Have you ever wondered why the same language can have such drastically different accents and even phrases from one place to another? The way someone speaks in London versus New York might as well be night and day! From replacing 's with a "z" sound, or words that are spelled exactly alike but pronounced completely differently - it's not hard to spot these unique differences between two of English-speaking world's major players. However, if you're curious about what sets apart your accent while learning English in either city; don't fear! Here is all the information needed for understanding this oceanic divide (both literally and figuratively).
1. American English is actually older
Despite the fact that England is credited with establishing America, an interesting language divide began to take shape between both countries. As wealthy southern cities of Britain sought a way to differentiate themselves from the lower classes, they adopted a softer pronunciation for their speech - including replacing hard 'r' sounds with "uh". This change in sound resulted in words like winter being said as “win-tuh” instead of “win-terr” and was subsequently carried over when settlers headed off to start new lives across the pond.
When upper-class Brits began to speak in Received Pronunciation, the rest of England followed suit - aspiring for their "posh" sound. Despite this trend spreading across southern regions, many northern and western areas have been able to maintain a distinctively rhotic pronunciation as part of their regional accents. If you're looking for sophistication with your English accent it's best to align yourself with those from London; they've got poshness on lockdown.
2. British English is more like French
The English language has been greatly impacted by French throughout its history, thanks to two major instances of linguistic exchange. The first wave occurred when William the Conqueror invaded Britain in the 11th century and Norman French became a prominent dialect among the upper classes - though it ultimately evolved into Middle English due to other influences at play. This was followed up centuries later with British citizens' penchant for emulating all things French during their own 18th-century cultural revolution; although Americans were blissfully unaware as they continued life across an ocean away from France's influence on England’s lexicon. Thus today we can see that European flavor is still imparted upon much of British speech which diverges from our more distinct American diction.
3. American spelling was invented as a form of protest
Noah Webster was determined to ensure that American English would not merely be a variation of British English, but its own distinct language. To demonstrate this formative independence from former colonial rulers, he simplified spellings and dropped the 'u' in many words - such as colour becoming color or honour turning into honor. Furthermore, any UK spelling ending with ‘-ise’ were changed to end in ‘-ize’ based on his views forming an entirely new dialect for Americans. Thus began two different versions of dictionaries spoken throughout the Atlantic today: one compiled by scholars who documented all known English terms; while Noah Webster set forth a quest seeking linguistic autonomy over Britain's past dominance during America's founding years.
4. American English likes to drop words completely
Even though English may be a shared language, there are still some major differences between American and British versions. For example, Americans tend to cut out entire verbs from their sentences - when expressing an offer of writing somebody a letter they might say "I'll write them", for instance. On the other hand, Brits stay true to the full version by saying "I'll write you". And if someone asked an American about going shopping with them? Instead of responding with “Yes I could” as most would expect in Britain, it's more likely that only “Could” will come out! While this difference is probably due either wanting faster speech or simply preferring literal words respectively; one thing can't be denied – British English wins here due its greater accuracy... not that we're biased at all.
5. The two types of English have borrowed words from different languages
It’s clear that British and American English have evolved differently when you consider the cultural influences that have affected each independently, and how they’ve borrowed words from those languages. For some reason this is very common with words for food: examples include coriander (British, derived from French) and cilantro (American, derived from Spanish), and aubergine (British, derived from Arabic) and eggplant (American, so called because it looks like a purple egg). There are many more examples, but the important thing to remember is to get it right in the country you’re studying in. After all, you don’t want to be asking British people for some aluminium foil and pronouncing it aloo-minnum. Let’s just not even go there.