North American English is the variety of the English language of North America, including that of the United States and Canada. Because of their shared histories (Chambers 1998) and the similarities between the pronunciation, vocabulary and accent of American English and Canadian English, the two spoken languages are often grouped together under a single category (Labov, Ash, & Boberg, 2006; Trudgill & Hannah, 2002). Although Canadian spellings are a combination of US and British usage (Clark 2008), and Canadians are tolerant of both British and US spellings (Chambers 1998), the written and spoken languages of the two countries are closely related. North American English is distinguished from British English and the English of the other Commonwealth Nations.
Many terms in North American English are used almost exclusively in the two countries, such as diaper and gasoline, instead of nappy or petrol respectively. Although many English speakers from outside North America regard these terms as distinctive Americanisms, they are often just as ubiquitous in Canada.
There are a considerable number of different accents within the regions of both the United States and Canada, originally deriving from the accents prevalent in different English, Scots and Irish regions and corresponding to settlement patterns of these peoples in the colonies. These were developed and built upon as new waves of immigration, and migration across the North American continent, brought new accents and dialects to new areas, and as these ways of speaking merged and assimilated with the population. It is claimed that despite the centuries of linguistic changes there is still a resemblance between the English East Anglia accents which would have been used by early English settlers in New England (including the Pilgrims), and modern Northeastern United States accents. Similarly, the accents of Newfoundland are similar to Scots Irish while the Appalachian dialect retains Scots Irish features.
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