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British and American English

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As we move away from the fonnal written English of the press in the direction of the informal spoken language, the differences between regional varieties dramatically increase. In the case of American and British English, the variation is considerable, but there are no accurate estimates for the number of points of contract, for two chief reasons.

(1) Recent decades have seen a major increase in the amount of influence two models have had on each other especially American on English. The influence of US films and television has led to a considerable passive understanding of much American vocabularyin Britain, and some of this has turned into active use (as in the case of mail), especially among younger people. (2) There are a lot of regional dialects in both countries which are hard to identify.

The spelling differences between British and American language were noted as one of the chief sources of variation in the world press. Several of them are productive, applying to large number of words; such as BrE — re, AmE — er (centre/ center): BrE —- our, AmE — or (colour/ color), and BrE — ogue, AmE — og (catalogue/ catalog). Many more apply to individual words. You can find the list of such words below.

There are relatively few grammatical differences between educated BrE and AmE. In the verb phrase, AmE prefers have to have got for possession (Do you have the time versus Have you got the time?; answers also tend to vary (I don't versus I haven't). Gotten is probably the most distinctive of all the BrE/ AmE grammatical differences. AmE prefers such forms as learned to learnt; AmE also sometimes uses a simple past tense where BrE has a present perfect (I just ate versus I've just eaten); will/'won't is generally found for shall/ shan 't; there are also differences in the use of tag questions.

In the noun phrase there are some differences of word order (e.g. a haIfhourversus half an hour), the use of the article {in the future versus in future, in the hospital versus in hospital). AmE prefers collective nouns

motorway freeway шоссе
nightdress nightdown вечернее платье
nought zero нуль
pavement sidewalk тротуар
petrol gasoline бензин
pillar box mailbox почтовый ящик
post mail почта
post code zip code почтовый индекс
primary school elementary school начальная школа
queue line очередь
railway railroad железная дорога
railway station depot вокзал
reception clerk desk clerk клерк в приемной
rubber eraser старательная резинка
rubbish, refuse garbage мусор
shop assistant salesclerk продавец в магазине
solicitor lawyer юрист
spirits (hard) liquor алкогольный напиток
stalls orchestra партер
state school public school государственная школа
subway underpass, tunnel подземный переход
sweets candy конфеты
telephone box/ kiosk telephone booth телефонная будка
trouser suit pants suit брючный костюм
underground subway метро
vest undershirt нижняя рубашка
waistcoat vest жилет
WC rest room туалет
whisky scotch виски


in the singular (the government is), whereas BrE allows plural also (the government are).

There are several differences in prepositions (see below), adverbs (real good versus really good), and punctuation(e.g. # is used for 'number' in AmE (as in # 7), but not in BrE(No. 7).

II. Ответьте на вопросы.

1. Are the differences between British and American English veryimportant?

2. What is the trend in their development?

3. Why is it so difficult to estimate the degree of variation?

4. Whatare the main spelling BrE and AmE differences?

5. Illustrate two grammatical differences.

6. Give the example of punctuation differences.

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