are bound to be really, considering the huge size of the United States. The entire British Isles easily fit into the state of Montana alone.
Eugenia   Saturday, June 05, 2004, 00:10 GMT
Sara: ''The only thing we can do is try to be comfortable with who we are and ignore the media'' Yes, there's nothing left to do!
''I will be as serious and boring as possible in my future posts, I promise : )'' LOL :P
Well shall I say something about language now to compensate for having a ''coffe break''? Mmm, let me see, nothing comes to my mind...Right now I'm studying ''Semantics'' (I have a test on Friday) from a book written by Hurford and Heasley (Cambridge University Press) It's quite interesting but I don't think it would be an appropiate topic to talk about in this forum...
Xatufan   Saturday, June 05, 2004, 02:18 GMT
Eugenia: Si mis once años de experiencia con el inglés y mis diccionarios no me fallan, creo que se escribe "coffee". No estoy muy seguro, jejeje! Conque semantica el viernes, eh?

The word proven is pronounced preuven in Scotland and pruuven in the rest of the world. Is it true, or my dictionary is antique?
patsd   Saturday, June 05, 2004, 06:49 GMT
<<<patsd: really good and interesting post...I will study it in detail and compare it with the US section in the book I mention in my previous post>>>

That should be interesting. Let me know what you discover. I am curious as to exactly how many discernable accents exits in the US.

I think my favorite type of general accent in the county is that of the people who live in areas that are somwhat southern but definatly not in the same catagory as the deep south. Places like Northern Virgina. Or the southern tip of Illinois.

As far as the UK goes, I dont particularly like the way perhaps some Londoners and and definatly some south coast folk use the sound "ow" instead of "L" Example: "Miw-wow" for "Milwall"

I am fasicinated by Scottish accents but find them by far the most difficult to understand in the entire native English speaking world. But I find Liverpool and Manchester accents to be pleasant. Some Irish accents are fairly pleasant, and I can definatly hear the similarites between Irish and American southern...as well as the similarites between northen England and the American southern.

I have even postulated that the basis for the American southern accent could be largely a combination of the way the peoples of Northern Ireland (county Ulster, whose people are mainly originaly from Scotland) spoke, and the peoples of North West England, espically Liverpool, spoke. Not suprisingly, it is these exact places that provided the basis of the white populous in the American south. Indeed Alabama is full of people named McFarlin and Henderson and Gibbs and so forth.

Now, dispite the popular image of tobacco chewing, freckle-faced hillbillies owning slaves, the Scots-Irish folk and Celtic influenced northern English folk I am speaking of had little to do with slave ownership compared to what is believed. At first in particular, this was primarily the act of at most several dozen thousand mostly wealthy London Anglo-Saxon folk. Hence to this day in the U.S, most black people, or at least a remarkable percentage of black people, have very "basic, English" last names like Williams, Allen, Addams, Washington, Simmons and so forth that they inherited from their rather small numbered group of almost invariabley arostocratic Southern English owners some 150-400 years ago....while the white populous has a far more variety of last names ( yes, even if they are southern and of British Isle ancestry only).
Eugenia   Saturday, June 05, 2004, 12:19 GMT
Xatufan: Bueno che, it was a slip of the finger!! ¡Ya se que coffee se escribe así!!! (Si no lo supiera no podría estar estudiando traductorado de inglés, ¿no? Aunque a veces es medio complicado no tener ni 1 error) Sip, estoy estudiando Semantics...Complicado :)...Proven in USA (For example) is pronunced /pru:vn/, in Scotland it's pronunced as /pru:vn/ or /praUvn/ (aU= Dipthong = Schwa + Short /U/ (can't copy the symbols)), so now both pronunciations are accepted in Scotland (but of course they may vary according to the different regions)
Eugenia   Sunday, June 06, 2004, 00:37 GMT
Dipthong = Diphthong :P