|American and British Spellings (Like a Native Speaker)|
Here we will talk about the most important spelling differences between British and American English, and why you have those differences.
Many students have asked me why words like favourite or colour are spelled differently depending on where the text comes from. Now that's a very good question.
Actually words are spelled differently in different countries. There's generally two spellings, there’s the American spelling and the British spelling. The original way is the British spelling but what's usually used in textbooks and what most people see most often is the American spelling. So, what are the differences?
There's a 4 main differences: the first one is with -or spellings. for words like colour, favourite, armour. The British spelling is -our while the American spelling is -or.
The second difference is in -er spelling with words like centre and metre. The British spelling is usually -re, borrowed from French, the American spelling is -er.
The third difference is with -ize endings, like realize or recognize. British spelling spells that -ize sound with an 's', American spelling does it with a 'z'.
The fourth main difference is with past tense verbs, with verbs that end with 'L' like cancelled or travelled. In British English they double the 'L' but in American English there's only one.
1- So, to review, the first difference is -or or -our.
2- The second difference is with -er or -re.
3- The third difference is with '-ize', S or Z,
4- and the fourth difference is with -ed endings with verbs that end in 'L', double or not.
Those are the four main differences in British and American spelling. But that brings up another question. We've got one, two, three, four differences but why are they different? What the hell?
A long long time ago, way before America was even a country, Britain didn't really have a unified way to spell things. Even the queen, while writing a letter would spell the same word different ways in the same letter depending on what she felt like.
And this is where dictionaries come in. Someone got the bright idea to take all of our words together and put them in a book telling us how to spell them and what they mean.
Before that this had never been done.
The first English dictionary was actually created about 800 years ago and was mostly made to translate foreign words into English. But, dictionaries as we know them today started around 1806 with Noah Webster. You might know that name. It might be a little bit familiar. Pretty popular in the dictionary world. But, Noah Webster, in 1806 was an American, and at that time, in the United States, shortly after the revolutionary war
America was really looking for a way to split itself from the European Empire.
One of the ways that Webster decided to do this was through spelling. So he started changing things. He claimed that his goal was simplification, removing extra letters
and changing things to be more phonetically correct. And that is a part of it, but a lot of it was actually American pride.
So to recap, we have two different kinds of spellings: British and American. And we have four main differences:
-or and -our
-er and -re
-ise and -ize
-lled and -led
And the reason they're different is because of a guy named Webster, who wanted to simplify spelling as well as create an American national identity. So that's why the spellings are different and that is why English is awesome.
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