American English

American English

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American English is a set of dialect
Dialect
The term dialect is used in two distinct ways, even by linguists. One usage refers to a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers. The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors,...

s of the English language
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 used mostly in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Approximately two-thirds of the world's native speakers
First language
A first language is the language a person has learned from birth or within the critical period, or that a person speaks the best and so is often the basis for sociolinguistic identity...

 of English live in the United States.

English is the most common language in the United States. Though the U.S. federal government
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

 has no official language, English is the common language used by the federal government and is considered the de facto
De facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "concerning fact." In law, it often means "in practice but not necessarily ordained by law" or "in practice or actuality, but not officially established." It is commonly used in contrast to de jure when referring to matters of law, governance, or...

 language of the United States because of its widespread use. English has been given official status by 28 of the 50 state governments.
The use of English in the United States was a result of English colonization
British colonization of the Americas
British colonization of the Americas began in 1607 in Jamestown, Virginia and reached its peak when colonies had been established throughout the Americas...

. The first wave of English-speaking settlers arrived in North America in the 17th century. Since then, American English has been influenced by the languages of the Native American
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 population, the languages of European and non-European colonists, immigrants and neighbors, and the languages of slaves from West Africa
West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

.

Phonology


Compared to English as spoken in England
English language in England
The English language in England refers to the English language as spoken in England. These forms of English are a subsection of British English, as spoken throughout Great Britain. Other terms used to refer to the English language as spoken in England include:...

, North American English is more homogeneous. Some distinctive accents can be found on the East Coast
East Coast of the United States
The East Coast of the United States, also known as the Eastern Seaboard, refers to the easternmost coastal states in the United States, which touch the Atlantic Ocean and stretch up to Canada. The term includes the U.S...

 (for example, in eastern New England and New York City) partly because these areas were in close contact with England and imitated prestigious varieties of British English at a time when these were undergoing changes. In addition, many speech communities on the East Coast have existed in their present locations for centuries, while the interior of the country was settled by people from all regions of the existing United States and developed a far more generic linguistic pattern.


Most North American speech is rhotic
Rhotic and non-rhotic accents
English pronunciation can be divided into two main accent groups: a rhotic speaker pronounces a rhotic consonant in words like hard; a non-rhotic speaker does not...

, as English was in most places in the 17th century. Rhoticity was further supported by Hiberno-English
Hiberno-English
Hiberno-English is the dialect of English written and spoken in Ireland .English was first brought to Ireland during the Norman invasion of the late 12th century. Initially it was mainly spoken in an area known as the Pale around Dublin, with Irish spoken throughout the rest of the country...

, West Country English and Scottish English
Scottish English
Scottish English refers to the varieties of English spoken in Scotland. It may or may not be considered distinct from the Scots language. It is always considered distinct from Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic language....

 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 an alveolar approximant [ɹ] or retroflex [ɻ] 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
Boston accent
The Boston dialect is the dialect characteristic of English spoken in the city of Boston and much of eastern Massachusetts. The accent and closely related accents can be heard commonly in an area stretching into much of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, and areas of south-western Nova Scotia...

, New York City and surrounding areas and the coastal portions of the South
Southern American English
Southern American English is a group of dialects of the English language spoken throughout the Southern region of the United States, from Southern and Eastern Maryland, West Virginia and Kentucky to the Gulf Coast, and from the Atlantic coast to most of Texas and Oklahoma.The Southern dialects make...

, and African American Vernacular English
African American Vernacular English
African American Vernacular English —also called African American English; less precisely Black English, Black Vernacular, Black English Vernacular , or Black Vernacular English —is an African American variety of American English...

. In rural tidewater Virginia and eastern New England
New England
New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

, '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
Schwa
In linguistics, specifically phonetics and phonology, schwa can mean the following:*An unstressed and toneless neutral vowel sound in some languages, often but not necessarily a mid-central vowel...

), giving rise to a new class of falling diphthong
Diphthong
A diphthong , also known as a gliding vowel, refers to two adjacent vowel sounds occurring within the same syllable. Technically, a diphthong is a vowel with two different targets: That is, the tongue moves during the pronunciation of the vowel...

s. Furthermore, the er sound of fur or butter, is realized in AmE as a monophthong
Monophthong
A monophthong is a pure vowel sound, one whose articulation at both beginning and end is relatively fixed, and which does not glide up or down towards a new position of articulation....

al r-colored vowel
R-colored vowel
In phonetics, an R-colored or rhotic vowel is a vowel that is modified in a way that results in a lowering in frequency of the third formant...

 (stressed [ɝ] or unstressed [ɚ] as represented in the IPA
International Phonetic Alphabet
The International Phonetic Alphabet "The acronym 'IPA' strictly refers [...] to the 'International Phonetic Association'. But it is now such a common practice to use the acronym also to refer to the alphabet itself that resistance seems pedantic...

). This does not happen in the non-rhotic varieties of North American speech.

Some other 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
    Received Pronunciation
    Received Pronunciation , also called the Queen's English, Oxford English or BBC English, is the accent of Standard English in England, with a relationship to regional accents similar to the relationship in other European languages between their standard varieties and their regional forms...

     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
    Received Pronunciation
    Received Pronunciation , also called the Queen's English, Oxford English or BBC English, is the accent of Standard English in England, with a relationship to regional accents similar to the relationship in other European languages between their standard varieties and their regional forms...

    . This is not a property of most North American dialects. Newfoundland English
    Newfoundland English
    Newfoundland English is a name for several accents and dialects thereof the English found in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Most of these differ substantially from the English commonly spoken elsewhere in Canada...

     is a notable exception.


On the other hand, North American English has undergone some sound changes not found in other varieties of English speech:
  • The merger of /ɑ/ and /ɒ/, making father and bother rhyme. This change is nearly universal in North American English. Exceptions are accents in northeastern New England
    New England
    New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut...

    , such as the Boston accent
    Boston accent
    The Boston dialect is the dialect characteristic of English spoken in the city of Boston and much of eastern Massachusetts. The accent and closely related accents can be heard commonly in an area stretching into much of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, and areas of south-western Nova Scotia...

    , and in New York City).
  • The merger of /ɑ/ and /ɔ/. This is the so-called cot–caught merger, where cot and caught are homophone
    Homophone
    A homophone is a word that is pronounced the same as another word but differs in meaning. The words may be spelled the same, such as rose and rose , or differently, such as carat, caret, and carrot, or to, two, and too. Homophones that are spelled the same are also both homographs and homonyms...

    s. This change has occurred in eastern New England, in Pittsburgh
    Pittsburgh English
    Pittsburgh English, popularly known by outsiders as Pittsburghese, is the dialect of American English spoken by many especially older residents of Pittsburgh and parts of surrounding Western Pennsylvania in the United States, a group referred to by locals and others as Yinzers.-Overview:Many of the...

     and surrounding areas, and from the Great Plains
    Great Plains
    The Great Plains are a broad expanse of flat land, much of it covered in prairie, steppe and grassland, which lies west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada. This area covers parts of the U.S...

     westward.

  • 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 /ɡ/ (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
    English-language vowel changes before historic r
    In the phonological history of the English language, vowels followed by the phoneme have undergone a number of phonological changes...

     before intervocalic /ɹ/. Which vowels are affected varies between dialects, but the Mary-marry-merry, nearer-mirror, and hurry–furry mergers are all widespread. Another 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
    Palatal consonant
    Palatal consonants are consonants articulated with the body of the tongue raised against the hard palate...

    , so that cure, pure, mature and sure rhyme with fir.
  • Dropping of /j/ is more extensive than in RP. In most North American accents, /j/ is dropped after all alveolar
    Alveolar consonant
    Alveolar consonants are articulated with the tongue against or close to the superior alveolar ridge, which is called that because it contains the alveoli of the superior teeth...

     and interdental consonant, so that new, duke, Tuesday, resume are pronounced /nu/, /duk/, /tuzdeɪ/, /ɹɪzum/.
  • æ-tensing in environments that vary widely from accent to accent; for example, for many speakers, /æ/ is approximately realized as [eə] before nasal consonant
    Nasal consonant
    A nasal consonant is a type of consonant produced with a lowered velum in the mouth, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. Examples of nasal consonants in English are and , in words such as nose and mouth.- Definition :...

    s. In some accents, particularly those from Baltimore
    Baltimore
    Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore...

    , Philadelphia, and New York City
    New York City
    New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

    , [æ] and [eə] contrast sometimes, as in Yes, I can [kæn] vs. tin can [keən].
  • The flapping of intervocalic /t/ and /d/ to alveolar tap
    Alveolar tap
    The alveolar flap or tap is a type of consonantal sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents dental, alveolar, and postalveolar flaps is .-Definition:...

     [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
    Canadian raising
    Canadian raising is a phonetic phenomenon that occurs in varieties of the English language, especially Canadian English, in which certain diphthongs are "raised" before voiceless consonants...

     but, unlike more extreme forms of that process, does not affect /aʊ/. In some areas and idiolects, a phonemic distinction between what elsewhere become homophones through this process is maintained by vowel lengthening in the vowel preceding the formerly voiced consonant, e.g., [ˈlæːɾɹ̩] for "ladder" as opposed to [ˈlæɾɹ̩] for "latter".
  • T glottalization is common when /t/ is in the final position of a syllable or word (get, fretful: [ɡɛʔ], [ˈfɹɛʔfəl]), though this is always superseded by the aforementioned rules of flapping
  • Both intervocalic /nt/ and /n/ may be realized as [n] or [ɾ̃], making winter and winner homophones. Most areas in which /nt/ is reduced to /n/, it is accompanied further by nasalization of simple post-vocalic /n/, so that /Vnt/ and /Vn/ remain phonemically distinct. In such cases, the preceding vowel becomes nasalized, and is followed in cases where the former /nt/ was present, by a distinct /n/. This stop-absorption by the preceding nasal /n/ 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
    Southern American English
    Southern American English is a group of dialects of the English language spoken throughout the Southern region of the United States, from Southern and Eastern Maryland, West Virginia and Kentucky to the Gulf Coast, and from the Atlantic coast to most of Texas and Oklahoma.The Southern dialects make...

     but is now also sometimes found in parts of the Midwest and West as well, especially in people with roots in the mountainous areas of the Southeastern United States
    Southeastern United States
    The Southeastern United States, colloquially referred to as the Southeast, is the eastern portion of the Southern United States. It is one of the most populous regions in the United States of America....

    .


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. homophone
    Homophone
    A homophone is a word that is pronounced the same as another word but differs in meaning. The words may be spelled the same, such as rose and rose , or differently, such as carat, caret, and carrot, or to, two, and too. Homophones that are spelled the same are also both homographs and homonyms...

    s, in most cases eliminating /ʍ/, the voiceless labiovelar fricative. Many older varieties of southern and western American English still keep these distinct, but the merger appears to be spreading.

Vocabulary


North America has given the English lexicon
Lexicon
In linguistics, the lexicon of a language is its vocabulary, including its words and expressions. A lexicon is also a synonym of the word thesaurus. More formally, it is a language's inventory of lexemes. Coined in English 1603, the word "lexicon" derives from the Greek "λεξικόν" , neut...

 many thousands of words, meanings, and phrases. Several thousand are now used in English as spoken internationally.

Creation of an American lexicon


The process of coining new lexical items started as soon as the colonists began borrowing names for unfamiliar flora, fauna, and topography from the Native American languages. Examples of such names are opossum, raccoon
Raccoon
Procyon is a genus of nocturnal mammals, comprising three species commonly known as raccoons, in the family Procyonidae. The most familiar species, the common raccoon , is often known simply as "the" raccoon, as the two other raccoon species in the genus are native only to the tropics and are...

, squash
Squash (fruit)
Squashes generally refer to four species of the genus Cucurbita, also called marrows depending on variety or the nationality of the speaker...

and moose
Moose
The moose or Eurasian elk is the largest extant species in the deer family. Moose are distinguished by the palmate antlers of the males; other members of the family have antlers with a dendritic configuration...

(from Algonquian
Algonquian languages
The Algonquian languages also Algonkian) are a subfamily of Native American languages which includes most of the languages in the Algic language family. The name of the Algonquian language family is distinguished from the orthographically similar Algonquin dialect of the Ojibwe language, which is a...

). Other Native American loanwords, such as wigwam
Wigwam
A wigwam or wickiup is a domed room dwelling used by certain Native American tribes. The term wickiup is generally used to label these kinds of dwellings in American Southwest and West. Wigwam is usually applied to these structures in the American Northeast...

or moccasin
Moccasin
A Moccasin is a form of shoe worn by Native Americans, as well as by hunters, traders, and settlers in the frontier regions of North America.Moccasin may also refer to:* Moccasin , an American Thoroughbred racehorse-Places:...

, describe articles in common use among Native Americans. The languages of the other colonizing nations also added to the American vocabulary; for instance, cookie
Cookie
In the United States and Canada, a cookie is a small, flat, baked treat, usually containing fat, flour, eggs and sugar. In most English-speaking countries outside North America, the most common word for this is biscuit; in many regions both terms are used, while in others the two words have...

, cruller
Cruller
A cruller, or twister, is a twisted and usually ring-shaped fried pastry. It is traditionally made of dough somewhat like that of a cake doughnut, often topped with plain powdered sugar; powdered sugar mixed with cinnamon; or icing...

, stoop
Urban stoop
In urban architecture, a stoop is a small staircase ending in a platform and leading to the entrance of an apartment building or other building.-Etymology:...

, and pit (of a fruit) from Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

; levee
Levee
A levee, levée, dike , embankment, floodbank or stopbank is an elongated naturally occurring ridge or artificially constructed fill or wall, which regulates water levels...

, portage
("carrying of boats or goods") and (probably) gopher
Gopher (animal)
The term gopher as it is commonly used does not relate to any one species, but is a generic term used to describe any of several small burrowing rodents endemic to North America, including the pocket gopher , also called true gophers, and the ground squirrel , including Richardson's ground squirrel...

from French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

; barbecue
Barbecue
Barbecue or barbeque , used chiefly in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia is a method and apparatus for cooking meat, poultry and occasionally fish with the heat and hot smoke of a fire, smoking wood, or hot coals of...

, stevedore
Stevedore
Stevedore, dockworker, docker, dock labourer, wharfie and longshoreman can have various waterfront-related meanings concerning loading and unloading ships, according to place and country....

, and rodeo
Rodeo
Rodeo is a competitive sport which arose out of the working practices of cattle herding in Spain, Mexico, and later the United States, Canada, South America and Australia. It was based on the skills required of the working vaqueros and later, cowboys, in what today is the western United States,...

from Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

.

Among the earliest and most notable regular "English" additions to the American vocabulary, dating from the early days of colonization through the early 19th century, are terms describing the features of the North American landscape; for instance, run, branch, fork, snag, bluff
Hill
A hill is a landform that extends above the surrounding terrain. Hills often have a distinct summit, although in areas with scarp/dip topography a hill may refer to a particular section of flat terrain without a massive summit A hill is a landform that extends above the surrounding terrain. Hills...

, gulch
Gulch
A gulch is a deep V-shaped valley formed by erosion. It may contain a small stream or dry creek bed and is usually larger in size than a gully. Occasionally, sudden intense rainfall may produce flash floods in the area of the gulch....

, neck
(of the woods), barrens, bottomland, notch, knob, riffle, rapid
Rapid
A rapid is a section of a river where the river bed has a relatively steep gradient causing an increase in water velocity and turbulence. A rapid is a hydrological feature between a run and a cascade. A rapid is characterised by the river becoming shallower and having some rocks exposed above the...

s, watergap, cutoff, trail
Trail
A trail is a path with a rough beaten or dirt/stone surface used for travel. Trails may be for use only by walkers and in some places are the main access route to remote settlements...

, timberline
and divide
Water divide
A drainage divide, water divide, divide or watershed is the line separating neighbouring drainage basins...

. Already existing words such as creek
Stream
A stream is a body of water with a current, confined within a bed and stream banks. Depending on its locale or certain characteristics, a stream may be referred to as a branch, brook, beck, burn, creek, "crick", gill , kill, lick, rill, river, syke, bayou, rivulet, streamage, wash, run or...

, slough
Swamp
A swamp is a wetland with some flooding of large areas of land by shallow bodies of water. A swamp generally has a large number of hammocks, or dry-land protrusions, covered by aquatic vegetation, or vegetation that tolerates periodical inundation. The two main types of swamp are "true" or swamp...

, sleet
Ice pellets
Ice pellets are a form of precipitation consisting of small, translucent balls of ice. Ice pellets usually are smaller than hailstones. They often bounce when they hit the ground, and generally do not freeze into a solid mass unless mixed with freezing rain...

and (in later use) watershed
Drainage basin
A drainage basin is an extent or an area of land where surface water from rain and melting snow or ice converges to a single point, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another waterbody, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, wetland, sea, or ocean...

received new meanings that were unknown in England.

Other noteworthy American toponyms are found among loanwords; for example, prairie
Prairie
Prairies are considered part of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome by ecologists, based on similar temperate climates, moderate rainfall, and grasses, herbs, and shrubs, rather than trees, as the dominant vegetation type...

, butte
Butte
A butte is a conspicuous isolated hill with steep, often vertical sides and a small, relatively flat top; it is smaller than mesas, plateaus, and table landform tables. In some regions, such as the north central and northwestern United States, the word is used for any hill...

(French); bayou
Bayou
A bayou is an American term for a body of water typically found in flat, low-lying areas, and can refer either to an extremely slow-moving stream or river , or to a marshy lake or wetland. The name "bayou" can also refer to creeks that see level changes due to tides and hold brackish water which...

(Choctaw
Choctaw
The Choctaw are a Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States...

 via Louisiana French); coulee
Coulee
Coulee is applied rather loosely to different landforms, all of which refer to a kind of valley or drainage zone.The word coulee comes from the Canadian French coulée, from French word couler meaning "to flow"....

(Canadian French, but used also in Louisiana with a different meaning); canyon
Canyon
A canyon or gorge is a deep ravine between cliffs often carved from the landscape by a river. Rivers have a natural tendency to reach a baseline elevation, which is the same elevation as the body of water it will eventually drain into. This forms a canyon. Most canyons were formed by a process of...

, mesa
Mesa
A mesa or table mountain is an elevated area of land with a flat top and sides that are usually steep cliffs. It takes its name from its characteristic table-top shape....

, arroyo
Arroyo (creek)
An arroyo , a Spanish word translated as brook, and also called a wash is usually a dry creek or stream bed—gulch that temporarily or seasonally fills and flows after sufficient rain. Wadi is a similar term in Africa. In Spain, a rambla has a similar meaning to arroyo.-Types and processes:Arroyos...

(Spanish); vlei, skate, kill
Kill (body of water)
As a body of water, a kill is a creek. The word comes from the Middle Dutch kille, meaning "riverbed" or "water channel." The modern Dutch term is kil....

(Dutch, Hudson Valley
Hudson Valley
The Hudson Valley comprises the valley of the Hudson River and its adjacent communities in New York State, United States, from northern Westchester County northward to the cities of Albany and Troy.-History:...

).

The word corn, used in England to refer to wheat (or any cereal), came to denote the plant Zea mays, the most important crop in the U.S., originally named Indian corn by the earliest settlers; wheat, rye, barley, oats, etc. came to be collectively referred to as grain
GRAIN
GRAIN is a small international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems. Our support takes the form of independent research and analysis, networking at local, regional and...

(or breadstuffs). Other notable farm related vocabulary additions were the new meanings assumed by barn
Barn
A barn is an agricultural building used for storage and as a covered workplace. It may sometimes be used to house livestock or to store farming vehicles and equipment...

(not only a building for hay and grain storage, but also for housing livestock) and team (not just the horses, but also the vehicle along with them), as well as, in various periods, the terms range
Rangeland
Rangelands are vast natural landscapes in the form of grasslands, shrublands, woodlands, wetlands, and deserts. Types of rangelands include tallgrass and shortgrass prairies, desert grasslands and shrublands, woodlands, savannas, chaparrals, steppes, and tundras...

, (corn) crib
Corn crib
A corn crib or corncrib is a type of granary used to dry and store corn. It is also known as a cornhouse or corn house, though this term can refer to any granary....

, truck, elevator
Grain elevator
A grain elevator is a tower containing a bucket elevator, which scoops up, elevates, and then uses gravity to deposit grain in a silo or other storage facility...

, sharecropping
Sharecropping
Sharecropping is a system of agriculture in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crop produced on the land . This should not be confused with a crop fixed rent contract, in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a fixed amount of...

and feedlot
Feedlot
A feedlot or feedyard is a type of animal feeding operation which is used in factory farming for finishing livestock, notably beef cattle, but also swine, horses, sheep, turkeys, chickens or ducks, prior to slaughter. Large beef feedlots are called Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations . They...

.


Ranch
Ranch
A ranch is an area of landscape, including various structures, given primarily to the practice of ranching, the practice of raising grazing livestock such as cattle or sheep for meat or wool. The word most often applies to livestock-raising operations in the western United States and Canada, though...

,
later applied to a house style, derives from Mexican Spanish
Mexican Spanish
Mexican Spanish is a version of the Spanish language, as spoken in Mexico and in various places of Canada and the United States of America, where there are communities of Mexican origin....

; most Spanish contributions came after the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

, with the opening of the West. Among these are, other than toponyms, chaps
Chaps
Chaps are sturdy coverings for the legs consisting of leggings and a belt. They are buckled on over trousers with the chaps' integrated belt, but unlike trousers they have no seat and are not joined at the crotch. They are designed to provide protection for the legs and are usually made of leather...

(from chaparreras), plaza
Plaza
Plaza is a Spanish word related to "field" which describes an open urban public space, such as a city square. All through Spanish America, the plaza mayor of each center of administration held three closely related institutions: the cathedral, the cabildo or administrative center, which might be...

, lasso
Lasso
A lasso , also referred to as a lariat, riata, or reata , is a loop of rope that is designed to be thrown around a target and tighten when pulled. It is a well-known tool of the American cowboy. The word is also a verb; to lasso is to successfully throw the loop of rope around something...

, bronco
Bronco
Bronco, or bronc is a term used in the United States, northern Mexico and Canada to refer to an untrained horse or one that habitually bucks. It may refer to a feral horse that has lived in the wild its entire life, but is also used to refer to domestic horses not yet fully trained to saddle, and...

, buckaroo, rodeo
Rodeo
Rodeo is a competitive sport which arose out of the working practices of cattle herding in Spain, Mexico, and later the United States, Canada, South America and Australia. It was based on the skills required of the working vaqueros and later, cowboys, in what today is the western United States,...

;
examples of "English" additions from the cowboy
Cowboy
A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks. The historic American cowboy of the late 19th century arose from the vaquero traditions of northern Mexico and became a figure of...

 era are bad man, maverick, chuck ("food") and Boot Hill
Boot Hill
Boot Hill is the name for any number of cemeteries, chiefly in the American West. During the 19th century it was a common name for the burial grounds of gunfighters, or those who "died with their boots on" ....

;
from the California Gold Rush
California Gold Rush
The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The first to hear confirmed information of the gold rush were the people in Oregon, the Sandwich Islands , and Latin America, who were the first to start flocking to...

 came such idioms as hit pay dirt or strike it rich. The word blizzard probably originated in the West. A couple of notable late 18th century additions are the verb belittle and the noun bid, both first used in writing by Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

.

With the new continent developed new forms of dwelling, and hence a large inventory of words designating real estate concepts (land office, lot, outlands, waterfront, the verbs locate and relocate, betterment, addition, subdivision), types of property (log cabin
Log cabin
A log cabin is a house built from logs. It is a fairly simple type of log house. A distinction should be drawn between the traditional meanings of "log cabin" and "log house." Historically most "Log cabins" were a simple one- or 1½-story structures, somewhat impermanent, and less finished or less...

, adobe
Adobe
Adobe is a natural building material made from sand, clay, water, and some kind of fibrous or organic material , which the builders shape into bricks using frames and dry in the sun. Adobe buildings are similar to cob and mudbrick buildings. Adobe structures are extremely durable, and account for...

)
in the 18th century; frame house, apartment
Apartment
An apartment or flat is a self-contained housing unit that occupies only part of a building...

, tenement house, shack
Shack
A shack is a type of small house, usually in a state of disrepair. The word may derive from the Nahuatl word xacalli or "adobe house" by way of Mexican Spanish xacal/jacal, which has the same meaning as "shack". It was a common usage among people of Mexican ancestry throughout the U.S...

, shanty
in the 19th century; project, condominium
Condominium
A condominium, or condo, is the form of housing tenure and other real property where a specified part of a piece of real estate is individually owned while use of and access to common facilities in the piece such as hallways, heating system, elevators, exterior areas is executed under legal rights...

, townhouse
Townhouse
A townhouse is the term historically used in the United Kingdom, Ireland and in many other countries to describe a residence of a peer or member of the aristocracy in the capital or major city. Most such figures owned one or more country houses in which they lived for much of the year...

, split-level, mobile home
Mobile home
Mobile homes or static caravans are prefabricated homes built in factories, rather than on site, and then taken to the place where they will be occupied...

, multi-family
in the 20th century), and parts thereof (driveway
Driveway
A driveway is a type of private road for local access to one or a small group of structures, and is owned and maintained by an individual or group....

, breezeway, backyard, dooryard; clapboard
Clapboard (architecture)
Clapboard, also known as bevel siding or lap siding or weather-board , is a board used typically for exterior horizontal siding that has one edge thicker than the other and where the board above laps over the one below...

, siding
Siding
Siding is the outer covering or cladding of a house meant to shed water and protect from the effects of weather. On a building that uses siding, it may act as a key element in the aesthetic beauty of the structure and directly influence its property value....

, trim, baseboard
Baseboard
In architecture, a baseboard is a board covering the lowest part of an interior wall...

; stoop
(from Dutch), family room, den; and, in recent years, HVAC
HVAC
HVAC refers to technology of indoor or automotive environmental comfort. HVAC system design is a major subdiscipline of mechanical engineering, based on the principles of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and heat transfer...

, central air, walkout basement).


Ever since the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

, a great number of terms connected with the U.S. political institutions have entered the language; examples are run, gubernatorial, primary election
Primary election
A primary election is an election in which party members or voters select candidates for a subsequent election. Primary elections are one means by which a political party nominates candidates for the next general election....

, carpetbagger
Carpetbagger
Carpetbaggers was a pejorative term Southerners gave to Northerners who moved to the South during the Reconstruction era, between 1865 and 1877....

(after the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

), repeater, lame duck
Lame duck (politics)
A lame duck is an elected official who is approaching the end of his or her tenure, and especially an official whose successor has already been elected.-Description:The status can be due to*having lost a re-election bid...

and pork barrel
Pork barrel
Pork barrel is a derogatory term referring to appropriation of government spending for localized projects secured solely or primarily to bring money to a representative's district...

.
Some of these are internationally used (for example, caucus
Caucus
A caucus is a meeting of supporters or members of a political party or movement, especially in the United States and Canada. As the use of the term has been expanded the exact definition has come to vary among political cultures.-Origin of the term:...

, gerrymander, filibuster
Filibuster
A filibuster is a type of parliamentary procedure. Specifically, it is the right of an individual to extend debate, allowing a lone member to delay or entirely prevent a vote on a given proposal...

, exit poll
Exit poll
An election exit poll is a poll of voters taken immediately after they have exited the polling stations. Unlike an opinion poll, which asks whom the voter plans to vote for or some similar formulation, an exit poll asks whom the voter actually voted for. A similar poll conducted before actual...

).


The rise of capitalism, the development of industry and material innovations throughout the 19th and 20th centuries were the source of a massive stock of distinctive new words, phrases and idioms. Typical examples are the vocabulary of railroading (see further at rail terminology
Rail terminology
Rail terminology is a form of technical terminology. The difference between the American term railroad and the international term railway is the most obvious difference in rail terminology...

) and transport
Transport
Transport or transportation is the movement of people, cattle, animals and goods from one location to another. Modes of transport include air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline, and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles, and operations...

ation
terminology, ranging from names of roads (from dirt roads and back roads to freeways and parkway
Parkway
The term parkway has several distinct principal meanings and numerous synonyms around the world, for either a type of landscaped area or a type of road.Type of landscaped area:...

s)
to road infrastructure (parking lot
Parking lot
A parking lot , also known as car lot, is a cleared area that is intended for parking vehicles. Usually, the term refers to a dedicated area that has been provided with a durable or semi-durable surface....

, overpass
Overpass
An overpass is a bridge, road, railway or similar structure that crosses over another road or railway...

, rest area
Rest area
A rest area, travel plaza, rest stop, or service area is a public facility, located next to a large thoroughfare such as a highway, expressway, or freeway at which drivers and passengers can rest, eat, or refuel without exiting on to secondary roads...

),
and from automotive terminology to public transit (for example, in the sentence "riding the subway downtown"); such American introductions as commuter (from commutation ticket), concourse
Concourse
A concourse is a place where pathways or roads meet, such as in a hotel, a convention center, a railway station, an airport terminal, a hall, or other space.-Examples:Examples of concourses include:* Meeting halls* Universities* Railway stations...

, to board
(a vehicle), to park, double-park and parallel park (a car), double decker or the noun terminal have long been used in all dialects of English. Trades of various kinds have endowed (American) English with household words describing jobs and occupations (bartender
Bartender
A bartender is a person who serves beverages behind a counter in a bar, pub, tavern, or similar establishment. A bartender, in short, "tends the bar". The term barkeeper may carry a connotation of being the bar's owner...

, longshoreman, patrolman, hobo
Hobo
A hobo is a term which is often applied to a migratory worker or homeless vagabond, often penniless. The term originated in the Western—probably Northwestern—United States during the last decade of the 19th century. Unlike 'tramps', who work only when they are forced to, and 'bums', who do not...

, bouncer
Bouncer (doorman)
A bouncer is an informal term for a type of security guard employed at venues such as bars, nightclubs or concerts to provide security, check legal age, and refuse entry to a venue based on criteria such as intoxication, aggressive behavior, or attractiveness...

, bellhop, roustabout
Roustabout
A roustabout is a labourer typically performing temporary, unskilled work. The term has traditionally been used to refer to traveling-circus workers, natural gas, or oil rig workers....

, white collar
White-collar worker
The term white-collar worker refers to a person who performs professional, managerial, or administrative work, in contrast with a blue-collar worker, whose job requires manual labor...

, blue collar
Blue collar
Blue collar can refer to:*Blue-collar worker, a traditional designation of the working class*Blue-collar crime, the types of crimes typically associated with the working class*A census designation...

, employee, boss
[from Dutch], intern
Intern
Internship is a system of onthejob training for white-collar jobs, similar to an apprenticeship. Interns are usually college or university students, but they can also be high school students or post graduate adults seeking skills for a new career. They may also be as young as middle school or in...

, busboy
Busboy
Busser, busboy and busgirl are terms used in the United States for someone who works in the restaurant and catering industry clearing tables, taking dirty dishes to the dishwasher, setting tables and otherwise assisting the waiting staff....

, mortician, senior citizen
Senior citizen
Senior citizen is a common polite designation for an elderly person in both UK and US English, and it implies or means that the person is retired. This in turn implies or in fact means that the person is over the retirement age, which varies according to country. Synonyms include pensioner in UK...

),
businesses and workplaces (department store
Department store
A department store is a retail establishment which satisfies a wide range of the consumer's personal and residential durable goods product needs; and at the same time offering the consumer a choice of multiple merchandise lines, at variable price points, in all product categories...

, supermarket
Supermarket
A supermarket, a form of grocery store, is a self-service store offering a wide variety of food and household merchandise, organized into departments...

, thrift store, gift shop
Gift shop
A gift shop is a store primarily selling souvenirs relating to a particular topic or theme. The items sold often include coffee mugs, stuffed animals, t-shirts, postcards, handmade collections and other souvenirs....

, drugstore
Pharmacy
Pharmacy is the health profession that links the health sciences with the chemical sciences and it is charged with ensuring the safe and effective use of pharmaceutical drugs...

, motel
Motel
A motor hotel, or motel for short, is a hotel designed for motorists, and usually has a parking area for motor vehicles...

, main street
Main Street
Main Street is the metonym for a generic street name of the primary retail street of a village, town, or small city in many parts of the world...

, gas station, hardware store
Hardware store
Hardware stores, sometimes known as DIY stores, sell household hardware including: fasteners, hand tools, power tools, keys, locks, hinges, chains, plumbing supplies, electrical supplies, cleaning products, housewares, tools, utensils, paint, and lawn and garden products directly to consumers for...

, savings and loan, hock
[also from Dutch]), as well as general concepts and innovations (automated teller machine
Automated teller machine
An automated teller machine or automatic teller machine, also known as a Cashpoint , cash machine or sometimes a hole in the wall in British English, is a computerised telecommunications device that provides the clients of a financial institution with access to financial transactions in a public...

, smart card
Smart card
A smart card, chip card, or integrated circuit card , is any pocket-sized card with embedded integrated circuits. A smart card or microprocessor cards contain volatile memory and microprocessor components. The card is made of plastic, generally polyvinyl chloride, but sometimes acrylonitrile...

, cash register
Cash register
A cash register or till is a mechanical or electronic device for calculating and recording sales transactions, and an attached cash drawer for storing cash...

, dishwasher
Dishwasher
A dishwasher is a mechanical device for cleaning dishes and eating utensils. Dishwashers can be found in restaurants and private homes.Unlike manual dishwashing, which relies largely on physical scrubbing to remove soiling, the mechanical dishwasher cleans by spraying hot water, typically between ...

, reservation
[as at hotels], pay envelope, movie, mileage, shortage, outage
Power outage
A power outage is a short- or long-term loss of the electric power to an area.There are many causes of power failures in an electricity network...

, blood bank
Blood bank
A blood bank is a cache or bank of blood or blood components, gathered as a result of blood donation, stored and preserved for later use in blood transfusion. The term "blood bank" typically refers to a division of a hospital laboratory where the storage of blood product occurs and where proper...

).


Already existing English words—such as store
General store
A general store, general merchandise store, or village shop is a rural or small town store that carries a general line of merchandise. It carries a broad selection of merchandise, sometimes in a small space, where people from the town and surrounding rural areas come to purchase all their general...

, shop
Retailing
Retail consists of the sale of physical goods or merchandise from a fixed location, such as a department store, boutique or kiosk, or by mail, in small or individual lots for direct consumption by the purchaser. Retailing may include subordinated services, such as delivery. Purchasers may be...

, dry goods, haberdashery, lumber
Lumber
Lumber or timber is wood in any of its stages from felling through readiness for use as structural material for construction, or wood pulp for paper production....

—underwent shifts in meaning; some—such as mason, student, clerk, the verbs can (as in "canned goods"), ship, fix, carry, enroll (as in school), run (as in "run a business"), release and haul—were given new significations, while others (such as tradesman
Tradesman
This article is about the skilled manual worker meaning of the term; for other uses see Tradesperson .A tradesman is a skilled manual worker in a particular trade or craft. Economically and socially, a tradesman's status is considered between a laborer and a professional, with a high degree of both...

)
have retained meanings that disappeared in England. From the world of business and finance came breakeven
Breakeven
In economics & business, specifically cost accounting, the break-even point is the point at which cost or expenses and revenue are equal: there is no net loss or gain, and one has "broken even"...

, merger, delisting, downsize, disintermediation
Disintermediation
In economics, disintermediation is the removal of intermediaries in a supply chain: "cutting out the middleman". Instead of going through traditional distribution channels, which had some type of intermediate , companies may now deal with every customer directly, for example via the Internet...

, bottom line
Bottom Line
The Bottom Line was a music venue at 15 West Fourth Street between Mercer Street and Greene Street in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City...

;
from sports terminology came, jargon aside, Monday-morning quarterback, cheap shot, game plan (football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

); in the ballpark, out of left field, off base, hit and run, and many other idioms
English language idioms derived from baseball
American English has been enriched by expressions derived from the game of baseball. Sometimes referred to as "America's pastime," baseball has especially affected the language of other competitive activities such as politics and business....

 from baseball
Baseball
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

; gamblers coined bluff
Bluff (poker)
In the card game of poker, a bluff is a bet or raise made with a hand which is not thought to be the best hand. To bluff is to make such a bet. The objective of a bluff is to induce a fold by at least one opponent who holds a better hand. The size and frequency of a bluff determines its...

, blue chip, ante, bottom dollar, raw deal, pass the buck, ace in the hole, freeze-out, showdown;
miners coined bedrock
Bedrock
In stratigraphy, bedrock is the native consolidated rock underlying the surface of a terrestrial planet, usually the Earth. Above the bedrock is usually an area of broken and weathered unconsolidated rock in the basal subsoil...

, bonanza, peter out, pan out
and the verb prospect from the noun; and railroadmen are to be credited with make the grade, sidetrack, head-on, and the verb railroad. A number of Americanisms describing material innovations remained largely confined to North America: elevator
Elevator
An elevator is a type of vertical transport equipment that efficiently moves people or goods between floors of a building, vessel or other structures...

, ground
Ground (electricity)
In electrical engineering, ground or earth may be the reference point in an electrical circuit from which other voltages are measured, or a common return path for electric current, or a direct physical connection to the Earth....

, gasoline
Gasoline
Gasoline , or petrol , is a toxic, translucent, petroleum-derived liquid that is primarily used as a fuel in internal combustion engines. It consists mostly of organic compounds obtained by the fractional distillation of petroleum, enhanced with a variety of additives. Some gasolines also contain...

;
many automotive terms fall in this category, although many do not (hatchback
Hatchback
A Hatchback is a car body style incorporating a shared passenger and cargo volume, with rearmost accessibility via a rear third or fifth door, typically a top-hinged liftgate—and features such as fold-down rear seats to enable flexibility within the shared passenger/cargo volume. As a two-box...

, SUV, station wagon
Station wagon
A station wagon is a body style variant of a sedan/saloon with its roof extended rearward over a shared passenger/cargo volume with access at the back via a third or fifth door , instead of a trunk lid...

, tailgate
Tailgate
Tailgate is an American English word denoting the door or 'gate' at the back of a wagon, pickup truck, SUV or other similar type of vehicle that is hinged at the bottom and can be opened for the convenience in loading cargo into the rear of the vehicle...

, motorhome
Motorhome
A motorhome is a type of self-propelled recreational vehicle or RV which offers living accommodation combined with a vehicle engine. The term motorhome is most commonly used in the UK, US, and Canada.-Features:...

, truck
Truck
A truck or lorry is a motor vehicle designed to transport cargo. Trucks vary greatly in size, power, and configuration, with the smallest being mechanically similar to an automobile...

, pickup truck
Pickup truck
A pickup truck is a light motor vehicle with an open-top rear cargo area .-Definition:...

, to exhaust).


In addition to the above-mentioned loans from French, Spanish, Mexican Spanish, Dutch, and Native American languages, other accretions from foreign languages came with 19th and early 20th century immigration; notably, from Yiddish
Yiddish language
Yiddish is a High German language of Ashkenazi Jewish origin, spoken throughout the world. It developed as a fusion of German dialects with Hebrew, Aramaic, Slavic languages and traces of Romance languages...

 (chutzpah
Chutzpah
Chutzpah is the quality of audacity, for good or for bad, but it is generally used negatively. The Yiddish word derives from the Hebrew word , meaning "insolence", "audacity". The modern English usage of the word has taken on a broader meaning, having been popularized through vernacular use in...

, schmooze, tush
and German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

hamburger
Hamburger
A hamburger is a sandwich consisting of a cooked patty of ground meat usually placed inside a sliced bread roll...

and culinary terms like frankfurter/franks, liverwurst, sauerkraut, wiener
Hot dog
A hot dog is a sausage served in a sliced bun. It is very often garnished with mustard, ketchup, onions, mayonnaise, relish and/or sauerkraut.-History:...

, deli(catessen)
Delicatessen
Delicatessen is a term meaning "delicacies" or "fine foods". The word entered English via German,with the old German spelling , plural of Delikatesse "delicacy", ultimately from Latin delicatus....

; scram
Scram
A scram or SCRAM is an emergency shutdown of a nuclear reactor – though the term has been extended to cover shutdowns of other complex operations, such as server farms and even large model railroads...

, kindergarten
Kindergarten
A kindergarten is a preschool educational institution for children. The term was created by Friedrich Fröbel for the play and activity institute that he created in 1837 in Bad Blankenburg as a social experience for children for their transition from home to school...

, gesundheit
Responses to sneezing
In English-speaking countries, the common verbal response to another person's sneeze is " bless you" or the much less common "Gesundheit" . There are several proposed origins for the use "Bless you" in the context of sneezing....

;
musical terminology (whole note
Whole note
thumb|right|250px|Figure 1. A whole note and a whole rest.In music, a whole note or semibreve is a note represented by a hollow oval note head, like a half note , and no note stem . Its length is equal to four beats in 4/4 time...

, half note
Half note
In music, a half note or minim is a note played for half the duration of a whole note and twice the duration of a quarter note...

,
etc.); and apparently cookbook
Cookbook
A cookbook is a kitchen reference that typically contains a collection of recipes. Modern versions may also include colorful illustrations and advice on purchasing quality ingredients or making substitutions...

, fresh
("impudent") and what gives? Such constructions as Are you coming with? and I like to dance (for "I like dancing") may also be the result of German or Yiddish influence.

Finally, a large number of English colloquialisms from various periods are American in origin; some have lost their American flavor (from OK
Okay
"Okay" is a colloquial English word denoting approval, acceptance, agreement, assent, or acknowledgment. "Okay" has frequently turned up as a loanword in many other languages...

and cool to nerd
Nerd
Nerd is a derogatory slang term for an intelligent but socially awkward and obsessive person who spends time on unpopular or obscure pursuits, to the exclusion of more mainstream activities. Nerds are considered to be awkward, shy, and unattractive...

and 24/7
24/7
24/7 is an abbreviation which stands for "24 hours a day, 7 days a week", usually referring to a business or service available at all times without interruption...

),
while others have not (have a nice day
Have a nice day
Have a nice day is a commonly spoken valediction, typically uttered by service employees to customers at the end of a transaction, particularly in Israel and the United States...

, sure);
many are now distinctly old-fashioned (swell, groovy). Some English words now in general use, such as hijacking, disc jockey
Disc jockey
A disc jockey, also known as DJ, is a person who selects and plays recorded music for an audience. Originally, "disc" referred to phonograph records, not the later Compact Discs. Today, the term includes all forms of music playback, no matter the medium.There are several types of disc jockeys...

, boost, bulldoze
and jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

,
originated as American slang. Among the many English idioms of U.S. origin are get the hang of, take for a ride, bark up the wrong tree, keep tabs, run scared, take a backseat, have an edge over, stake a claim, take a shine to, in on the ground floor, bite off more than one can chew, off/on the wagon, stay put, inside track, stiff upper lip
Stiff upper lip
One who has a stiff upper lip displays fortitude in the face of adversity, or exercises great self-restraint in the expression of emotion. The phrase is most commonly heard as part of the idiom "keep a stiff upper lip", and has traditionally been used to describe an attribute of British people ,...

, bad hair day, throw a monkey wrench, under the weather, jump bail, come clean, come again?, it ain't over till it's over, what goes around comes around, and will the real x please stand up?

Morphology


American English has always shown a marked tendency to use nouns as verbs
Functional shift
In linguistics, functional shift occurs when an existing word takes on a new syntactic function. For example, the word like, formerly only used as a preposition in comparisons , is now also used in the same way as the subordinating conjunction as in many dialects of English...

. Examples of verbed nouns are interview, advocate, vacuum, lobby, pressure, rear-end, transition, feature, profile, belly-ache, spearhead, skyrocket, showcase, service (as a car), corner, torch, exit (as in "exit the lobby"), factor (in mathematics), gun ("shoot"), author (which disappeared in English around 1630 and was revived in the U.S. three centuries later) and, out of American material, proposition, graft (bribery), bad-mouth, vacation
Vacation
A vacation or holiday is a specific trip or journey, usually for the purpose of recreation or tourism. People often take a vacation during specific holiday observances, or for specific festivals or celebrations...

, major, backpack
Backpack
A backpack is, in its simplest form, a cloth sack carried on one's back and secured with two straps that go over the shoulders, but there can be exceptions...

, backtrack
Backtracking
Backtracking is a general algorithm for finding all solutions to some computational problem, that incrementally builds candidates to the solutions, and abandons each partial candidate c as soon as it determines that c cannot possibly be completed to a valid solution.The classic textbook example...

, intern, ticket
(traffic violations), hassle, blacktop
Asphalt concrete
Asphalt concrete is a composite material commonly used in construction projects such as road surfaces, airports and parking lots. It consists of asphalt and mineral aggregate mixed together, then laid down in layers and compacted...

, peer-review, dope
and OD
Drug overdose
The term drug overdose describes the ingestion or application of a drug or other substance in quantities greater than are recommended or generally practiced...

, and, of course verbed as used at the start of this sentence.

Compound
Compound (linguistics)
In linguistics, a compound is a lexeme that consists of more than one stem. Compounding or composition is the word formation that creates compound lexemes...

s coined in the U.S. are for instance foothill, flatlands, badlands
Badlands
A badlands is a type of dry terrain where softer sedimentary rocks and clay-rich soils have been extensively eroded by wind and water. It can resemble malpaís, a terrain of volcanic rock. Canyons, ravines, gullies, hoodoos and other such geological forms are common in badlands. They are often...

, landslide
Landslide
A landslide or landslip is a geological phenomenon which includes a wide range of ground movement, such as rockfalls, deep failure of slopes and shallow debris flows, which can occur in offshore, coastal and onshore environments...

(in all senses), overview
Summary
A summary, synopsis, or recap is a shorter version of the original. Such a simplification highlights the major points from the much longer subject, such as a text, speech, film, or event...

(the noun), backdrop, teenager, brainstorm
Brainstorming
Brainstorming is a group creativity technique by which a group tries to find a solution for a specific problem by gathering a list of ideas spontaneously contributed by its members...

, bandwagon, hitchhike, smalltime, deadbeat, frontman, lowbrow
and highbrow, hell-bent, foolproof, nitpick, about-face (later verbed), upfront (in all senses), fixer-upper, no-show; many of these are phrases used as adverbs or (often) hyphenated attributive adjectives: non-profit, for-profit, free-for-all, ready-to-wear, catchall, low-down, down-and-out, down and dirty, in-your-face, nip and tuck; many compound nouns and adjectives are open: happy hour
Happy hour
Happy hour is a marketing term for a period of time in which a restaurant or bar offers discounts on alcoholic drinks, such as beer, wine, and cocktails.-Basic information:...

, fall guy
Fall guy
A fall guy is a person used as a scapegoat to take the blame for someone else's actions, or someone at the butt of jokes. One placed in the position of fall guy is often referred to as "taking the fall". In the film industry, a fall guy is a form of stock character.-Origin:The origin of "fall guy"...

, capital gain
Capital gain
A capital gain is a profit that results from investments into a capital asset, such as stocks, bonds or real estate, which exceeds the purchase price. It is the difference between a higher selling price and a lower purchase price, resulting in a financial gain for the investor...

, road trip
Road trip
A road trip is any journey taken on roads, regardless of stops en route. Typically, road trips are long distances traveled by automobile.-Pre-automobile road trips:...

, wheat pit, head start, plea bargain
Plea bargain
A plea bargain is an agreement in a criminal case whereby the prosecutor offers the defendant the opportunity to plead guilty, usually to a lesser charge or to the original criminal charge with a recommendation of a lighter than the maximum sentence.A plea bargain allows criminal defendants to...

;
some of these are colorful (empty nester, loan shark
Loan shark
A loan shark is a person or body that offers unsecured loans at illegally high interest rates to individuals, often enforcing repayment by blackmail or threats of violence....

, ambulance chaser, buzz saw, ghetto blaster
Ghetto Blaster
-Summary:The aim of the game is to find and collect ten tapes of dance music, get people to dance to them by blasting them with notes from your blaster, then delivering them to your record company. These ten music tracks were played by the game throughout...

, dust bunny),
others are euphemistic (differently abled (physically challenged), human resources
Human resources
Human resources is a term used to describe the individuals who make up the workforce of an organization, although it is also applied in labor economics to, for example, business sectors or even whole nations...

, affirmative action
Affirmative action
Affirmative action refers to policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin" into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group, usually as a means to counter the effects of a history of discrimination.-Origins:The term...

, correctional facility).


Many compound nouns have the form verb plus preposition: add-on, stopover, lineup, shakedown, tryout, spin-off, rundown
Rundown
A rundown, also called a pickle, is a situation in the game of baseball that occurs when the baserunner is stranded between two bases and is in jeopardy. When the base runner attempts to advance to the next base, he is cut off by the defensive player who has a live ball and attempts to return to...

("summary"), shootout
Shootout
A shootout is a gun battle between armed groups. A shootout often, but not necessarily, pits law enforcement against criminal elements; it could also involve two groups outside of law enforcement, such as rival gangs. A shootout in a military context A shootout is a gun battle between armed groups....

, holdup, hideout, comeback, cookout, kickback
Bribery
Bribery, a form of corruption, is an act implying money or gift giving that alters the behavior of the recipient. Bribery constitutes a crime and is defined by Black's Law Dictionary as the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official or...

, makeover
Makeover
A makeover is a term applied to changing one's appearance, sometimes through cosmetics. Makeovers can range from something as simple as a new haircut, to the use of cosmetic surgery, to the extreme of the implantation of dental veneers, eye-color-changing contact lenses, and the use of...

, takeover
Takeover
In business, a takeover is the purchase of one company by another . In the UK, the term refers to the acquisition of a public company whose shares are listed on a stock exchange, in contrast to the acquisition of a private company.- Friendly takeovers :Before a bidder makes an offer for another...

, rollback
("decrease"), rip-off, come-on, shoo-in, fix-up, tie-in, tie-up ("stoppage"), stand-in. These essentially are nouned phrasal verb
Phrasal verb
A phrasal verb is a combination of a verb and a preposition, a verb and an adverb, or a verb with both an adverb and a preposition, any of which are part of the syntax of the sentence, and so are a complete semantic unit. Sentences may contain direct and indirect objects in addition to the phrasal...

s; some prepositional and phrasal verbs are in fact of American origin (spell out, figure out, hold up, brace up, size up, rope in, back up/off/down/out, step down, miss out on, kick around, cash in, rain out, check in and check out (in all senses), fill in ("inform"), kick in ("contribute"), square off, sock in, sock away, factor in/out, come down with, give up on, lay off (from employment), run into and across ("meet"), stop by, pass up, put up (money), set up ("frame"), trade in, pick up on, pick up after, lose out.

Noun endings such as -ee (retiree), -ery (bakery), -ster (gangster) and -cian (beautician) are also particularly productive. Some verbs ending in -ize are of U.S. origin; for example, fetishize, prioritize, burglarize, accessorize, itemize, editorialize, customize, notarize, weatherize
Weatherization
Weatherization or weatherproofing is the practice of protecting a building and its interior from the elements, particularly from sunlight, precipitation, and wind, and of modifying a building to reduce energy consumption and optimize energy efficiency.Weatherization is distinct from building...

, winterize, Mirandize
Miranda v. Arizona
Miranda v. Arizona, , was a landmark 5–4 decision of the United States Supreme Court. The Court held that both inculpatory and exculpatory statements made in response to interrogation by a defendant in police custody will be admissible at trial only if the prosecution can show that the defendant...

;
and so are some back-formation
Back-formation
In etymology, back-formation is the process of creating a new lexeme, usually by removing actual or supposed affixes. The resulting neologism is called a back-formation, a term coined by James Murray in 1889...

s (locate, fine-tune, evolute, curate, donate, emote, upholster, peeve and enthuse). Among syntactical constructions that arose in the U.S. are as of (with dates and times), outside of, headed for, meet up with, back of, convince someone to..., not to be about to and lack for.

Americanisms formed by alteration of existing words include notably pesky, phony, rambunctious, pry (as in "pry open," from prize), putter (verb), buddy, sundae
Sundae
The sundae is an ice cream dessert. It typically consists of a scoop of ice cream topped with sauce or syrup, and in some cases other toppings including chopped nuts, sprinkles, whipped cream, or maraschino cherries.-History:...

, skeeter, sashay
and kitty-corner. Adjectives that arose in the U.S. are for example, lengthy, bossy, cute and cutesy, grounded (of a child), punk (in all senses), sticky (of the weather), through (as in "through train," or meaning "finished"), and many colloquial forms such as peppy or wacky. American blend
Blend
In linguistics, a blend is a word formed from parts of two or more other words. These parts are sometimes, but not always, morphemes.-Linguistics:...

s include motel
Motel
A motor hotel, or motel for short, is a hotel designed for motorists, and usually has a parking area for motor vehicles...

, guesstimate, infomercial
Infomercial
Infomercials are direct response television commercials which generally include a phone number or website. There are long-form infomercials, which are typically between 15 and 30 minutes in length, and short-form infomercials, which are typically 30 seconds to 120 seconds in length. Infomercials...

and televangelist.

English words that survived in the United States and not Britain


A number of words and meanings that originated in Middle English
Middle English
Middle English is the stage in the history of the English language during the High and Late Middle Ages, or roughly during the four centuries between the late 11th and the late 15th century....

 or Early Modern English
Early Modern English
Early Modern English is the stage of the English language used from about the end of the Middle English period to 1650. Thus, the first edition of the King James Bible and the works of William Shakespeare both belong to the late phase of 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
Scottish Lowlands
The Scottish Lowlands is a name given to the Southern half of Scotland.The area is called a' Ghalldachd in Scottish Gaelic, and the Lawlands ....

. Terms such as fall
Autumn
Autumn is one of the four temperate seasons. Autumn marks the transition from summer into winter usually in September or March when the arrival of night becomes noticeably earlier....

("autumn"), faucet, diaper
Diaper
A nappy or a diaper is a kind of pant that allows one to defecate or urinate on oneself discreetly. When diapers become soiled, they require changing; this process is often performed by a second person such as a parent or caregiver...

, candy
Candy
Candy, specifically sugar candy, is a confection made from a concentrated solution of sugar in water, to which flavorings and colorants are added...

, skillet
Frying pan
A frying pan, frypan, or skillet is a flat-bottomed pan used for frying, searing, and browning foods. It is typically in diameter with relatively low sides that flare outwards, a long handle, and no lid. Larger pans may have a small grab handle opposite the main handle...

, eyeglasses, and obligate, are often regarded as Americanisms. Fall for example came to denote the season in 16th century England, a contraction of Middle English expressions like "fall of the leaf" and "fall of the year". During the 17th century, English immigration to the British colonies
British colonization of the Americas
British colonization of the Americas began in 1607 in Jamestown, Virginia and reached its peak when colonies had been established throughout the Americas...

 in North America was at its peak and the new settlers took the English language with them. While the term fall gradually became obsolete in Britain, it became the more common term in North America. Gotten (past participle of get) is often considered to be an Americanism, although there are some areas of Britain, such as Lancashire and North-eastern England, that still continue to use it and sometimes also use putten as the past participle for put (which is not done by most speakers of American English).

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
Monkey wrench
The monkey wrench is an adjustable wrench, a later American development of eighteenth century English coach wrenches. It was popular in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries but is now used only for heavier tasks, having been mostly replaced by the lighter and sleeker shifting adjustable or...

and wastebasket, originated in 19th-century Britain.

The mandative subjunctive
Subjunctive mood
In grammar, the subjunctive mood is a verb mood typically used in subordinate clauses to express various states of irreality such as wish, emotion, possibility, judgment, opinion, necessity, or action that has not yet occurred....

 (as in "the City Attorney suggested that the case not be closed") is livelier in American English 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 (these meanings are also frequent in Hiberno-English) 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
General American
General American , also known as Standard American English , is a major accent of American English. The accent is not restricted to the United States...

is the name given to any American accent that is relatively free of noticeable regional influences.

After the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, 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 East
East
East is a noun, adjective, or adverb indicating direction or geography.East is one of the four cardinal directions or compass points. It is the opposite of west and is perpendicular to north and south.By convention, the right side of a map is east....

ern seaboard
Coast
A coastline or seashore is the area where land meets the sea or ocean. A precise line that can be called a coastline cannot be determined due to the dynamic nature of tides. The term "coastal zone" can be used instead, which is a spatial zone where interaction of the sea and land processes occurs...

. The Connecticut River
Connecticut River
The Connecticut River is the largest and longest river in New England, and also an American Heritage River. It flows roughly south, starting from the Fourth Connecticut Lake in New Hampshire. After flowing through the remaining Connecticut Lakes and Lake Francis, it defines the border between the...

 and Long Island Sound
Long Island Sound
Long Island Sound is an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean, located in the United States between Connecticut to the north and Long Island, New York to the south. The mouth of the Connecticut River at Old Saybrook, Connecticut, empties into the sound. On its western end the sound is bounded by the Bronx...

 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
East Anglia
East Anglia is a traditional name for a region of eastern England, named after an ancient Anglo-Saxon kingdom, the Kingdom of the East Angles. The Angles took their name from their homeland Angeln, in northern Germany. East Anglia initially consisted of Norfolk and Suffolk, but upon the marriage of...

 who settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony
Massachusetts Bay Colony
The Massachusetts Bay Colony was an English settlement on the east coast of North America in the 17th century, in New England, situated around the present-day cities of Salem and Boston. The territory administered by the colony included much of present-day central New England, including portions...

. The Potomac River
Potomac River
The Potomac River flows into the Chesapeake Bay, located along the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. The river is approximately long, with a drainage area of about 14,700 square miles...

 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
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 and northern New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

, which developed on a Dutch substratum
Substratum
In linguistics, a stratum or strate is a language that influences, or is influenced by another through contact. A substratum is a language which has lower power or prestige than another, while a superstratum is the language that has higher power or prestige. Both substratum and superstratum...

 after the English conquered New Amsterdam. The main features of Coastal Southern speech can be traced to the speech of the English from the West Country
West Country
The West Country is an informal term for the area of south western England roughly corresponding to the modern South West England government region. It is often defined to encompass the historic counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset and the City of Bristol, while the counties of...

 who settled in Virginia after leaving England at the time of the English Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

.

Although no longer region-specific, African American Vernacular English
African American Vernacular English
African American Vernacular English —also called African American English; less precisely Black English, Black Vernacular, Black English Vernacular , or Black Vernacular English —is an African American variety of American English...

, which remains prevalent among African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

s, has a close relationship to Southern varieties of AmE and has greatly influenced everyday speech of many Americans.

A distinctive speech pattern also appears near the border between Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and the United States, centered on the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

 region (but only on the American side). This is the Inland North Dialect
Inland Northern American English
The Inland North dialect of American English is spoken in a region that includes most of the cities along the Erie Canal and on the U.S. side of Great Lakes region, reaching approximately from Utica, New York to Green Bay, Wisconsin, as well as a corridor extending down across central Illinois from...

—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
Northern cities vowel shift
The Northern cities vowel shift is a chain shift in the sounds of some vowels in the dialect region of American English known as the Inland North.-Geography:...

). Those not from this area frequently confuse it with the North Midland dialect treated below, referring to both collectively as "Midwestern" in the mid-Atlantic region or "Northern" in the Southern US. The so-called '"Minnesotan
North Central American English
North–Central American English is used to refer to a dialect of American English. The region is also known as Upper Midwest among some linguists. It is also sometimes called the Minnesota Accent or Great Lakes Accent. It is widely spoken in the Upper Midwest and the northern portion of the...

" dialect is also prevalent in the cultural Upper Midwest
Upper Midwest
The Upper Midwest is a region in the northern portion of the U.S. Census Bureau's Midwestern United States. It is largely a sub-region of the midwest. Although there are no uniformly agreed-upon boundaries, the region is most commonly used to refer to the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and...

, 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
Appalachian Mountains
The Appalachian Mountains #Whether the stressed vowel is or ,#Whether the "ch" is pronounced as a fricative or an affricate , and#Whether the final vowel is the monophthong or the diphthong .), often called the Appalachians, are a system of mountains in eastern North America. The Appalachians...

 begins the broad zone of what is generally called "Midland
Midland American English
The Midland dialect of American English was first defined by Hans Kurath as being the dialect spoken in an area centered on Philadelphia and expanding westward to include most of Pennsylvania and part of the Appalachian Mountains...

" speech. This is divided into two discrete subdivisions, the North Midland that begins north of the Ohio River
Ohio River
The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream...

 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
Pacific Northwest English
Pacific Northwest English is a dialect of the English language spoken in the Pacific Northwest. The Pacific Northwest is defined as an area that includes the American states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, western Montana, southeastern Alaska, northern California, the Canadian provinces of British...

 as well as the well-known California English
California English
California English is a dialect of the English language spoken in California. California is home to a highly diverse population, which is reflected in the historical and continuing development of California English.-History:English was first spoken on a wide scale in the area now known as...

, 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.

The South Midland or Highland Southern dialect follows the Ohio River
Ohio River
The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream...

 in a generally southwesterly direction, moves across Arkansas
Arkansas
Arkansas is a state located in the southern region of the United States. Its name is an Algonquian name of the Quapaw Indians. Arkansas shares borders with six states , and its eastern border is largely defined by the Mississippi River...

 and Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

 west of the Mississippi
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

, and peters out in West Texas
West Texas
West Texas is a vernacular term applied to a region in the southwestern quadrant of the United States that primarily encompasses the arid and semi-arid lands in the western portion of the state of 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
Hawaiian Pidgin
Hawaii Pidgin English, Hawaii Creole English, HCE, or simply Pidgin, is a creole language based in part on English used by many "local" residents of Hawaii. Although English and Hawaiian are the co-official languages of the state of Hawaii, Pidgin is used by many Hawaii residents in everyday...

.

Finally, dialect development in the United States has been notably influenced by the distinctive speech of such important cultural centers as Baltimore
Baltimore
Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore...

, Boston
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

, Charleston
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is the second largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina. It was made the county seat of Charleston County in 1901 when Charleston County was founded. The city's original name was Charles Towne in 1670, and it moved to its present location from a location on the west bank of the...

, Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

, Detroit, New Orleans, New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, which imposed their marks on the surrounding areas.

Differences between British and American English



American English and British English
British English
British English, or English , is the broad term used to distinguish the forms of the English language used in the United Kingdom from forms used elsewhere...

 (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
Webster's Dictionary
Webster's Dictionary refers to the line of dictionaries first developed by Noah Webster in the early 19th century, and also to numerous unrelated dictionaries that added Webster's name just to share his prestige. The term is a genericized trademark in the U.S.A...

, was written by Noah Webster
Noah Webster
Noah Webster was an American educator, lexicographer, textbook pioneer, English spelling reformer, political writer, editor, and prolific author...

 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: different use of some verbal auxiliaries; formal (rather than notional) agreement with collective nouns; different preferences for the past forms of a few verbs (for example, AmE/BrE: learned/learnt, burned/burnt, snuck/sneaked, dove/dived); different prepositions and adverbs in certain contexts (for example, AmE in school, BrE at school); and whether or not a definite article is used, in very few cases (AmE to the hospital, BrE to hospital; contrast, however, AmE actress Elizabeth Taylor, BrE the actress Elizabeth Taylor). 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
Orthography
The orthography of a language specifies a standardized way of using a specific writing system to write the language. Where more than one writing system is used for a language, for example Kurdish, Uyghur, Serbian or Inuktitut, there can be more than one orthography...

 are also trivial. Some of the forms that now serve to distinguish American from British spelling (color for colour, center 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 (for example, -ise for -ize, although the Oxford English Dictionary still prefers the -ize ending) and cases favored by the francophile
Francophile
Is a person with a positive predisposition or interest toward the government, culture, history, or people of France. This could include France itself and its history, the French language, French cuisine, literature, etc...

 tastes of 19th century Victorian England, which had little effect on AmE (for example, programme for program, manoeuvre for maneuver, skilful for skillful, cheque for check, etc.).

AmE sometimes favors words that are morphologically
Morphology (linguistics)
In linguistics, morphology is the identification, analysis and description, in a language, of the structure of morphemes and other linguistic units, such as words, affixes, parts of speech, intonation/stress, or implied context...

 more complex, whereas BrE uses clipped forms, such as AmE transportation and BrE transport or where the British form is a back-formation
Back-formation
In etymology, back-formation is the process of creating a new lexeme, usually by removing actual or supposed affixes. The resulting neologism is called a back-formation, a term coined by James Murray in 1889...

, such as AmE burglarize and BrE burgle (from burglar). It should, however, be noted that while individuals usually use one or the other, both forms will be widely understood and mostly used alongside each other within the two systems.

See also


  • Dictionary of American Regional English
    Dictionary of American Regional English
    The Dictionary of American Regional English is a record of American English as spoken in the United States, from its beginning up to the present...

  • IPA chart for English
    IPA chart for English
    This concise chart shows the most common applications of the International Phonetic Alphabet to represent English language pronunciations.See Pronunciation respelling for English for phonetic transcriptions used in different dictionaries....

  • Regional accents of English speakers
    Regional accents of English speakers
    The regional accents of English speakers show great variation across the areas where English is spoken as a first language. This article provides an overview of the many identifiable variations in pronunciation, usually deriving from the phoneme inventory of the local dialect, of the local variety...

  • Canadian English
    Canadian English
    Canadian English is the variety of English spoken in Canada. English is the first language, or "mother tongue", of approximately 24 million Canadians , and more than 28 million are fluent in the language...

  • North American English
    North American English
    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 and the similarities between the pronunciation, vocabulary and accent of American English and Canadian English, the two spoken languages...

  • International English
    International English
    International English is the concept of the English language as a global means of communication in numerous dialects, and also the movement towards an international standard for the language...

  • Received Pronunciation
    Received Pronunciation
    Received Pronunciation , also called the Queen's English, Oxford English or BBC English, is the accent of Standard English in England, with a relationship to regional accents similar to the relationship in other European languages between their standard varieties and their regional forms...


General

  • Ferguson, Charles A.; & Heath, Shirley Brice (Eds.). (1981). Language in the USA. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Finegan, Edward. (2004). American English and its distinctiveness. In E. Finegan & J. R. Rickford (Eds.), Language in the USA: Themes for the twenty-first century (pp. 18–38). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Finegan, Edward; & Rickford, John R. (Eds.). (2004). Language in the USA: Themes for the twenty-first century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Frazer, Timothy (Ed.). (1993). Heartland English. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.
  • Glowka, Wayne; & Lance, Donald (Eds.). (1993). Language variation in North American English. New York: Modern Language Association.
  • Garner, Bryan A.
    Bryan A. Garner
    Bryan A. Garner is a U.S. lawyer, lexicographer, and teacher who has written several books about English usage and style, including Garner's Modern American Usage. He is the editor in chief of all current editions of Black's Law Dictionary...

     (2003). Garner's Modern American Usage. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Kenyon, John S. (1950). American pronunciation (10th ed.). Ann Arbor: George Wahr.
  • Kortmann, Bernd; Schneider, Edgar W.; Burridge, Kate; Mesthrie, Rajend; & Upton, Clive (Eds.). (2004). A handbook of varieties of English: Morphology and syntax (Vol. 2). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Lippi-Green, Rosina. (1997). English with an accent: Language, ideology, and discrimination in the United States. New York: Routedge.
  • MacNeil, Robert; & Cran, William. (2005). Do you speak American?: A companion to the PBS television series. New York: Nan A. Talese, Doubleday. (1921 edition online: www.bartleby.com/185/).
  • Schneider, Edgar (Ed.). (1996). Focus on the USA. Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
  • Schneider, Edgar W.; Kortmann, Bernd; Burridge, Kate; Mesthrie, Rajend; & Upton, Clive (Eds.). (2004). A handbook of varieties of English: Phonology (Vol. 1). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Thomas, Erik R. (2001). An acoustic analysis of vowel variation in New World English. Publication of American Dialect Society (No. 85). Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
  • Thompson, Charles K. (1958). An introduction to the phonetics of American English (2nd ed.). New York: The Ronald Press Co.
  • Trudgill, Peter and Jean Hannah. (2002). International English: A Guide to the Varieties of Standard English, 4th ed. London: Arnold. ISBN 0-340-80834-9.
  • Wolfram, Walt; & Schilling-Estes, Natalie. (2005). American English: Dialects and variation. 2nd Edition. Malden, MA: Basil Blackwell.

History of American English

  • Algeo, John (Ed.). (2001). The Cambridge history of the English language: English in North America (Vol. 6). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Bailey, Richard W. (1991). Images of English: A cultural history of the language. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
  • Bailey, Richard W. (2004). American English: Its origins and history. In E. Finegan & J. R. Rickford (Eds.), Language in the USA: Themes for the twenty-first century (pp. 3–17). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Bryson, Bill. (1994). Made in America: An informal history of the English language in the United States. New York: William Morrow.
  • Finegan, Edward. (2006). English in North America. In R. Hogg & D. Denison (Eds.), A history of the English language (pp. 384–419). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Kretzschmar, William A. (2002). American English: Melting pot or mixing bowl? In K. Lenz & R. Möhlig (Eds.), Of dyuersitie and change of language: Essays presented to Manfred Görlach on the occasion of his sixty-fifth birthday (pp. 224–239). Heidelberg: C. Winter.
  • Mathews, Mitford. (1931). The beginnings of American English. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Read, Allen Walker. (2002). Milestones in the history of English in America. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Regional variation

  • Allen, Harold B. (1973–6). The linguistic atlas of the Upper Midwest (3 Vols). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
  • Atwood, E. Bagby. (1953). A survey of verb forms in the eastern United States. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
  • Carver, Craig M. (1987). American regional dialects: A word geography. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-10076-9
  • Kurath, Hans
    Hans Kurath
    Hans Kurath was an American linguist of Austrian origin. He was full professor for English and Linguistics at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor...

    , et al. (1939–43). Linguistic atlas of New England (6 Vols). Providence: Brown University for the American Council of Learned Societies.
  • Kurath, Hans. (1949). A word geography of the eastern United States. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
  • Kurath, Hans; & McDavid, Raven I., Jr. (1961). The pronunciation of English in the Atlantic states. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
  • McDavid, Raven I., Jr. (1979). Dialects in culture. W. Kretzschmar (Ed.). Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press.
  • McDavid, Raven I., Jr. (1980). Varieties of American English. A. Dil (Ed.). Stanford: Stanford University Press.
  • Metcalf, Allan. (2000). How we talk: American regional English today Houghton Mifflin Company. ISBN 0-618-04362-4
  • Pederson, Lee; McDaniel, Susan L.; & Adams, Carol M. (eds.). (1986–92). Linguistic atlas of the gulf states (7 Vols). Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press.

African American

  • Bailey, Guy; Maynor, Natalie; & Cukor-Avila, Patricia (Eds.). (1991). The emergence of Black English: Text and commentary. Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
  • Green, Lisa. (2002). African American English: A linguistic introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Labov, William. (1972). Language in the inner city: Studies in Black English Vernacular. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Lanehart, Sonja L. (Ed.). (2001). Sociocultural and historical contexts of African American English. Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
  • Mufwene, Salikoko; Rickford, John R.; Bailey, Guy; & Baugh, John (Eds.). (1998). African American Vernacular English. London: Routledge.
  • Rickford, John R. (1999). African American Vernacular English: Features, evolution, and educational implications. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Wolfram, Walt. (1969). A sociolinguistic description of Detroit negro speech. Urban linguistic series (No. 5). Washington, D.C.: Center for Applied Linguistics.
  • Wolfram, Walt; & Thomas, Erik. (2002). The development of African American English: Evidence from an isolated community. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

American Indian

  • Leap, William L. (1993). American Indian English. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press.

Latino American

  • Bayley, Robert; & Santa Ana, Otto. (2004). Chicano English grammar. In B. Kortmann, E. W. Schneider, K. Burridge, R. Mesthrie, & C. Upton (Eds.), A handbook of varieties of English: Morphology and syntax (Vol. 2, pp. 167–183). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Fought, Carmen. (2003). Chicano English in context. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Galindo, Letticia D. (1987). Linguistic influence and variation of the English of Chicano adolescents in Austin, Texas. (PhD dissertation, University of Texas at Austin).
  • Santa Ana, Otto. (1993). Chicano English and the Chicano language setting. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 15 (1), 1–35.
  • Santa Ana, Otto; & Bayley, Robert. (2004). Chicano English phonology. In E. W. Schneider, B. Kortmann, K. Burridge, R. Mesthrie, & C. Upton (Eds.), A handbook of varieties of English: Phonology (Vol. 1, pp. 407–424). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Wolfram, Walt. (1974). Sociolinguistic aspects of assimilation: Puerto Rican English in New York City. Washington, D.C.: Center for Applied Linguistics.

Visual media

  • Cran, William (Producer, Director, Writer); Buchanan, Christopher (Producer); & MacNeil, Robert (Writer). (2005). Do you speak American? [Documentary]. New York: Center for New American Media.
  • Kolker, Andrew; & Alvarez, Louis (Producers, Directors). (1988). American tongues: A documentary about the way people talk in the U.S. [Documentary]. Hohokus, NJ: Center for New American Media.

External links