The Varieties of English

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In the days of colonization, Britain had not only expanded its belongings, but also expanded the language of the people outside the Albion. A traditional English was modified and due to this various dialects were originated on new lands, the main of which are the American and Australian ones. But later on these dialects had an impact on British English.

British English

Traditionally, British English is more formal; however, it is not considered to be homogeneous. There are three types of British English: Conservative English (the language of the royal family and parliament), Adopted Standard (Received Pronunciation or BBC English), and Advanced English. Last type is rather modified and the most influenced by other dialects.

American English

The English language underwent significant changes in America under an influence by autochthonous dialects of the Indian peoples and by many other languages in Europe. Therefore, differences in American and British English are not only in phonetics and vocabulary, but also in grammar. The American English lexical differences caused not only by cultural differences but also by Spanish and Indian languages. A lot of words have different meanings in British and American. Climate, nature, features of everyday life and political system of the U.S. gave rise to many new words and phrases that are not widely spread in the UK (moose, drugstore, etc.). At the same time, America spread some words that are entrenched in many countries (e.g. “okay” and “teenager”). American English pronunciation is characterized by some simplification (the disappearance of some vowels and consonants, the emergence of the so-called shock slip in the pronunciation). Spelling also has significant differences (programme – program, cheque – check, theatre – theater, etc.).

There are also differences in grammar, for example, in articles using, verb tenses (disappearance of Perfect Tenses in a spoken language) and using “will” instead of “shall”. Many irregular verbs in American English are regular, stable expression of many changes, etc. In general, differences between British English and American English are expressed in the vocabulary and pronunciation. American English is widely used around the world, but, nevertheless, British English, in particular, is considered to be the most universal.

Australian English

Australian English was originated in the XVIII century, during the British colonization of Australia. In contrast to American, Australian English is not exposed to any other languages except its own British (English and Irish London Cockney dialect). Australian English is called Strain (from Australian), it is allocated with three dialects (variations in pronunciation): Broad Australian, General Australian, and Cultivated Australian. Moreover, differences among native speakers of any type of pronunciation rather social than territorial. Phonetic features of Australian English is presented in vowel differences, especially in their positions, loud sounds become more closed. The contrast is low between stressed and unstressed syllables in Australian English, resulting a smoother rhythm of speech compared to British English, while at the same time stressed syllables in General Australian are higher than in RP. Also, there is a difference in intonation: in Australians it is more even.

Lexical differences within the continent are minor and relate first of all to culture, names of courses, institutions, etc. Australian English is rich in idioms (e.g. sheila – woman, bloke – man, fair dinkum – very Australian). Of course, original Australian slang is very interested too. For example, shark biscuits means “newbie surfer”, boomerang – something that must be returned, etc. Many English words in the Australian dialect acquired new significance: for example, the word bush in Australia means “forest”, due to the fact that it is difficult to use the word “forest” for the light eucalyptus forests and shrubs. Also there are some adoptions in Australian English from American one. Grammatical differences between Australian and British English are considerably discernible. For example, there are differences in the nominal forms (the word “data” is only used in plural in Australia). Auxiliary verb “shall” is used only in the motivation and interrogative forms, and the word “should” is almost replaced by the verb “would”. It is also interesting that outdated forms of alliances such as “while”, and “among” – “whilst” and “amongst” are still used in Australia. There is also accepted both forms of the words “disinterested” and “uninterested”, and the words “flammable” and “inflammable” have the same meaning.

As we can see, the differences between the three varieties of English – British, American and Australian – exist in phonetics and vocabulary, spelling and grammar. Therefore, competent translation from English into Russian (Ukrainian) requires knowledge of all the dialects’ peculiarities.

Always professional translation with considering all the cultural differences can be found at my personal website.

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