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American language dictionary

PotomacBob 🚫

I discovered that there already exists a dictionary called "Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language."
Is it really American and not English with some Americanisms?

Dominions Son 🚫
Updated:

@PotomacBob

At some point, if American English diverges enough from British English it will become a completely separate language.

The problem is defining where that point is, just how far does it have to diverge?

That is something I don't think even linguistics experts would agree on.

As to "Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language." There might possibly be a touch of anti-British sentiment in the naming.

Also note that while the title does refer to Noah Webster (who published one of the first genuinely American dictionaries in the founding era), "Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language" is not published by or in any way connected to the Merriam-Webster Company.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking 🚫

@Dominions Son

"Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language" is not published by or in any way connected to the Merriam-Webster Company.

That's surely a strong point in its favour ;-)

AJ

solreader50 🚫

@PotomacBob

Just as I would refute there is any such thing as British English, and that is exemplified by the many fine stories tht various authors have written about the various regions of the British Isles, I would find it difficult to accept there is such a thing as American English. This probably refers to the fine works of prose written daily in the universities of your country.

But there is a different and rich language of your southern states. I have just hugely enjoyed a series of stories about life in the old west, with a language that I doubt would find its way on to the pages of the dictionary.

Know what am sayin y'all.

Replies:   Switch Blayde  tenyari
Switch Blayde 🚫

@solreader50

There are accepted differences between British English and American English with spelling and punctuation. I believe that's what people are referring to when they say Br English and Am English.

Dialects and pronunciations are different. There's a scene at the trial in the movie "My Cousin Vinny" where Vinny (from NYC) says "…the two youts."

The baffled Southern judge interrupts him to ask what he said. After a funny exchange, Vinny says clearly, "The two youths" emphasizing the word "youths."

But there are definitely differences between Br and Am English.

Mr vs Mr.
colour vs color
knickers vs panties
lorry vs truck
boot vs trunk

and I would think slang would be included, such as "fag" (cigarette in Br, homosexual in Am), (randy vs horny).

Dominions Son 🚫
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

boot vs trunk

In this case I believe it's the British, not the Americans that made a change.

In the early automobile days, the trunk was an actual trunk strapped to the back of an automobile.

Here's an example: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/ea/1931_Ford_Model_A_roadster_rear.JPG/220px-1931_Ford_Model_A_roadster_rear.JPG

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking 🚫

@Dominions Son

Boot predates Trunk

The word "boot"(which is commonly used by the English), goes back to 18th century horse-drawn carriages where the coachman sat on a chest, which was used to store, among other things, his boots. This storage space came to be termed as the "boot locker", which soon became the "boot".

AJ

richardshagrin 🚫

@Switch Blayde

knickers vs panties

Metropolitan Seattle Gamers rents a room at Nickerson Marina. I wonder how they know Marina has knickers on. Or maybe American English doesn't need a K in Nickers.

richardshagrin 🚫

@Switch Blayde

knickers vs panties

Metropolitan Seattle Gamers rents a room at Nickerson Marina. I wonder how they know Marina has knickers on. Or maybe American English doesn't need a K in Nickers.

solreader50 🚫
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

I think what I was trying to convey is that both British English and American English are both subsets of a hugely varied language group. But we are told they "British English" and "American English" by the academic elites of both countries. But that can lead into a whole accent - dialect - language thread which in the end gets us nowhere.

Suh whulla unno ave a gud evening

ystokes 🚫

@Switch Blayde

and I would think slang would be included, such as "fag" (cigarette in Br, homosexual in Am), (randy vs horny).

In both instances someone is sucking on something.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin 🚫

@ystokes

someone is sucking on something

Success? Or would that be someone female sucking like tiger versus tigress. A male sucker but a female success? Maybe the k makes a difference, sucker versus succor
(sucΒ·cor
noun
assistance and support in times of hardship and distress.
"the wounded had little chance of succor"

tenyari 🚫

@solreader50

I think there are notable differences.

When I read stories I can often very quickly spot where the author is either from or NOT from.

There are phrases, nouns, verbs, activities, kinds of locations, and even character names that will give things away.

These go deeper than people often think.

American English is full of words that come from West Africa, Indigenous groups, Irish, Italian, Mexico, Puerto Rico, China, and elsewhere.

I suspect British English has words from India, Scotland, Wales, and South Africa that we lack. They also likely have words from places the US also gets words - like China - but from a different list due to different history.

For the US those words came during the era of building the railroads. For the English they'd have come from occupation of the mainland and later Hong Kong.

US English in the future is likely to gain Mexican Spanish and Hindi words at rapid pace. England's English is likely to have different sources. I don't know if they're getting notable immigration from somewhere right now - or if they have a notable population who's native language is different (geographically about a third of the USA was part of what is now Mexico for 300 years - the impact of that is that Mexican American Spanish is a native language for between 10-20% of US born people - with that ratio growing over time - in the regions where Chicanos are a major population, such as California and Texas; American English is rapidly gaining more loan words and grammar adjustments).

Time will keep causing these language to diverge. The Internet might put reverse pressure on that, or it might not.

But it makes sense to consider them different dialects. Maybe not on the degree of UK English vs. Jamaican - but in time it will be like that. In time US English and Jamaican will probably each shift closer to other given their proximity and extremely high level of cultural exchange...

DBActive 🚫
Updated:

@tenyari

The Mexican Cession is about 1/6 of the contiguous US, not a third. The population at the time was well less than 100k, thousands of whom were Indians and Anglos who didn't speak Spanish. It has no effect on the number of Spanish speakers today.

As to current stats, well less than 10 per cent of the US born population speaks Spanish at home. That does not even mean that it is their "primary" language, just that it is sometimes spoken at home. That number ncludes Puerto Rico where the primary language has always been Spanish.

Switch Blayde 🚫

@tenyari

Time will keep causing these language to diverge. The Internet might put reverse pressure on that, or it might not.

I believe American movies are spreading American English throughout the world.

awnlee jawking 🚫

@Switch Blayde

I believe American movies are spreading American English throughout the world.

Me too :-(

AJ

StarFleet Carl 🚫

@Switch Blayde

I believe American movies are spreading American English throughout the world.

So is aviation. Keep in mind that English is the de facto language for civilian pilots. It was part of the ICAO recommendations in 1951, and became required in 2008.

helmut_meukel 🚫

@Switch Blayde

I believe American movies are spreading American English throughout the world.

Only to those countries where movies are shown in their original language. In the French-, Italian-, Spanish-, German-, Russian-, Polish-, Czech-, Slovak- and Hungarian-speaking markets of Europe, almost all foreign films and television shows are dubbed.

HM.

Replies:   ystokes
ystokes 🚫

@helmut_meukel

I don't know about anyone else but I love Japanese anime but only with the Japanese voices with English sub-titles because the English voices don't match the character's look.

Replies:   Michael Loucks
Michael Loucks 🚫

@ystokes

I don't know about anyone else but I love Japanese anime but only with the Japanese voices with English sub-titles because the English voices don't match the character's look.

Most dubbed films are just bad. I always use the original voices and subtitles. Anything else just grates.

Replies:   ystokes  helmut_meukel
ystokes 🚫

@Michael Loucks

Most dubbed films are just bad. I always use the original voices and subtitles

One problem with sub-titles is if the character talks to fast you can't read fast enough.

Replies:   BlacKnight
BlacKnight 🚫

@ystokes

One problem with sub-titles is if the character talks to fast you can't read fast enough.

I have the opposite problem, of having to wait until the audio catches up to the subtitles. I read faster than most people can talk.

helmut_meukel 🚫

@Michael Loucks

Most dubbed films are just bad. I always use the original voices and subtitles. Anything else just grates.

This may be true for foreign language films dubbed to English. Very few foreign language films were dubbed in the US, therefore there is no large industry and few experience for dubbing films. Even most very successful films were not dubbed, Hollywood does a new American version instead with american actors, plot and location changes.

The Germanophone dubbing market is the largest in Europe. Germany has the most foreign-movie-dubbing studios per capita and per given area in the world.

HM.

solreader50 🚫
Updated:

@tenyari

Time will keep causing these language to diverge. The Internet might put reverse pressure on that, or it might not.

The divergence was certainly slowed by Hollywood and US television. But it was not a merge. US words and phrases were incorporated into UK English. It is often said that radio and TV were the biggest killer of the various UK regional dialect. And I believe that to be true.

TIME OUT for a anecdote : In the 1960s there was a particularly gruesome murder to the west of Birmingham, England; an area called the Black Country where all the little villages had grown industrial during the industrial revolution. The killer telephoned the police on some occasions to boast that they'd never catch him. But he was too clever for himself. His dialect was recognized as belonging to one of those many villages and further good detective work soon had him arrested. That could never happen today as the dialects have merged into a general West Midlands tongue.

irvmull 🚫
Updated:

@PotomacBob

I always enjoy stories written by British authors, because they are so predictable.

If something bad happens, whether it's the wife caught in the arms of her lover, or the kitchen on fire, always the first thing to do is brew a cup of tea.

Then sit down with the cheating pair to have a talk, or stroll down to the local firehouse to see if the boys could pop over and put out the blaze in the kitchen. If it's not too much bother. I'll be at the pub.

Dicrostonyx 🚫
Updated:

@PotomacBob

Now I'll really blow your mind: for decades there has been a version of the Oxford Dictionary specifically for Canadian English.

Canadian English is not a "thing" the way American English is. No one has to learn Canadian English, no one outside of the country imports Canadian textbooks.

But, and it's a big but, Canadian students need a standardised go to for knowing how words are spelled. This is especially important in Canada where we get a tonne of US advertising and other content, but many common words still use the British spelling as the accepted standard.

The professor of my copy editing and professional writing courses a few years ago recommended professionals have physical copies of both Canadian & American standard dictionaries in their work areas. Most national publications and government agencies use the traditional standard, but some smaller publications will use more American English in the hope that it will improve sales south of the border.

Replies:   ystokes
ystokes 🚫

@Dicrostonyx

Eh.

That was a Canadian statement not a question.

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