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British English vs. American English

 

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  #1  
Old August 09, 2011, 10:00 AM
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British English vs. American English

After watching hours and hours of Top Gear over the last few weeks on NetFlix, I officially feel bad for Spanish speakers trying to learn both BrE and AmE. I knew before that there was a difference in vocabulary between the two, but now I have heard so much change in the pronunciation of words as well. There is a difference in where the emphasis/accent is placed in many words as well that can really throw you off.

I'm starting to fully grip how the different dialects of Spanish can be so different since it exists in my own language.
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Old August 09, 2011, 10:13 AM
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After watching hours and hours of Top Gear over the last few weeks on NetFlix, I officially feel bad for Spanish speakers trying to learn both BrE and AmE. I knew before that there was a difference in vocabulary between the two, but now I have heard so much change in the pronunciation of words as well. There is a difference in where the emphasis/accent is placed in many words as well that can really throw you off.

I'm starting to fully grip how the different dialects of Spanish can be so different since it exists in my own language.
I understand both because I lived in England for a while, and let me tell you, there are many more differences in vocabulary among the Spanish spoken in the various countries than in all of English. Not so much the accent, of course.

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Old August 09, 2011, 10:20 AM
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The differences you've detected are because we don't share the same pronunciation for a number of the consonants and vowels. From my point of view, a Spanish speaker will find British English easier to pronounce.

I'm sure you've noticed that we spell a number of words differently, too. At least there is one standard spelling of the Spanish language.
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Old August 09, 2011, 02:25 PM
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The differences you've detected are because we don't share the same pronunciation for a number of the consonants and vowels. From my point of view, a Spanish speaker will find British English easier to pronounce.

I'm sure you've noticed that we spell a number of words differently, too. At least there is one standard spelling of the Spanish language.
That's 100% correct, dear Rusty..

As for the British English being easier to pronounce, that depends. I have a hard time understanding Scottish accent.
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Old August 09, 2011, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Luna Azul View Post
As for the British English being easier to pronounce, that depends. I have a hard time understanding Scottish accent.
Scottish also has significant vocabulary differences, partly based on Celtic influences. They have some interesting linguistic fossils, for example another word for "to know" which is "to ken", from the Germanic kennen to know a person, cognate with conocer.
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Old August 09, 2011, 02:53 PM
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Scottish also has significant vocabulary differences, partly based on Celtic influences. They have some interesting linguistic fossils, for example another word for "to know" which is "to ken", from the Germanic kennen to know a person, cognate with conocer.
Interesting. Yes, they have some peculiar words. And the accent... geez... Of course it depends on the person. My best friend when I was there was Scottish and I didn't have any problems understanding her. But her parents... whew!!! Maybe it was because she had lived in England for a few years.
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Old August 09, 2011, 02:54 PM
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"Totally unprepared are you
To face a world of men
Timid and shy and scared are you
Of things beyond your ken
You need someone older and wiser
Telling you what to do
I am seventeen going on eighteen
I'll take care of you!"

Sixteen Going On Seventeen (The Sound of Music - 1965 - USA)
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Old August 09, 2011, 03:14 PM
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...and that was written by Oscar Hammerstein. He was no Scottish lad.
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Old August 09, 2011, 03:27 PM
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Yes, the word is not unkown in English, but archaic. ("Do you ken John Peele?....") It is just that Scottish uses it regularly even today.
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Old August 09, 2011, 03:48 PM
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I see!

I found that the differences between different North American accents and vocabulary are no near as great as the regional accents and vocabulary one can hear in the British Isles. To my amazement I've recently heard two people from different Southern counties in England, plain people who earn a living through a very old trade -one of them fished eels with wicker traps- and their accents were remarkably similar to those of the folks one may find in the Appalachians, and very different to the plethora of accents that one associates with English people and Welsh.
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