DIFFERENCES BETWEEN AMERICAN AND BRITISH ENGLISH
Ø 1) Use the examples from the text and disagree with / prove the statement: “American English and British English are mutually incomprehensible.”
Which variety of English do you use, American English (AmE) or British English (BrE)? Whatever your choice is, the most important rule is to be consistent in your usage. For example in the sentence “The color of the orange is also its flavour,” “color” is American spelling and “flavour” is British. The following guide points out the principal differences between these two varieties of English.
Present Perfect and Past Simple.In BrE the Present Perfect is used to express an action that has occurred in the recent past that has an effect on the present moment. For example, “I’ve lost my key. Can you help me look for it?” In AmE the following is also possible: “I lost my key. Can you help me look for it?” In BrE this would be considered incorrect. However, both forms are generally accepted in standard AmE.
Other differences include the use of “already,” “just,” and “yet.” In BrE people say “I’ve just had lunch. I’ve already seen that film. Have you finished your homework yet?” In AmE these sentences can be equally used with these ones: “I just had lunch. I already saw that film. Did you finish your homework yet?”
“Have” and “Have got.”There are two forms to express possession in English, and both of them are correct. However, “have got” is generally the preferred form in BrE (Have you got a car? He hasn’t got any friends.) while most speakers of AmE employ the form “have” (Do you have a car? He doesn’t have any friends.)
Prepositions. There are also a few differences in the use of prepositions (the first preposition is BrE, the second is AmE): “at / on the weekend,” “in / on a team,” “write to me soon / write me soon.”
One Vocabulary – Different Meanings. Probably the major differences between AmE and BrE are in the choice of vocabulary. Some words mean different things in the two varieties, for example:
Spelling. American spelling is often simplified, as can be seen from the examples in which the first word is BrE and the second is AmE: colour / color, favourite / favorite, theatre / theater, realise / realize, dialogue / dialog, traveller / traveler, cheque / check, jewellery / jewelry, tyre / tire, and more.
One Meaning – Different Vocabulary. Many words are also used in one form and not in the other. Here are some examples:
Past Simple / Past Participle Verb Forms.Some English verbs have two acceptable forms of the Past Simple / Past Participle. In BrE, however, the irregular form is generally more common: “burnt, dreamt, leant, learnt, smelt, spelt, spilt, spoilt.” The regular verb form is more common to AmE: “burned, dreamed, leaned, learned, smelled, spelled, spilled, spoiled.”
“Get.” The Past Participle of the verb “get” is “gotten” in AmE, for example “He’s gotten much better at playing tennis.” In BrE the Past Participle would be “got” as in the example “He’s got much better at playing tennis.”
As you can see, there are really very few differences between standard BrE and standard AmE, the largest difference being probably the choice of vocabulary.
Ø 2) Find more examples of the differences between American and British English.
1.8 RUSSIAN- ENGLISH “FALSE FRIENDS”
Ø 1) What does the title of the article mean?
(1)“False friends” are pairs of words in two languages (e.g. Russian and English) or two dialects of the same language (e.g. British and American English) that look and/or sound similar, but differ in meaning. “False friends” can cause difficulty for students learning foreign languages because students can misidentify the words due to their linguistic similarities. The following words represent only a partial sampling of English and Russian “false friends”:
(2)Other Russian-English “false friends” include: “àêêóðàòíûé” vs. “accurate,” “àðòèñò” vs. “artist,” “àóäèòîðèÿ” vs. “auditorium,” “äåêîðàöèÿ” vs. “decoration,” “èíòåëëèãåíòíûé” vs. “intelligent,” “êîìïëåêöèÿ” vs. “complexion,” “êîìïîçèòîð” vs. “compositor,” “ìàðêà” vs. “mark,” “íîâåëëà” vs. “novel,” “îïåðàòîð” vs. “operator,” “ïðîñïåêò” vs. “prospect,” “ôàìèëèÿ” vs. “family,” “ôèçèê,” vs. “physique,” and dozens more.
(3)Interestingly, it should be noted that the meaning of the Russian word in many of these “false friend” pairs usually has the same meaning as was ascribed to the original word from which both words were borrowed. Of course, blaming English today for linguistic inconsistency is now useless because these “false friends” will remain false friends and nothing is going to change that.
Ø 2) Give a definition to the word combination “false friends.”
Ø 3) Find English equivalents to the words in commas in the second paragraph.
Ø 4) Make a summary of the article.
Ø 1) Do you agree with the title of the text?
English is crazy. Part of the problem with learning English can be explained by this fact.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word “misnomer” means the “use of a wrong or inappropriate name” when naming something. In this respect, such words and terms as “driveway” and “parkway,” “eggplant” and “hamburger,” “sweetmeats” and “sweetbreads,” “English muffins” and “French fries,” as well as “boxing ring” and “starfish” are all misnomers.
English is strange. In English people “drive cars on parkways” and “park cars on driveways.” There is no “egg” in eggplant just as there is no “ham” in hamburger. “Sweetmeats” are candies and “sweetbreads” are meats. “English muffins” didn’t come from England nor did “French fries” come from France. And should it not be obvious “boxing rings” are square and “starfish” are not fish at all. And should you now be wondering if “Panama hats” come from Panama, “India ink” from India and “Chinese checkers” from China, the answer is “No.” And lest it go unsaid, these are only a few of the hundreds of misnomers in the English language.
So how did English become so crazy? Some misnomers are holdovers from an earlier time. Such words as “lead pencil,” “tin can,” “steamroller,” and “clothes iron” are all holdovers from the “good old days.” Essentially, old names were retained for convenience. Truly British examples are the well-known “May balls” (evening parties) and “May Bumps” (boat races) hosted by Cambridge University each year. Neither occurs in May but rather in May week which, by the way, is in the second week of June.
Words such as “Kleenex” (in place of “tissue”), “Xerox” (in place of “photocopy”), and “Memory stick” (in place of “flash drive”) are all the result of using well-known product names in place of common generic names.
Sometimes misnomers result from popular misconceptions even though there is scientific evidence to the contrary. “Koala bears” are not actually bears; rather they are marsupials and therefore related to kangaroos. And in that sense, “fireflies” are not flies (they’re beetles) and “palm trees” are not really trees (they’re grass). And just to set the record straight, “shooting stars” are actually meteors, not stars.
Finally, we have a group of misnomers which almost defy explanation. And how is it possible for our nose “to run” and our feet “to smell?” Is it really true that a shipment is “sent by car” while cargo is “sent by ship.” And in what other language could people “recite at a play” and “play at a recital?” Why do they call food servers “waiters,” when it’s the customers who do the waiting? Why do they call them buildings, when they are already built? And why is it called a TV set when you get only one?
Only in English you say that “night falls” but never breaks, and “day breaks” but never falls, and “a slim chance” and “a fat chance” are the same but “a wise man” and “a wise guy” are opposites.
English is a truly amazing language. It’s full of misnomers, paradoxes, and verbal contradictions, yet it is loved by millions. What more can I say? The time has come for me to “wind up” this article … and speaking of time, I’d better “wind up” my watch while I’m at it. And if it hasn’t occurred to you, guess which one means “to finish” and which one means “to start.”
Ø 2) Find the definition of the word “misnomer” in the text.
Ø 3) Translate the words and expressions in commas into Russian.
Ø 4) What is the main idea of the article?
Ø 1) What does the title of the text imply?
Since English is so wide-spread, people try to construct its simpler varieties, for example:
· Basic English which is simplified for easy international use. Manufacturers and other international businesses tend to write manuals and communicate in Basic English.
· E-Prime in which forms of the verb “to be” are excluded.
· Eurospeak (EuroEnglish) in which foreign realia and non-British concepts are translated into English.
· Manually Coded English which is a representation of the English language with hand signals. These should not be confused with true sign languages such as British Sign Language and American Sign Language used in Anglophone countries, which are independent and not based on English.
· Seaspeak and the related Airspeak and Policespeak, which are all based on restricted vocabularies. They were designed in the 1980s to aid international cooperation and communication in specific areas. There is also Tunnelspeak for the use in the Channel Tunnel.
· Special English which is a simplified version of English used by the Voice of America. It uses a vocabulary of only 1500 words.
Ø 2) Share your opinion on the simplification of a language.