Unit 17 British and American English
1. Morphology In American English, a number of irregular verbs have become regularised, while remaining irregular in British English: a) In many instances, it is only the voicing of the past tense morpheme -(e)d which has been changed to regularise the verb:
British English American English Present Past or Past or Past Participle Past Participle burn burnt burned dwell dwelt dwelled learn learnt learned smell smelt smelled spell spelt spelled spill spilt spilled spoil spoilt spoiled
b) In some irregular British English verbs, there is a vowel change from /i/ in the present to /e/ in the past participle forms. The American English forms retain the present tense vowel in the following cases, as well as voicing the ending.
British English American English Present Past or Past or Past Participle Past Participle dream dreamt /dremt/ dreamed/drimd/ kneel knelt /nelt/ kneeled/ni:ld/ lean leant/lent/ leaned/li:nd/ leap leapt/lept/ leaped/li:pt/
c) The past participle " gotten " is not used in British English. In American English, it was formerly restricted to being used in the sense of " obtain" or " acquire": I've gotten a new car since I last saw you.
Now , however, " gotten" can be used in all meanings except for "have" in American English: We have gotten home late again. They have gotten me into trouble again. We had already gotten off the train when it was hit.
I have got plenty to eat. I have got the idea now. ( understand )
2. Derivational Two verb-forming affixes which are somewhat more productive In American English than British English are: -ify: citify, humidify, uglify -ize: burglarize, decimalize, hospitalize, rubberize, slenderize
b) Another way of forming new words is by simply changing a word’s grammatical class. Again, there is more of a tendency to form new words in this way in American English than in British English,e.g:
Noun Verb an author to author a host to host a room to room ( I room at the house. ) a sky rocket to sky-rocket pressure to pressure (B.E. to pressurize)
3. Auxiliaries a) must The negative of epistemic " must" is " can't" in Southern British English ( In the north-west of England, " mustn't" is used rather Ethan "can't" ): He must be in ---his TV is on. He can't be in---his car is gone.
In American English, the most common negative of epistemic " must " is " must not ". Note that, unlike north-west British English, In American English this can’t be contracted to " mustn’t " without changing the meaning of the auxiliary to " not be allowed ": He must not be in---his car is gone. ( epistemic ) You mustn't be in when we arrive. ( not allowed )
However, " mustn't" can be epistemic in the past perfect: He mustn't have been in. ( Even in such cases, the uncontracted form is preferred in American English.)
b) used to: In questioning or negating sentences with the modal " used to ", British English can treat " used to " either as an auxiliary, in which case it inverts in questions and receives negation, or as a lexical verb requiring " do" for these constructions:
He used to go there. ( auxiliary ) Used he to go there? ( lexical verb ) Did he use to go there ? ( auxiliary ) He didn't use to go there. ( lexical verb ) In American English, "used to " is treated only as a lexical verb in these constructions, and this is also becoming increasingly the case in British English.
Context Do-substitution Deletion British only both American and British. Did he pass his exam? Yes, he did do. Yes, he did. Have you cleaned the room? Yes, I have done. Yes, I have. I haven't read this yet. But I will do. But I will. I haven't bought one. But I may do. But I may Couldn't you do that later? Yes, we could do. Yes, we could.
4. Verb Phrases 1) In British English, the copular verbs " seem, act, look and sound " can be followed directly by an indefinite noun phrase. In American English, these verbs must be followed first by the preposition " like "; " seem " can also be followed by the infinitive " to be ":
British American/British It seemed a long time. It seemed like a long time. He seems an intelligent man. He seems to be an intelligent man. John acted a real fool. John acted like a real fool.
British American/British That sounds a bad That sounds like a bad idea. idea. That house looks a That house looks like a nice one. nice one.
2) " like ” British/American American We'd like for you to do this now. We'd like you to do this now.
3) The verb " want " can be followed directly by the adverbs " in " and "out" in American English. In British English, " want " must be followed first by an infinitive: British American I wanted to come in. I wanted to be let in. I wanted in. The dog wants to go out. The dog wants out.
Also " want " can be used in the sense of " need " in British English with an inanimate subject: The house wants painting. This is not possible in American English.
4) The verb " decide " can be used as a causative verb in British English: Non-Causative: He decided to go because of that. Causative: That decided him to go.
In American English, " decide " can't be used as a causative; instead, a periphrastic phrase must be used, such as: That made him decide to go.
“Buy” and “sell”in American English mean respectively “accept” and “cause sb. to accept”: He would not buy that idea. He is trying to sell us on linguistics.
Doubt作为动词用在肯定句中后面通常接whether或if，而在否定句中则接that,这是英国英语的用法。在美国一般用that.Doubt作为动词用在肯定句中后面通常接whether或if，而在否定句中则接that,这是英国英语的用法。在美国一般用that. I doubt that...
Aim后面跟at是英国用法，如： He aimed at becoming a scientist. 而在美国则用aim to，如： He aimed to become a doctor.
Raise一词在英国17、18世纪可作“grow”, “breed”, “rear”解释，后在英国此用法被淘汰，而在美国此词仍然保持原来三种意义，如： In England, one grow farm or garden products, breed animals, and rears children. In America, one raises them all.
Mainstream: Originally it means a prevailing current or direction of action or influence. Now in American English, it means “to put the students of mixed ability in one class.”
Some educators warn that markedly handicapped children can profit more from segregated or individual education than from being mainstreamed into classrooms with other youngsters.
Loan: These are the books loaned to children for home use. (American English)
Swing: to follow the fashion; to be lively and up-to-date. This magazine has got to swing, like other magazines swing… (American English)
Stag: Originally, it meant “ a social gathering of men only” in American English, for example: a stag dinner, a stag dance a stag party
Now, “stag” can be used as a verb, meaning “to attend a mixed party unaccompanied by a girl.” to stag it.
5) There are a few verbs in British English and American English which differ in the prepositions or prepositional adverbs they collocate with:
British American to battle with/against to battle to check up on to check out to fill in to fill out to meet to meet with to prevent sth. to prevent from becoming to protest at/against/over to protest to stop someone doing to stop from to visit to visit with
美国英语倾向于在有些动词后面加上副词或介词，以短语动词代替单根动词，如：美国英语倾向于在有些动词后面加上副词或介词，以短语动词代替单根动词，如： American British drown out drown sound out sound lose out lose rest up rest
American British miss out on miss pay off pay try out try start up start
American British consult with consult visit with visit meet with meet
He missed out on a chance to take the exam. It will pay off to revisit with the city. Alfred sounded out（试探……以了解其意图；探听某人口气） his boss about a day off from his job.
Noun Phrases Count versus Mass Nouns a) "lettuce " has characteristics of both a count and mass noun in British English, but it is only a mass noun in many varieties of American English.
British American (mass only) Mass: I like lettuce. I like lettuce. Count: a lettuce a head of lettuce two lettuces two heads of lettuce
b) "sport " is a count noun in both varieties but it can also be used as an abstract mass noun in British English: Count: Football is a sport I like. (British ) Football is a sport I like. (American) Mass: John is good at sport. (British) John is good at sports. (American)
Articles a) When referring to events in the past, British English does not require the definite article before the phrase " next day ". This construction is more usual in written British English:
British: Next day, the rains began. I saw him next day. American/British: The next day, the rains began. I saw him the next day.
b) British English does not use the definite article in the phrase " in future " in the meaning " from now on ", while American does: British: In future, I'd like you to pay more attention to detail. American: In the future, I'd like you to pay more attention to detail. both: In the future, all houses will be heated by solar energy.
c) half British American half an hour a half hour or half an hour half a dozen eggs a half dozen or half a dozen half a pound of a half pound carrots or half a pound
Prepositions British American behind in back of out of out
Differences in preposition used: a) in phrases for duration of time, British English uses " for" where American English uses "for" or "in": British/American I haven't seen him for weeks. I haven't seen him for ages. American Only I haven't seen him in weeks. I haven't seen him in ages.