American and British English differences

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This is one of a series of articles about the differences between American English and British English, which, for the purposes of these articles, are defined as follows:

  • American English (AmE) is the form of English used in the United States. It includes all English dialects used within the United States.
  • British English (BrE) is the form of English used in the United Kingdom. It includes all English dialects used within the United Kingdom.

Orthography

Fiction

Written forms of American and British English as found in newspapers and textbooks vary little in their essential features, with only occasional noticeable differences in comparable media[1] (comparing American newspapers to British newspapers, for example). This kind of formal English, particularly written English, is often called 'standard English'.[2][3] An unofficial standard for spoken American English has also developed, as a result of mass media and geographic and social mobility, and broadly describes the English typically heard from network newscasters, commonly referred to as non-regional diction, although local newscasters tend toward more parochial forms of speech. [15] Despite this unofficial standard, regional variations of American English have not only persisted but have actually intensified, according to linguist William Labov.[citation needed]

Regional dialects in the United States typically reflect the elements of the language of the main immigrant groups in any particular region of the country, especially in terms of pronunciation and vernacular vocabulary. Scholars have mapped at least four major regional variations of spoken American English: Northern, Southern, Midland, and Western.[4] After the American Civil War, the settlement of the western territories by migrants from the east led to dialect mixing and levelling, so that regional dialects are most strongly differentiated in the eastern parts of the country that were settled earlier. Localized dialects also exist with quite distinct variations, such as in Southern Appalachia and New York.

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