Tag Archives: American English

Britishisms in America

According to an article from BBC News, British English words and phrases are creeping in to American English. Ben Yagoda, Professor of English at the University of Delaware, has even set up a blog to track them. He’s so far found around 150, from skint to cheers and loo to mate. According to an associate(…)

10 British insults

There are a lot of similarities between American English and British English. There are also a lot of differences, and these are a lot more fun! BBC America is helping smooth the linguistic pathway, with its list of “10 Stinging British Insults”, only one of which is reproduced below as the rest are NSFW. Minger(…)

How Americans are changing the sound of English

An interesting article in Slate busts the myth that the American accent is becoming homogenized. They take as an example the changes happening in accents around the Great Lakes – known to linguists as the Northern Cities Shift (NCS). This is seen as perhaps being the biggest change for centuries in English pronunciation. And when(…)

American expressions Brits don’t understand

Whilst visiting the states last month, I discovered there’s a lot of things Americans don’t understand about the British (one being the difference between England, Britain and the UK). But there’s also a lot the British don’t understand about Americans. BBC America has compiled a list of five American expressions Brits don’t understand. Here are(…)

How Americans speak

Back in 1962, Fred Cassidy was named chief editor of an American dialect dictionary project. He envisioned the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE) would be complete by 1976; the first volume was not published until 1985, and covered A to C. The final volume, V, is published in March. DARE stands alone as the(…)


Over at the Economist’s Johnson blog, they’ve been running a highly unscientific but incredibly interesting survey asking British people what Americanisms they use. Having lived and worked in the States, as well as worked for an American boss in the UK, I can attest to the fact it’s easier to acclimate than hold on to(…)

Main street or high street?

The differences between American English and British English have always been of interest to me, partly I suppose because I watch so much American television. One difference that is obvious to those who have been to both countries is the use of ‘main street’ and ‘high street’. Both mean the same thing – they refer(…)

Stuffing or dressing?

My last post wished you all a happy Thanksgiving – I hope everyone has now digested their turkey and is ready to read more about languages! I’m not straying too far from the holiday however, as a friend sent me a link to this post on the excellent Separated By a Common Language blog, which(…)

Global English

Earlier this month I posted about a debate in The Economist over whether the English-speaking world should adopt American English. Some people who commented on the debate pointed out that no single group of people controls the English language – like all languages it is constantly in motion and changing, depending on who uses is(…)