( American English )
|speaker||approx. 260 million (2016)|
|Official language in||United States (de facto)|
American English ( English American English [əmɛɹɪkən ɪŋɡlɪʃ] , shortly AE or AmE ) is a generic term for variants of the English language , which in the United States of America are spoken, and some in their outdoor areas . Together with the very similar Canadian English , it forms the group of standard North American English languages that also share some dialectal processes. The United States is by far the country with the largest number of native English speakers at over 260 million , not all of whom must have acquired AmE as a first language for the purposes of this article.
Use and Distribution
The use of American English over other varieties of English is also increasing internationally, as a result of its proliferation through American television , television series and movies and the relatively large number of its second and foreign speakers.
The development of American English, much like the emergence of French or Italian , which evolved from Latin , is often viewed as an advancement of the motherland's language. However, the differences between the two standard varieties , British and American English, are relatively small. There is a tendency towards convergence of the two, similar to the local dialects of German .
The pronunciation of American English is very similar to that of neighboring Canada .
Most varieties of American English, like Scottish , Irish, and Canadian English, have a rhotic accent as opposed to the predominantly non-rhotic accents of England , Wales , Australia , New Zealand, and South Africa . However, some regional accents of American are not rhotic, as in parts of New England , New York, and the southern states .
One of the most noticeable properties is flapping : In American, the consonants (groups) t , tt and d between two vowels are pronounced like [ɾ] in most cases , provided the second vowel is unstressed (and with d and t also after an r ), Examples: tomato [tʰəˈmeɪ̯ɾoʊ̯] , pretty [ˈpɹɪɾi] , lady [ˈleɪ̯ɾi] and order [ˈɔɹɾɚ] . This also applies to consecutive words in the sentence, such as B. I g et i t. [ˌʔaɪ̯ ˈɡɛɾɪˀ] .
The following descriptions refer to the variety of American English called General American , which is commonly used as the counterpart to British received pronunciation .
|[p]||voiceless bilabial plosive||pin [pʰɪn]||happy [ˈhæpi]||tip [tʰɪp]|
|[t]||voiceless alveolar plosive||tin [tʰɪn]||melted [ˈmɛɫtɪd]||pit [pʰɪˀ] or [pʰɪt]|
|[k]||voiceless velar plosive||kin [kʰɪn]||bacon [ˈbeɪ̯kən]||pick [pʰɪk]|
|[b]||voiced bilabial plosive||boy [bɔɪ̯]||rabbit [ˈɹʷæbɪˀ] or [ɹʷæbɪt]||rib [ɹʷɪb]|
|[d]||voiced alveolar plosive||dog [dɒg]||spider [ˈspaɪ̯ɾɚ]||rid [ɹʷɪd]|
|[G]||voiced velar plosive||girl [gɚɫ]||tiger [ˈtʰaɪ̯gɚ]||rig [ɹɪg]|
|[ʔ]||voiceless glottal plosive||cotton [kʰɑʔn̩]||mountain [ˈmaʊ̯nʔn̩]||grit [ɡɹɪˀ]|
- Voiceless plosives ([p], [t] and [k]) are aspirated in the stressed position and at the beginning of a word : [pʰ], [tʰ], [kʰ]
- At the end of a word, the sound [t] can be “stopped” so that it is not heard as an actual [t] (as in British English or in German), but as a voiceless glottal plosive ([ʔ]); Examples are put [pʰʊʔ] , cut [kʰʌʔ] , what [wʌʔ] and button [ˈbʌʔn̩] .
- The sound [p] can - similar to [t] - be stopped at the end of the word: The lips are brought into the appropriate position for the sound, but the sound is not emphasized as strongly (as in British English, for example) ; this is e.g. This is the case with cup , stop and lip , for example .
- After an “n” (and before a vowel) the [t] sound is often completely omitted: center [ˈsɛn (t) ɚ] , advantage [ædˈvɛə̯n (t) ɪd͡ʒ] , interview [ˈɪn (t) ɚˌvjuː] .
|[t͡ʃ]||voiceless palatoalveolar affricata||child [t͡ʃaɪ̯ɫd]||nature [ˈneɪ̯t͡ʃɚ]||teach [tʰit͡ʃ]|
|[d͡ʒ]||voiced palatoalveolar affricata||joy [d͡ʒɔɪ̯]||soldier [ˈsoʊ̯ɫd͡ʒɚ]||bridge [bɹɪd͡ʒ]|
|[f]||voiceless labiodental fricative||fit [fɪˀ] or [fɪt]||gopher [ˈgoʊ̯fɚ]||rough [ɹʷʌf]|
|[θ]||voiceless dental fricative||thin [θɪn]||ether [ˈ (ʔ) iːθɚ]||mouth [maʊ̯θ]|
|[s]||voiceless alveolar fricative||sit [sɪˀ] or [sɪt]||tassel [ˈtʰæsɫ̩]||kiss [kʰɪs]|
|[ʃ]||voiceless palatoalveolar fricative||ship [ʃɪp]||issue [ˈ (ʔ) ɪʃu]||rash [ɹʷæʃ]|
|[v]||voiced labiodental fricative||van [vɛə̯n]||gavel [ˈgæv (ə) ɫ̩]||have [hæv]|
|[ð]||voiced dental fricative||thesis [Diz]||either [ˈ (ʔ) iːðɚ] or [ˈaɪ̯ðɚ]||bathe [beɪ̯ð]|
|[z]||voiced alveolar fricative||zip [zɪp]||hazel [ˈheɪ̯zəɫ]||what [wʌz] or [wɑz]|
|[ʒ]||voiced palatoalveolar fricative||genre [ˈ (d) ʒɒnɹə]||azure [ˈʔæʒɚ]||beige [beɪ̯ʒ]|
|[H]||voiceless glottal fricative||hit [hɪˀ] or [hɪt]||ahead [(ʔ) əˈhɛd]|
|[m]||bilabial nasal||medium [ˈmidiə̯m] or [ˈmiɾɪə̯m]||hammer [ˈhɛə̯mɚ]|
|[n]||alveolar nasal||nation [ˈneɪ̯ʃən]||funny [ˈfʌni]|
|[ŋ]||velar nasal||singer [ˈsɪŋɚ]||finger [ˈfɪŋgɚ]||think [θɪŋk]|
|[l]||alveolar lateral||legal [ˈliːgəɫ] or [ˈɫiːgəɫ]||silly [ˈsɪɫi]|
|[ɫ]||alveolar lateral with velarization||well [wɛɫ]||moldy [ˈmoʊ̯ɫdi]||riddle [ˈɹʷɪɾəɫ]|
|[ɾ]||alveolar flap||atom [ˈ (ʔ) æɾəm]||better [ˈbɛɾɚ]||party [ˈpʰɑɹɾi]|
|[ɹ]||alveolar central approximant||run [ɹʌn]||merry [ˈmɛɹi]||car [kʰɑɹ]|
|[j]||palatal half vowel||yet [jɛˀ] or [jɛt]||beyond [biˈjɑnd]||few [fju]|
|[w]||labiovelar semi-vowel||win [wɪn]||swim [swɪm]||away [(ʔ) əˈweɪ]|
- [l] is pronounced “dark” at the end of a word / syllable (before a consonant) (as a so-called “voicedvelarizedlateral alveolar approximant”, represented byɫ). Many speakers apply this sound to every "l".
- [ɫ] can also form a syllable apex, e.g. B.pickle [ˈpʰɪk (ə) ɫ̩] .
- [ɾ] occurs as a variant of [t] and [d] before an unstressed vowel (see above flapping ).
- [ɹ] is labialized at the beginning of the word (pronounced with rounded lips) and is usuallypronouncedas [ɚ] at the top of thesyllable(see R-colored vowels below).
- A minority of American speakers still pronounce wh- as [hw] , e.g. B. white [hwaɪ̯t] . Exceptions are words like who [huː] and whole [hoʊ̯l] . Otherwise wh- , as in British English, is pronounced as [w] , so that whine and wine are pronounced identically as [waɪ̯n] .
|[ɪ]||high front unrounded unstrained vowel (stressed or unstressed)||chit [t͡ʃɪˀ] or [t͡ʃɪt]||busy [ˈbɪzi]||women [ˈwɪmən]||panic [ˈpʰɛə̯nɪk]||swimming [ˈswɪmɪŋ]|
|[ɛ]||middle front unrounded unstrained vowel (always stressed)||bet [bɛˀ] or [bɛt]||said [sɛd]||any [ˈ (ʔ) ɛni]|
|[æ] ([ɛə ~ eə] before [n] or [m])||medium low front unrounded unstrained vowel (always stressed)||bat [bæˀ] or [bæt]||man [mɛə̯n]||drank [dɹæŋk]|
|[ʊ]||high back rounded unstrained vowel (always stressed)||put [pʰʊˀ] or [pʰʊt]||book [bʊk]||woman [ˈwʊmən]|
|[ə]||middle central unrounded unstrained vowel (always unstressed)||idea [(ʔ) aɪ̯ˈdiə̯]||several [ˈsɛvɹəɫ]||Christmas [ˈkʰɹɪsməs]|
|[ʌ]||middle central back unrounded unstrained vowel (always stressed)||but [bʌˀ] or [bʌt]||cover [ˈkʰʌvɚ]||enough [(ʔ) əˈnʌf]|
|[ɑ]||lower central back unrounded unstrained vowel (always emphasized)||pot [pʰɑˀ] or [pʰɑt]||father [ˈfɑðɚ]||calm [kʰɑ (l) m]|
Strained vowels and diphthongs
|[i (ː)]||high front unrounded tense vowel (stressed and unstressed)||beat [biːˀ] or [biːt]||people [ˈpʰip (ə) ɫ]||city [ˈsɪɾi]|
|[e]||middle front unrounded tense vowel (almost only in diphthongs, always stressed)||bait [beɪ̯ˀ] or [beɪ̯t]||break [bɹeɪ̯k]|
|[ɔ]||lower back rounded tense vowel (always stressed)||bought [bɒˀ] or [bɒt]||broad [brɒd]||talk [tʰɒk]|
|[O]||middle back rounded tense vowel (almost only in diphthongs, accented and unstressed)||boat [boʊ̯ˀ] or [boʊ̯t]||sew [soʊ̯]||shadow [ˈʃædoʊ̯]|
|[u]||high back rounded tense vowel (stressed and unstressed)||boot [buːˀ] or [buːt]||beauty [ˈbjuɾi]||Hindu [ˈhɪndu]||venue [ˈvɛnju]|
|[aɪ̯]||Unrounded diphthong gliding from low front to medium high front (accentuated and unstressed)||bite [baɪ̯ˀ] or [baɪ̯t]||idea [(ʔ) aɪ̯ˈdiə]|
|[aʊ̯] or [æʊ̯]||Diphthong gliding from the lower front unrounded to the medium-high rear rounded point (always emphasized)||pout [pʰaʊ̯ˀ] or [pʰaʊ̯t]||plow [pʰɫaʊ̯]|
|[ɔɪ̯]||Diphthong gliding from medium-deep rear rounded to medium-high front unrounded point (always emphasized)||point [pʰɔɪ̯nˀ] or [pʰɔɪ̯nt]||toy [tʰɔɪ̯]||boil [bɔɪ̯ɫ]|
- [e] is oftenpronounceddiphthong [eɪ̯] , especially in open syllables:day [deɪ̯]
- To [ɔ] : Usually the British [ɒ] corresponds to the American [ɑ] , such as B. in lot [lɑˀ] , John [dʒɑn] etc. But in a number of words such as cloth , lost , off , gone , dog , long , chocolate etc. AE shows tensioned [ɔ] , where BE unstressed [ɒ] shows: [kʰlɒθ, lɒst, ɒf, gɒn, dɒg, lɒŋ, t͡ʃɒkləˀ] . There is disagreement among American speakers on many words; the word on is pronounced [ɑn] in the north ( New York , Connecticut , New Jersey ) , but [ɒn ~ ɔən] in the south ( Virginia , North and South Carolina ) .
- Many American speakers don't know the difference between [ɑ] and [ɔ] . With them, pairs like cot / caught , Don / Dawn are pronounced identically: depending on the region, either as [kʰɑt, dɑn] or as [kʰɒt, dɒn] .
- [o] is oftenpronounceddiphthong [oʊ ~ ʌʊ] , especially in open syllables:dough [doʊ̯] .
- to [u] : In American there is often no [j] between [d, t, n] and [u] : tune [tʰuːn] , duty [ˈduːɾi] , new [nuː] .
|[ɚ ~ ɝ]||emphasized syllabic equivalent to [ɹ]||bird [bɚd]||hurry [ˈhɚ (ɹ) i]||furry [ˈfɚ (ɹ) i]|
|[ɚ]||unstressed syllabic equivalent to [ɹ]||water [ˈwɒɾɚ]||further [ˈfɚðɚ]||perverse [pʰɚˈvɚs]|
|[iɚ]||Beginning between [ɪ] and [i] , ending like [ɚ] , but all monosyllabic||beard [biɚd]||spirit [ˈspiɚ (ɹ) ɪt]|
|[ɛɹ] and [ɛɚ]||Start like [ɛ] , end like [ɚ] , but all monosyllabic||scarce [skɛɚs]||very [ˈvɛɹi]|
|[ɑɹ]||Start like [ɑ], end like [ɚ] , but all monosyllabic||bard [bɑɹd]||starry [stɑɹi]||tomorrow [tʰəˈmɑɹoʊ̯]|
|[ɔɹ] or [oɹ]||Beginning between [ɔ] and [o] , ending like [ɹ] , but all monosyllabic||board [bɔɹd]||horse [hɔɹs]||forest [ˈfɔɹəst]|
|[uɚ]||Beginning between [ʊ] and [u] , ending like [ɚ] , but all monosyllabic||poor [pʰuɚ] or [pʰoɹ]||tourist [ˈtʰuɚɹɪst] or [ˈtʰʊɹɪst]|
|[aɪɹ] or [aɪɚ]||Start like [aɪ] , end like [ɚ]||fire [ˈfaɪɹ] or [ˈfaɪɚ]||higher [ˈhaɪɹ] or [ˈhaɪɚ]|
|[aʊɹ] or [aʊɚ]||Start like [aʊ] , end like [ɚ]||sour [ˈsaʊɹ] or [ˈsaʊɚ]||power [ˈpʰaʊɹ] or [ˈpʰaʊɚ]|
- The distinction between Mary , merry and marry, which is widespread outside of North America and regionally in the United States, is not preserved in Standard American : All three are pronounced the same as [ˈmɛɹi] .
- For many Americans, [ʊɹ] becomes [ɚ] , especially after palatal sounds: sure [ʃɚ] , fury [ˈfjɚ (ɹ) i] , Europe [ˈjɚ (ɹ) əp] .
- It is unclear whether the groups [aɪɹ] / [aɪɚ] and [aʊɹ] / [aʊɚ] are to be regarded as one- or two-syllable.
The vocabulary of the American language is largely the same as that of other varieties of English such as British English. There are a few differences, however. Well-known examples are:
|American English||British English||German|
|cookie||(sweet) biscuit||(sweet) biscuit|
|cracker||(savory) biscuit||(salty) biscuit|
|drugstore / pharmacy||chemist's shop||pharmacy|
|trailer / camper||caravan||Caravan|
The peculiarities in the vocabulary of American English are due to various causes:
- Preservation of older forms that have disappeared in British English or only exist in dialects such as fall (Eng. 'Herbst', BE autumn )
- Use of words derived from dialects or sociolects of British English that are not used in standard British English, such as candy (BE sweets )
- Uses of loans from other languages, e.g. B. cookie ('(sweet) biscuit') from Dutch
American English vocabulary contains a variety of borrowings from other languages, such as various Native American languages and the languages of various immigrant groups. These include B. potlach (dt. ' Wilde party') or moccasin , tomahawk and wigwam , which, however, have now also been used in other English language variants and are no longer exclusively typical of American English. Examples of borrowings from European languages are arroyo ('Bach') from Spanish, bureau ('Kommode') from French and fest ('Festival'), also in formations such as filmfest , from German.
Orthographic differences from British English
The following list gives an overview of changes that Noah Webster's spelling reform of 1806 brought about for the spelling of today's American English. The main differences to British English are:
- adapting the spelling of words of French or Latin origin to their pronunciation: words that end in -re or -our in British English (such as center or color ) are given the endings -er or -or (hence center and color ). In addition, the noun catalog is mostly spelled catalog and program always program in the US , but some words for which Webster proposed the same reforms are still mostly spelled traditionally, e.g. B. dialogue , whose rare Reformed spelling dialog is mentioned as a variant or not at all in American dictionaries.
- The different use of the endings -ce and -se : On the one hand, in American English the ending -se is used instead of -ce for words like offense or defense, in contrast to the British . On the other hand, the usual distinction between the noun ending in -ce and the verb ending in -se in words such as practice and license is no longer applicable , as long as no distinction is made between them in the pronunciation (so the difference still exists between e.g. the Noun advice and the verb advise ).
- the exclusive use of the suffix -ize in verbs that have this as an independent ending (such as (to) organize or (to) colonize ); in British such verbs can also be written with -ise as an alternative . (If this letter combination is not an ending but part of a longer stem, e.g. in advertise, advise, surprise , it is always written with s in American as well .)
- the different uses of doubled consonants: on the one hand, a consonant in American English is only doubled if it follows a stressed vowel, and this is also done consistently with the letter L , just as British only does with other consonants; from this it follows that certain finite verb forms, e.g. B. traveling (instead of traveling ) and chiseled (instead of chiselled ) differ from British English, while there is no orthographic difference in controllable , compelling , offered and referred . On the other hand, in words like (to) enroll , installment or skillful, in contrast to British English, two L are written because it is the main part of the word. In British, conversely, B. both the word skill and the word full spelled simplified when used as the main part and ending of the word skilful .
- the preference for shorter and simpler spellings, which can be done by changing or removing certain letters that are irrelevant for pronunciation; Examples include mold (instead of mold ) and judgment (instead of judgment ) and plow and draft for the British plow or draft . Words of Greek or Latin origin are also often simplified; Examples of this are encyclopedia (instead of encyclopaedia ) and maneuver (instead of manoeuvre ).
To a certain extent, the deviations also apply to Canadian English .
- Henry L. Mencken : The American Language: An Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States . Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1921.
- John Algeo: The Cambridge History of the English Language VI: English in North America . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2001. ISBN 0-521-26479-0 .
- Julie S. Amberg, Deborah J. Vause: American English: History, Structure, and Usage . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2009. ISBN 978-0-521-61788-8 .
- Richard W. Bailey: Speaking American: A History of English in the United States . Oxford University Press, 2012. ISBN 978-0-19-517934-7 .
- Edward Finegan, John R. Rickford: Language in the USA: Themes for the Twenty-first Century . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2004. ISBN 978-0-521-77747-6 .
- Timothy C. Frazer: Heartland English: Variation and Transition in the American Midwest . University Alabama Press 2005. ISBN 0-8173-5244-9 .
- William Labov , Sharon Ash, Charles Boberg: The Atlas of North American English: Phonetics, Phonology and Sound Change . Mouton de Gruyter, 2005. ISBN 978-3-11-016746-7 .
- Thomas E. Murray, Beth Lee Simon: Language Variation and Change in the American Midland: A New Look at 'Heartland' English . John Benjamin Publ. Co., 2006. ISBN 978-90-272-4896-1 .
- Walt Wolfram, Ben Ward: American Voices - How Dialects Differ from Coast to Coast . Wiley-Blackwell 2005. ISBN 978-1-4051-2109-5 .
- Telsur Project at the Linguistics Laboratory, University of Pennsylvania
- Linguistic Atlas Projects
- BYU Corpus of American English , 1990-2012, Brigham Young University
- American English Dialect Recordings. The Center for Applied Linguistics Collection at the Library of Congress
- American Languages: Our Nation's Many Voices. University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
- English , on Ethnologue
- Tomasz P. Szynalski: Flap t FAQ
- David Eddington, Michael Taylor: T-glottalization in American English (PDF)
- Susan Ryan: American English: The Dropped T Sound
- William Labov, Sharon Ash and Charles Boberg: Nearly completed mergers (PDF) in: The Atlas of North American English (PDF; 2.6 MB), accessed on November 9, 2019.
- Peter Trudgill, Jean Hannah: International English: A guide to the varieties of Standard English , 5th edition. Routledge, London / New York 2008, ISBN 978-0-340-97161-1 , pp. 88-92
- Klaus Hansen, Uwe Carls, Peter Lucko: The differentiation of English into national variants . Erich Schmidt Verlag, Berlin 1996, ISBN 3-503-03746-2 , p. 124.
- Klaus Hansen, Uwe Carls, Peter Lucko: The differentiation of English into national variants . Erich Schmidt Verlag, Berlin 1996, ISBN 3-503-03746-2 , pp. 124-125.
- Are spellings like 'privatize' and 'organize' Americanisms? ( Memento from September 29, 2007 in the Internet Archive )