Jack North
American vs. English

Is it a torch or a flashlight? Maybe an elevator or a lift? Apartment or flat? Cell phone, mobile, or handy? Tele or TV. 


As an American, I am sometimes challenged to understand what my British brethren are talking about. The above examples are just "off the top of my head" (...is that an American expression or both?)

What differences have you noticed? 


Remember the great quote: "two nations divided by a common language."

Aug 3, 2014 10:26 PM
Comments · 32

I have friends from UK and also from USA so as I heard from them during speech there is difference in prononucation of the  word "Water" ,in Word British don't pronounce R but American don't pronounce T 

also this sentence is used different 

I've got my food ( Biritsh)

I've gotten my food ( American)

August 3, 2014

I think that most British people recognise that although English is now the world's lingua franca, it is AE that has the ascendancy over BE due to the sheer volume of its native speakers and the dominance of America culture.


Here in England our popular culture (film, music, literature etc) is saturated with American influences, and is likely to become even more so in future. There's no point in getting too het up about it. Our language has been evolving and absorbing external influences for thousands of years, so it's hardly a new phenomenon...


I don't think you'll see us dropping the 'u' in 'colour' and 'flavour' any time soon though... ;-)



August 4, 2014

Sam, AE also has the word "football", but it's a different sport than soccer; American football is a sport that evolved from rugby.  American football uses an oval-shaped "football" instead of a round-shaped "soccer ball". 

<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_football">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_football</a>;


August 4, 2014

So true Mike...one that particularly annoys many Brits is the American use of 'aluminum' for what we Brits call 'aluminIum'...there's currently an advert on English TV that uses this particular word to humorously illustrate the differences between the two languages. 


Interestingly, 'humorous' is a word that catches a lot of people out. Despite the root word in BE being 'humour' not 'humor', we omit the U in the word 'humorous' (and not just out of deference to AE - our use of the spelling dates back to the 15th century, before the discovery of America). 


Some Brits erroneously insert a U thinking that 'humorous' is used exclusively in AE. It isn't...it's used in both languages, and 'humoUrous is a misspelling. 


PS - wow, Mike, and us Brits are supposed to be class conscious! It sounds deliciously un-PC to call a vest a wife-beater!

August 4, 2014

But do be careful not to get your fannies mixed up again, Jane. That COULD cause a few problems...

August 4, 2014
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Jack North
Language Skills
Learning Language