My companion is exceedingly fatigued

has the same meaning as My friend is extremely tired.

which has the same meaning as My mate is bloody knackered.

But these three different sentences would be used in very different social situations, and produce different sorts of social effects.

We can divide styles in English into five groups.

Frozen the most careful and elegant variety, reserved for very important or symbolic moments.

Formal our generally serious level of language use. Consultative the plain, everyday style.

Casual our normal, relaxed style, appropriate to conversations with friends.

Intimate the most grammatically and phonologically reduced style, used exclusively with our closest friends and family.

It is important to notice, also, that style and dialect are independent of one another. It is true, of course, that the Standard English dialect is more likely to be used on formal public occasions where formal styles are also more likely to be used. But there is no necessary connection between Standard English and formal styles, or nonstandard dialects and informal styles.

Irish Dialects


Ireland (Éire [ˈeːɾʲə]), also known as the Republic of Ireland, is a sovereign state in Europe occupying about five-sixth of the island of Ireland. Its independence from the United Kingdom was recognized on 6 December 1922. Before the territory was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland with predominant English. Now there are two official languages: Irish and English. Within ethnical groups 87% are Irish. Irish is the "national language" according to the Constitution, but English is the dominant language. In the 2006 census, 39% of the population regarded themselves as competent in Irish. Irish is spoken as a community language only in a small number of rural areas mostly in the west of the country, collectively known as the Gaeltacht. Apart from in Gaeltacht regions, road signs are usually bilingual.Most public notices and print media are in English only. Most Government publications are available in both languages, and citizens have the right to deal with the state in Irish. Media in Irish exist on TV (TG4), radio (e.g. RTÉ RaidiónaGaeltachta) and print (e.g. Foinse). In the Irish Defence Forces, all foot and arms drill commands are given in the Irish language. The effort is directed now towards saving the original language.

    Northern Ireland is a part of the United Kingdom in the north-east of the island of Ireland. Since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, Northern Ireland is largely self-governing. According to the agreement, Northern Ireland co-operates with the rest of Ireland – from which it was partitioned in 1921. Official languages are English, Irish and Ulster Scots. English is spoken as a first language by almost all of the Northern Ireland population. It is the de facto official language and the Administration of Justice prohibits the use of languages other than English in legal proceedings.Under the Good Friday Agreement, Irish and Ulster Scots (Ulster dialects of the Scots language), sometimes known as Ullans, are recognised as "part of the cultural wealth of Northern Ireland".

    These are the main languages spoken within both Ireland and Northern Ireland except the difference in dialects. There is also one peculiar language found, called "Shelta" by linguists. It is spoken by some Irish Travellers, particularly in Ireland and some parts of GB (Irish Travellersor Pavee are a traditionally nomadic people of ethnic Irish origin, who maintain a set of traditions and a distinct ethnic identity).

    To understand the specific differences in modern English used in those areas one can analysethe Hiberno-English (for Ireland) and Mid-Ulster English (for Northern Ireland).

    Hiberno-English, or Irish English, is the dialect of English written and spoken in Ireland. English was first brought to Ireland as a result of the Norman invasion of the late 12th century. Although during that time the Normans did not speak English, but rather Norman-French. Initially, it was mainly spoken in an area known as the Pale around Dublin, with Irish spoken throughout the rest of the country. By the Tudor period, the Irish culture and language had regained most of the territory initially lost to the colonists: even in the Pale, "all the common folk … for the most part are of Irish birth, Irish habit, and of Irish language".However, the resumption of English expansion following the Tudor conquest of Ireland saw a revival in use of their language, especially during the plantations. By the mid-19th century, English was the majority language spoken in the country.It has retained this status to the present day, with even the minority whose first language is Irish usually being fluent in English as well.Modern English as spoken in Ireland today retains some features showing the influence of the Irish language, such as vocabulary, grammatical structure, and pronunciation.Unlike the United States and Canada, Ireland does not have its own spelling rules and British English spelling is used throughout the island.

Hiberno-English retains many phonemic differentiations that have merged in other English accents.

· With some local exceptions, /r/ occurs postvocally, making most Hiberno-English dialects rhotic. The exceptions to this are most notable in Dublin and some smaller eastern towns like Drogheda. In Dublin English, a retroflex [ɻ] is used (much as in American English). This has no precedent in varieties of southern Irish English and is a genuine innovation of the past two decades. Mainstream varieties still use a non-retroflex [ɹ] (as in word-initial position). A uvular [ʁ] is found in north-east Leinster. /r/ is pronounced as a postalveolar tap [ɾ] in conservative accents. Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh and Jackie Healy-Rae are both good examples of this.

· /t/ is not pronounced as a plosive where it does not occur word-initially in some Irish accents; instead, it is often pronounced as a slit fricative [θ̠].

· The distinction between w /w/ and wh /hw/, as in wine vs. whine, is preserved.

· There is some variation with the consonants that are dental fricatives in other varieties (/θ/ and /ð/); after a vowel, they may be dental fricatives or dental stops ([t̪ʰ] and [d̪] respectively) depending on speaker. Some dialects of Irish have a "slender" (palatalised) d as /ðʲ/ and this may transfer over to English pronunciation. In still others, both dental fricatives are present since slender dental stops are lenited to [θʲ] and [ðʲ].

· The distinction between /ɒː/ and /oː/ in horse and hoarse is preserved, though not usually in Dublin or Belfast.

· A distinction between [ɛɹ]-[ɪɹ]-[ʌɹ] in herd-bird-curd may be found.

· /l/ is never velarised, except in (relatively recent) South Dublin English, often derisively termed D4 English, after the area where the accent predominates.

· The vowels in words such as boat and cane are usually monophthongs outside Dublin: [boːt], and [keːn].

· The /aɪ/ in "night" may be pronounced in a wide variety of ways, e.g. [əɪ], [ɔɪ], [ʌɪ] and [ɑɪ], the latter two being the most common in middle class speech, the former two, in popular speech.

· The /ɔɪ/ in "boy" may be pronounced [ɑːɪ] (i.e. the vowel of thought plus a y) in conservative accents (Henry 1957 for Co. Roscommon, Nally 1973 for Co. Westmeath).

· In some varieties, speakers make no distinction between the [ʌ] in putt and the [ʊ] in put, pronouncing both as the latter. Bertz (1975) found this merger in working-class Dublin speech, and a fluctuation between merger and distinction in General Dublin English (quoted in Wells 1982). Nevertheless, even for those Irish people who, say, have a different vowel sound in put and cut, pairs such as putt and put, look and luck may be pronounced identically.

· In some highly conservative varieties, words spelled with ea and pronounced with [iː] in RP are pronounced with [eː], for example meat, beat.

· In words like took where "oo" usually represents /ʊ/, speakers may use /uː/. This is most common in working-class Dublin accents and the speech of North-East Leinster.

· Any and many is pronounced to rhyme with nanny, Danny by very many speakers, i.e. with each of these words pronounced with /a/ or /ɛ/.

· /eɪ/ often becomes /ɛ/ in words such as gave and came (becoming "gev" and "kem").

· Consonant clusters ending in /j/ often change.

o /dj/ becomes /dʒ/, e.g. dew/due, duke and duty sound like "jew", "jook" and "jooty".

o /tj/ becomes /tʃ/, e.g. tube is "choob", tune is "choon".

o The following show neither dropping nor coalescence:

§ /kj/

§ /hj/

§ /mj/.

Irish English also always uses the alveolar or "light" L sound, as opposed to other English dialects which use a velar or "dark" L in word-final position. The naming of the letter H as "haitch" is standard, while the letter R is called "or", the letter A is often pronounced "ah", and the letter Z is often referred to as "e-zed" in working-class Dublin accents or parodies of same. Some words gain a syllable in Irish speech, like film, which becomes "fillum".

Leinster and Greater Dublin.

Dublin has a number of dialects which differ significantly based on class and age group. These are roughly divided into three categories: "local Dublin", or the broad-working class dialect (sometimes referred to as the "working-class", or "inner city" accent); "mainstream Dublin", the typical accent spoken by middle-class or suburban speakers; and "new Dublin", an accent among younger people (born after 1970). Features include:

· /ɒ/ as in lot has a variety of realisations. In Local, this vowel is often quite front and unrounded, ranging to [a]. In Mainstream, the sound varies between [ɑ] and [ɒ]. New Dublin speakers often realise this phoneme even higher, as [ɔ].

· /ɔ/ as in thought: In Local and Mainstream accents, this vowel is usually a lengthened variant of the corresponding LOT set (i.e. [aː] in Local and [ɒː] in Mainstream.) In New Dublin accents, this sound can be as high as [oː].

· /ʌ/ as in strut: in Local Dublin, this sound merges with the sound in foot, so that strut is pronounced [strʊt]. In Mainstream, a slight distinction is made between the two, with the vowel for strut varying greatly from [ʌ] to [ɤ]. In New Dublin this vowel can shift forward, toward [ɪ].

· /oʊ/ as in goat: in Dublin English, unlike other Hiberno-Englishes, this vowel is almost always diphthongised. Local Dublin features a low inglide, rendering this sound as [ʌo ~ ʌɔ], whereas Mainstream features a tighter diphthong: [oʊ]. New Dublin has a slightly fronterrealisation, ranging to [əʊ].

· /uː/ as in goose. Local Dublin features a unique, palatisedrealisation of this vowel, [ʲu], so that food sounds quite similar to feud. In Mainstream and New Dublin, this sound ranges to a more central vowel, [ʉ].

· /aɪ/ as in price: Traditionally this vowel ranges in pronunciation from [əi] in Local Dublin speech to [ai] in Mainstream Dublin. Among speakers born after 1970, the pronunciation [ɑɪ] often occurs before voiced consonants and word-finally.

· /aʊ/ as in mouth is usually fronted, to [æu] in Mainstream and New Dublin and more typically [ɛu] in Local.

· /ɔɪ/ as in choice: This sound ranges greatly, from [aɪ] in Local Dublin to a high-back realisation [oɪ] in New Dublin. Mainstream Dublin more typically tends toward [ɒɪ].


Rhoticity and rhotic consonants vary greatly in Dublin English. In Local Dublin, "r" can often be pronounced with an alveolar tap ([ɾ]), whereas Mainstream Dublin has a velarised alveolar approximant [ɹˠ] (which also may be found in Local Dublin) and New Dublin features a retroflex approximant, [ɻ].

Post-vocalically, Dublin English maintains three different standards. Local Dublin is often non-rhotic (giving lie to the repeated claim that Hiberno-English is universally rhotic), although some variants may be variably or very lightly rhotic. In non-rhotic varieties, the /ər/ in "lettER" is either lowered to [ɐ(ɹ)] or in some speakers may be backed and raised to [ɤ(ɹ)]. In Mainstream Dublin, this sound is gently rhotic ([əɹ], while New Dublin features a retroflex approximant [əɻ]. Other rhotic vowels are as follows:

· /ɑɹ/ as in start: This vowel has a uniquely high realisation in Local Dublin, ranging to [ɛː]. In Mainstream Dublin, this sound is more typically [aːɹ], whereas New Dublin can feature a more back vowel, [ɑːɻ]

· The "horse-hoarse" distinction in other Irish dialects is heavily preserved in Local Dublin, but only slightly maintained in Mainstream and New varieties. In Local, "force" words are pronounced with a strong diphthong, [ʌo], while "north" words feature a low monophthong, [aː]. Mainstream Dublin contrasts these two vowels slightly, as [ɒːɹ] and [oːɹ], while in New Dublin, these two phonemes are merged to [oːɻ].

· /ɜɹ/ as in nurse. In local Dublin, this phoneme is split, either pronounced as [ɛː] or [ʊː]. In this accent, words written as "-ur" are always pronounced as [ʊː], while words written as either "-er" or "-ir" are pronounced as [ɛː], unless "-er" or "-ir" follows a labial consonant (e.g. bird or first), when this sound has the [ʊː] realisation. In Mainstream and New Dublin this distinction is seldom preserved, with both phonemes typically merging to [ɚ].

Dublin Vowel Lengthening.

In Local Dublin, long monophthongs are often diphthongised, and while some diphthongs are tripthongised. This process can be summarised with these examples:

· School [skuːl] = [ˈskʲuwəl].

· Mean [miːn] = [ˈmɪjən].

· Five [faɪv] = [ˈfəjəv].


· Final "t" is heavily lenited in Local Dublin English so that "sit" can be pronounced [sɪh], [sɪʔ] or even [sɪ].

· Intervocalically, "t" can become an alveolar approximate in Local Dublin (e.g. "not only" = [na ɹ ʌonli], while in New and Mainstream varieties it can become an alveolar tap [ɾ], similar to American and Australian English.

· θ and ð, as in "think" and "this", usually become alveolar stops [t] and [d] in Local Dublin English, while Mainstream and New Dublin maintains the more standard dentalised stops common in other varieties of Hiberno-English.

· In Local Dublin, stops are often elided after sonorants, so that, for example sound is pronounced [sɛʊn].

The dialect of English spoken in Northern Ireland shows influence from the lowland Scots language.There are supposedly some minute differences in pronunciation between Protestants and Catholics, the best known of which is the name of the letter h, which Protestants tend to pronounce as "aitch", as in British English, and Catholics tend to pronounce as "haitch", as in Hiberno-English. However, geography is a much more important determinant of dialect than religious background.


Phonetic notation.

/i/ feet
/əi/ fight
/e/ fate
/əʉ/ shout
/ɛ/ bet
/ɛ̈/ bit
/a/ bat
/ɔ̈/ but
/ɑ/ pot
/ɔː/ bought
/o/ boat
/aː/ father
/ʉ/ boot, foot
/ɔe/ boy

· Vowels have phonemic vowel length, with one set of lexically long and one of lexically short phonemes. This may be variously influenced by the Scots system. It is considerably less phonemic than Received Pronunciation, and in vernacular Belfast speech vowel length may vary depending on stress.

· /a/ in after /w/, e.g. want, what, quality.

· /ɑ/ and /ɔː/ distinction in cot, body and caught, bawdy. Some varieties neutralise the distinction in long environments, e.g. don = dawn and pod = pawed.

· /e/ may occur in such words as beat, decent, leave, Jesus, etc. This feature is recessive.

· Lagan Valley /ɛ/ before /k/ in take and make, etc.

· /ɛ/ before velars in sack, bag, and bang, etc.

· Merger of /a/–/aː/ in all monosyllables, e.g. Sam and psalm [saːm ~ sɑːm] (the phonetic quality varies).

· /i/ may occur before palatalized consonants, e.g. king, fish, condition, brick and sick.

· /ɑ/ may occur before /p/ and /t/ in tap and top, etc.

· /ʉ/ before /r/ in floor, whore, door, board, etc.

· Vowel oppositions before /r/, e.g. /ɛrn/ earn, /fɔr/ for and /for/ four.


· Rhoticity, that is, retention of /r/ in all positions.

· Palatalisation of /k, ɡ, ŋ/ in the environment of front vowels.

· /l/ is not vocalised, except historically; usually "clear" as in Southern Hiberno-English, with some exceptions.

· Unaspirated /p/, /k/ between vowels in words such as pepper and packet.

· Voiced /d/ (or tapped /ɾ/) for /t/ between vowels in words such as butter and city. This is similar to North American and Australian English.

· Dental /t̪/ and /d̪/ for /t/ and /d/ before /r/ in words such as butter or dry. This feature is shared by Southern Hiberno-English.

· /ʍ/–/w/ contrast in which–witch. This feature is recessive, particularly in vernacular Belfast speech.

· Dental realisations of /t, d, n, l/ may occur through Irish influence before /r/, e.g. ladder, matter, dinner and pillar, etc.

· Elision of /d/ in hand [hɑːn], candle /ˈkanl/ and old [əʉl], etc.

· Elision of /b, ɡ/ in sing [sɪŋ], thimble, finger etc.

· /θ/ and /ð/ for th.

· /x/ for gh is retained in proper names and a few dialect words or pronunciations, e.g. lough, trough and sheugh.


American English

In many ways, compared to English English, North American English is conservative in its phonology. Some distinctive accents can be found on the East Coast (for example, in Eastern New England and New York City), partly because these areas were in contact with England, and imitated prestigious varieties of English English at a time when those varieties were undergoing changes. In addition, many speech communities on the East Coast have existed in their present locations longer than others. The interior of the United States, however, was settled by people from all regions of the existing U.S. and, as such, developed a far more generic linguistic pattern.

Most North American speech is rhotic, as English was in most places in the 17th century. Rhoticity was further supported by Hiberno-English and Scottish English as well as the fact most regions of England at this time also had rhotic accents. In most varieties of North American English, the sound corresponding to the letter r is a retroflex [ɻ] or alveolar approximant [ɹ] rather than a trill or a tap. The loss of syllable-final r in North America is confined mostly to the accents of eastern New England, New York City and surrounding areas, South Philadelphia, and the coastal portions of the South. In rural tidewater Virginia and eastern New England, 'r' is non-rhotic in accented (such as "bird", "work", "first", "birthday") as well as unaccented syllables, although this is declining among the younger generation of speakers. ( Dropping of syllable-final r sometimes happens in natively rhotic dialects if r is located in unaccented syllables or words and the next syllable or word begins in a consonant. In England, the lost r was often changed into [ə] ( schwa), giving rise to a new class of falling diphthongs. Furthermore, the er sound of fur or butter, is realized in AmE as a monophthongal r-colored vowel (stressed [ɝ] or unstressed [ɚ] as represented in the IPA). This does not happen in the non-rhotic varieties of North American speech.

Some other British English changes in which most North American dialects do not participate:

The shift of /æ/ to /ɑ/ (the so-called " broad A") before /f/, /s/, /θ/, /ð/, /z/, /v/ alone or preceded by a homorganic nasal. This is the difference between the British Received Pronunciation and American pronunciation of bath and dance. In the United States, only eastern New England speakers took up this modification, although even there it is becoming increasingly rare.

The realization of intervocalic /t/ as a glottal stop [ʔ] (as in [bɒʔəl] for bottle). This change is not universal for British English and is not considered a feature of Received Pronunciation. This is not a property of most North American dialects. Newfoundland English is a notable exception.

On the other hand, North American English has undergone some sound changes not found in Britain, especially not in its standard varieties. Many of these are instances of phonemic differentiation and include:

The merger of /ɑ/ and /ɒ/, making father and bother rhyme. This change is nearly universal in North American English, occurring almost everywhere except for parts of eastern New England, hence the Boston accent.

The merger of /ɒ/ and /ɔ/. This is the so-called cot-caught merger, where cot and caught are homophones. This change has occurred in eastern New England, in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas, and from the Great Plains westward.

 The red areas are those where non-rhotic pronunciations are found among some white people in the United States. AAVE-influenced non-rhotic pronunciations may be found among black people throughout the country.

For speakers who do not merge caught and cot: The replacement of the cot vowel with the caught vowel before voiceless fricatives (as in cloth, off [which is found in some old-fashioned varieties of RP]), as well as before /ŋ/ (as in strong, long), usually in gone, often in on, and irregularly before /g/ (log, hog, dog, fog [which is not found in British English at all]).

The replacement of the lot vowel with the strut vowel in most utterances of the words was, of, from, what and in many utterances of the words everybody, nobody, somebody, anybody; the word because has either /ʌ/ or /ɔ/; want has normally /ɔ/ or /ɑ/, sometimes /ʌ/.

 Vowel merger before intervocalic /ɹ/. Which vowels are affected varies between dialects. One such change is the laxing of /e/, /i/ and /u/ to /ɛ/, /ɪ/ and /ʊ/ before /ɹ/, causing pronunciations like [pɛɹ], [pɪɹ] and [pjʊɹ] for pair, peer and pure. The resulting sound [ʊɹ] is often further reduced to [ɝ], especially after palatals, so that cure, pure, mature and sure rhyme with fir.

 Dropping of /j/ after alveolar consonants so that new, duke, Tuesday, suit, resume, lute are pronounced /nu/, /duk/, /tuzdeɪ/, /sut/, /ɹɪzum/, /lut/.

 æ-tensing in environments that vary widely from accent to accent; for example, for many speakers, /æ/ is approximately realized as [eə] before nasal consonants. In some accents, particularly those from Philadelphia to New York City, [æ] and [eə] can even contrast sometimes, as in Yes, I can [kæn] vs. tin can [keən].

The flapping of intervocalic /t/ and /d/ to alveolar tap [ɾ] before unstressed vowels (as in butter, party) and syllabic /l/ (bottle), as well as at the end of a word or morpheme before any vowel (what else, whatever). Thus, for most speakers, pairs such as ladder/latter, metal/medal, and coating/coding are pronounced the same. For many speakers, this merger is incomplete and does not occur after /aɪ/; these speakers tend to pronounce writer with [əɪ] and rider with [aɪ]. This is a form of Canadian raising but, unlike more extreme forms of that process, does not affect /aʊ/.

Both intervocalic /nt/ and /n/ may be realized as [n] or [ɾ̃], making winter and winner homophones. This does not occur when the second syllable is stressed, as in entail.

The pin-pen merger, by which [ɛ] is raised to [ɪ] before nasal consonants, making pairs like pen/pin homophonous. This merger originated in Southern American English but is now found in parts of the Midwest and West as well.


Some mergers found in most varieties of both American and British English include:

The merger of the vowels /ɔ/ and /o/ before 'r', making pairs like horse/hoarse, corps/core, for/four, morning/mourning, etc. homophones.

The wine-whine merger making pairs like wine/whine, wet/whet, Wales/whales, wear/where, etc. homophones, in most cases eliminating /ʍ/, the voiceless labiovelar fricative. Many older varieties of southern and western AmE still keep these distinct, but the merger appears to be spreading.

English words that survived in the United States

A number of words and meanings that originated in Middle English or Early Modern English and that always have been in everyday use in the United States dropped out in most varieties of British English; some of these have cognates in Lowland Scots. Terms such as fall ("autumn"), pavement (to mean "road surface", where in Britain, as in Philadelphia, it is the equivalent of "sidewalk"), faucet, diaper, candy, skillet, eyeglasses, crib (for a baby), obligate, and raise a child are often regarded as Americanisms. Gotten ( past participle of get) is often considered to be an Americanism, although there are some areas of Britain, such as Lancashire and Yorkshire, that still continue to use it and sometimes also use putten as the past participle for put.

Other words and meanings, to various extents, were brought back to Britain, especially in the second half of the 20th century; these include hire ("to employ"), quit ("to stop," which spawned quitter in the U.S.), I guess (famously criticized by H. W. Fowler), baggage, hit (a place), and the adverbs overly and presently ("currently"). Some of these, for example monkey wrench and wastebasket, originated in 19th-century Britain.

The mandative subjunctive (as in "the City Attorney suggested that the case not be closed") is livelier in AmE than it is in British English; it appears in some areas as a spoken usage, and is considered obligatory in contexts that are more formal. The adjectives mad meaning "angry", smart meaning "intelligent", and sick meaning "ill" are also more frequent in American than British English.

Regional differences


While written AmE is standardized across the country, there are several recognizable variations in the spoken language, both in pronunciation and in vernacular vocabulary. General American is the name given to any American accent that is relatively free of noticeable regional influences.

After the Civil War, the settlement of the western territories by migrants from the Eastern U.S. led to dialect mixing and leveling, so that regional dialects are most strongly differentiated along the Eastern seaboard. The Connecticut River and Long Island Sound is usually regarded as the southern/western extent of New England speech, which has its roots in the speech of the Puritans from East Anglia who settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Potomac River generally divides a group of Northern coastal dialects from the beginning of the Coastal Southern dialect area; in between these two rivers several local variations exist, chief among them the one that prevails in and around New York City and northern New Jersey, which developed on a Dutch substratum after the British conquered New Amsterdam. The main features of Coastal Southern speech can be traced to the speech of the English from the West Country who settled in Virginia after leaving England at the time of the English Civil War, and to the African influences from the African Americans who were enslaved in the South.

Although no longer region-specific, African American Vernacular English, which remains prevalent among African Americans, has a close relationship to Southern varieties of AmE and has greatly influenced everyday speech of many Americans.

A distinctive speech pattern was also generated by the separation of Canada from the United States, centered on the Great Lakes region. This is the Inland North Dialect—the "standard Midwestern" speech that was the basis for General American in the mid-20th Century (although it has been recently modified by the northern cities vowel shift). Those not from this area frequently confuse it with the North Midland dialect treated below, referring to both collectively as "Midwestern." The so-called "Minnesota Nice" dialect is also prevalent in the upper Midwest, and is characterized by influences from the German and Scandinavian settlers of the region (yah for yes/ja in German, pronounced the same way).

In the interior, the situation is very different. West of the Appalachian Mountains begins the broad zone of what is generally called " Midland" speech. This is divided into two discrete subdivisions, the North Midland that begins north of the Ohio River valley area, and the South Midland speech; sometimes the former is designated simply "Midland" and the latter is reckoned as "Highland Southern." The North Midland speech continues to expand westward until it becomes the closely related Western dialect which contains  Pacific Northwest English as well as the well-known California English, although in the immediate San Francisco area some older speakers do not possess the cot-caught merger and thus retain the distinction between words such as cot and caught which reflects a historical Mid-Atlantic heritage. Mormon and Mexican settlers in the West influenced the development of Utah English.

The South Midland or Highland Southern dialect follows the Ohio River in a generally southwesterly direction, moves across Arkansas and Oklahoma west of the Mississippi, and peters out in West Texas. It is a version of the Midland speech that has assimilated some coastal Southern forms (outsiders often mistakenly believe South Midland speech and coastal South speech to be the same).


The island state of Hawaii has a distinctive Hawaiian Pidgin.


Finally, dialect development in the United States has been notably influenced by the distinctive speech of such important cultural centers as Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Charleston, New Orleans, and Detroit, which imposed their marks on the surrounding areas.


Differences between British English and American English


American English and British English (BrE) differ at the levels of phonology, phonetics, vocabulary, and, to a lesser extent, grammar and orthography. The first large American dictionary, An American Dictionary of the English Language, was written by Noah Webster in 1828; Webster intended to show that the United States, which was a relatively new country at the time, spoke a different dialect from that of Britain.


Differences in grammar are relatively minor, and normally do not affect mutual intelligibility; these include, but are not limited to: different use of some verbal auxiliaries; formal (rather than notional) agreement with collective nouns; different preferences for the past forms of a few verbs (e.g. learn, burn, sneak, dive, get); different prepositions and adverbs in certain contexts (e.g. AmE in school, BrE at school); and whether or not a definite article is used in a few cases (AmE to the hospital, BrE to hospital). Often, these differences are a matter of relative preferences rather than absolute rules; and most are not stable, since the two varieties are constantly influencing each other.

Differences in orthography are also trivial. Some of the forms that now serve to distinguish American from British spelling (colour for colour, centre for centre, traveler for traveller, etc.) were introduced by Noah Webster himself; others are due to spelling tendencies in Britain from the 17th century until the present day (e.g. -ise for -ize (although the Oxford English Dictionary still prefers the -ize ending), programme for program, skilful for skillful, chequered for checkered, etc.), in some cases favored by the  francophile tastes of 19th century Victorian England, which had little effect on AmE.

The most noticeable differences between AmE and BrE are at the levels of pronunciation and vocabulary.

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