segunda-feira, 21 de março de 2011

American English vs British English


Hi, sweets!
All the time my students ask if there is a difference between American and British English.
Unfortunately the answer to this question is yes. There are many differences between American and British English, especially in pronunciation and spelling; in grammar there are just a few. In fact, English is the first language in many countries and there are differences between them all, these include: Australia, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA.
Here you can check some of these differences:

          American English                           British English 
                           
             Apartment                                             Flat 
             Band-aid                                               Plaster 
             Bathroom                                              Toilet 
             Bureua                                                  Office 
             Busy                                                      Engaged 
             Can                                                       Tin 
             Candy apple                                          Toffee apple 
             Carnival                                                 Funfair 
             Chips                                                     Crisps 
             Cookies                                                 Biscuits 
             Cotton candy                                         Candyfloss 
             Detergent                                               Washing powder
             Dishwashing                                           Washing up 
             Drapes                                                   Curtains 
             Elevator                                                  Lift 
             Eraser                                                    Rubber 
             Faucet                                                   Tap
             Ferris wheel                                           Big wheel 
             Flashlight                                                Torch
             Free time                                                Spare time
             Freeway                                                 Motorway
             French fries                                             Chips
             Garbage                                                  Rubbish
             Gas                                                         Petrol
             Grippe                                                     Flu
             First floor                                                 Ground floor
             Highway                                                   Main road
             Intersection                                               Crossroads
             Jelly                                                           Jam                      
             Knapsack                                                  Rucksack  
             Movie                                                        Film
             Movie theater                                             Cinema
             Nail polish                                                  Nail varnish
             Oatmeal                                                     Porridge
             Pacifier                                                       Dummy
             Pants                                                          Knickers
             Panty hose                                                  Tights
             Parking lot                                                  Car park
             Private school                                             Public school 
             Public holiday                                             Bank holiday¹
             Purse                                                         Handbag
             Recess                                                       Break (play time)
             Report card                                               School report
             Rubber                                                      Condom
             Rubber boots                                            Wellies/wellingtons
             Run                                                            Ladder
             Sedan                                                        Saloon car
             Sidewalk                                                    Pavement     
             Sink²                                                           Basin
             Skillet                                                         Frying-pan
             Slicker                                                        Mackintosh
             Stocks                                                        Shares
             Streetcar                                                     Tram
             Student                                                        Pupil
             Sweater                                                       Jumper
             Trash                                                           Rubbis
             Trashcan                                                     Dustbin                                                   
             Trolley car                                                   Tram
             Truck                                                          Lorry
             Trunk                                                          Boot
             Undershirt                                                   Vest
             Vacation                                                     Holiday
             Vacuum cleaner                                          Hoover
            Washcloth                                                   Flannel
            Windshield                                                  Windscreen
            Yard³                                                          Garden
            Zip code                                                      Post code
            Zipper                                                         Zip


Another huge difference that causes great confusion is writing the date. When you write the dates in numbers, American and British English differ. It means, to write the date "7th of September 2010", a British would write day/month/year (07/09/2010) and an American would write month/day/year (09/07/2010). This often causes great confusion. So, it's better to write the date in full: 7th of Sptember, 2010 or September 7th, 2010. It also looks nicer.

As one of my favourite writers said about these differences:
"We have everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language."
(Oscar Wilde, 1887, The Canterville Ghost).

That's all folks!!!
Teacher Jô


¹ "Bank holidays" have to follow certain rules, otherwise they are also known as public holidays in the UK.
² If the "sink" is in the kitchen - it's a "sink", but it's in the bathroom it's a "basin".
³When a British hears the word "yard" in connection with "house", we think of a concrete area, usually full of building materials, or work tools.

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