Differences between American & British English

Xatufan   Sunday, June 06, 2004, 16:35 GMT
Eugenia: Si, si ya entendi...
Xatufan   Sunday, June 06, 2004, 16:38 GMT
Schwa is like an e upside-down. It's an exciting symbol.
Eugenia   Monday, June 07, 2004, 01:34 GMT
Well it's easier to say that the phonetic symbol /schwa/ is similar to the symbol /a/ And by the way, what do you mean by exciting?? Just never thought of schwa as an ''exciting symbol''...
Ben   Monday, June 07, 2004, 18:31 GMT
Excellent point about the origins of American Southern English, patsd. The "hillbillies" of the inland south were of "Scots-Irish" ancestry, a group of farmers from the Northwest of England and Northern Ireland. You can still hear some dialectical similarities between that area and the inland south--for whatever reason (perphaps the climate?), the accent got slowed down and drawn out significantly over the centuries into its current form.

Its kind of the same with the music of that region--bluegrass very clearly derives from traditional celtic music, only its more "twangy."
patsd   Monday, June 07, 2004, 20:50 GMT
<<<You can still hear some dialectical similarities between that area and the inland south--for whatever reason (perphaps the climate?), the accent got slowed down and drawn out significantly over the centuries into its current form. >>>>

Couple things to keep in mind when trying to answer this. The first is that it may very well be that the Old World version of the accent has simply sped up, and what we hear today in the Appalachian Mts is to some extent, and more preserved version of the 1790s Old World accent.

The other factor in play is that the Scots-Irish in America were also influenced by other people. Can you imagine what a poor farmer from Northern Ireland sounded like in 1803? He may very well began to "slow down" his speech to be understood by the groups of English immigrants in the area, and to be understood by the smaller groups of Germans trying to understand English in the first place. Im not saying this was done on purpose of course, but just over time.

I myself think it is the combination of the two. I think the accents in Britian have changed considerabley (as I said before, THEY might have also had a drawl a few hundred years ago) And the immigrants of Scots-Irish decent in America may have slowed their accent because of influence from other groups of immigrants in the same area. (I also think there is a slight influence from Africans, and perhaps even the Native Red folk)

Just as interesting as this, is all the cultural ethics that these people have in common too. Scotsmen, Northern Englishmen etc are very proud, have chips on their shoulder from being looked down upon , value independance tremendously becuase they not always had it in full at all times. This is all very true of Southerners. They came to America with a hatred of London and the British crown, and so they are quite happy to point a 12 gauge shotgun between your eyes if you threaten their property or independence, now that they have it. They are religious, rural, proud. The Civil War took place because these Scots-Irish felt the North was treated the South the same way that London was treading the American colonists prior. (And I suppose, they recalled their peasant roots in the British Isles)
patsd   Monday, June 07, 2004, 21:48 GMT
<<<Moreover, why is it that teenage Americans do not utilise their vocabulary in everyday speech? Judging from their research papers and essays, many of my classmates have an impressive vocabulary but never use most of the words they know in conversation, not even in formal occasions or when speaking to persons in authority.>>

Because its called getting a life. You don't need to impress people when having a simple conversation. Just get the point across as simply as possible. I can't imagine being that concerned with how you sound. In social situations, people just want to have fun.
johnna   Tuesday, June 08, 2004, 11:51 GMT
well im from the states and the water thing i think is kinda well...WRONG! ok see that stuff only happens with something we call HILLBILLYS! hillbillys are very stupid wear tattered clothes and overalls, the live in the south like in northcarolina where i live we have a whole lot of those but im not one because i never say aint which is a biiiiiiggg hillbilly word. they say words like "aint" and "dang" for example, and i quote from so many kids in my class,"well i aint not gonna do that!" and "dang" well it sorta means wow and aint sorta means not i guess.
Europa   Tuesday, June 08, 2004, 14:41 GMT
I think I understand your post. Does punctuation no longer matter in America? I think I got the meaning of your message although your punctuation was awful. Forgive me please. What would be my chances of compehension if one of your hillbillies posted a message on the forum? Some words I did not understand. Sorta? I think it is good that we in Europe learning English look to England for guidance and examples and not America.
Ben   Tuesday, June 08, 2004, 16:55 GMT
I actually think my generation (I'm 23) is much better spoken than my parent's. Then again, I'm from the East Coast of the US, which, for obvious historical reasons, has a much more British/European sensibility than the rest of the country.

I don't think the US has more idiots than any other country. It just has richer idiots.
Jeff   Tuesday, June 08, 2004, 17:53 GMT
Ain't got nothin' but love babe,
Eight days a week.

Hey Johnna
The beatles spreading
Hill Billies culture.

What in the sweet hell are you talking about,
If someone who sais kinda , sorta, gotta, wanna,etc
it's a hill bill then this country has been filled up with
Hill Billies,

Ah and the plural of HillBilly, it's HillBillies, not HillBillys.

johnna   Tuesday, June 08, 2004, 18:03 GMT
see :) im always right!
well sorry!   Tuesday, June 08, 2004, 18:05 GMT
well im from the south and have to listen to all this aint and darn and dang all day long so im kinda getting it into my system ya know? and about the hillbilies thing im only 11 dude!
i didnt say that hillbillies say   Tuesday, June 08, 2004, 18:07 GMT
kinda and sorta and wanna and stuff!
mjd   Tuesday, June 08, 2004, 18:13 GMT

I've got some news for you: there are rural "back-country" dialects in England too. There are a ton of dialects in England (not everyone speaks RP).

You said: "Sorta? I think it is good that we in Europe learning English look to England for guidance and examples and not America."

Well, if someone were to study American English, they certainly wouldn't be learning the "hillybilly" dialect unless it was their wish to do so.

"Sorta" = sort of (when said fast...similar to "wanna", "gonna" etc.).
Huge   Tuesday, June 08, 2004, 18:58 GMT
I don't get the whole HillBilly Thing Johna,
it's so stupid,
Hillbilly is supposed to be one who comes from a remote rural area,
using slang doesn't make a HillBilly,
I live in New York City,
i don't wear overalls and tattered clothes,
but i still use ain't,
maybe you're a Hillbill ,cause you just learned that the plural of
HillBilly is Hillbillies, not Hillbillys,

I don't think that most of people in europe or anywhere else around the world prefer to look to england for guidance,

Anywei ah don' know wa: some peop'l make such a big deal outta
the way the other speaks,