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5 Major Differences Between American and British English Accent

There has always been a battle between the American and British accents. Which one is more correct? Which one is easier to understand, learn, and speak? The answer may vary from person to person. But to learn which one is simpler and easier, let us learn about the 5 major differences between American and British English accent.

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5 Differences Between American and British English Accent

To find the top 5 differences between American and British English accent, let us compare the “Oxford English” and the “Standard American English”. So, let us dive in.

1. Intonation

One of the most obvious differences between American English and British English is Intonation. In the US, people talk more slowly and monotonously than British people. Moreover, British people talk rather faster and are much more expressive. Besides, English people also lengthen vowels more. Which makes it easier for non-native speakers to understand native speakers easily.

If you are a non-native speaker and want to improve your comprehension, following the tips below can help you.

  1. Speak English: You should speak in English no matter how hard you find it to be.
  2. watch TV series and films: There is no better and more entertaining practice than watching films and TV series in English.
  3. Listen to Music: One of the best and fun ways to improve your English is to listen to music.
  4. Podcasts and Audiobooks: This practice will only not help you improve your English but listening to podcasts and audiobooks can help you gain more knowledge.
  5. Moreover, you should not only listen and listen but for instance, if you watch a movie, try to explain it to a friend.
  6. learn International Phonetic Alphabets aka IPA.

2. Vowels

American English speakers tend to specify their language more. Specifically, Americans remove unnecessary diphthong sounds.

In English, there are five vowels and each of the vowels has one short sound and one long sound. Generally, for vowels, the long sound is its name. Some of the most important rules for vowels are given below.

Rule 1: One Vowel Rule

According to this rule, when a vowel comes between two constants, then the vowel is going to be short. It is also known as CVC which means consonant vowel consonant. For instance, sit, cap, bin, put, etc.

Rule 2: The Magic “E”

In this case, an “E” is added to the end of CVC (consonant vowel consonant) which makes the vowel sound longer.

For instance, cape, hate, Pete, bite, hope, cute, etc.

Moreover, it is important to remember that it does not matter how many consonants are there in the word, the same CVC rule applies. However, the addition of an “E” changes the short sound of vowels to a long sound.

3. Letter “R”

One of the most obvious differences between American and British accents is the pronunciation is the letter “R”. It is, according to the “Received Pronunciation” standard not pronounced but the vowel before the letter “R” is emphasized a bit more.

For instance, in the word “Car”, “R” is not pronounced but the vowel “A” is emphasized which sounds like “Caa”.

4. Letter “T”

In contrast to the letter “R”, British people tend to clearly pronounce the letter “T” but Americans do not. Americans tend to pronounce “T” as “R” when they come at the end of any word.

For instance, the word “out” is clearly pronounced as “OUT”. However, in American English, it is pronounced as “awr”.

Moreover, another important thing to remember is that when “T” comes before or after a consonant, then it is not pronounced. For instance, the pronunciation of “can” and “cannot” do not have any difference.

5. In American, Words are Shortened

Let’s accept that American English speakers are a bit lazier. Because they tend to get rid of letters when speaking. This sets American English speakers and British English speakers apart. British speakers take their time with the pronunciation of words.

For instance, American speakers completely ignore the letter “t” at the end of the word “fact”.

What other major differences do you know between American and British English? Please let us know in the comment section below.


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