Students often ask what the differences are between British and American English. Simply put, there are numerous differences between British and American English: so many, in fact, that there are different dictionaries for each language! In addition to different vocabularies, there are different pronunciations and even different grammar for British and American English.
To give you an idea of the differences, check out this American retelling his experience at the Princess Pub, the local pub in San Diego’s Little Italy.
A British Pub in an Italian neighborhood? You bet! Even stranger? They serve the BEST fish tacos! But getting back to the lesson, let’s take a look (or, as they say in England, “Have a look”) at the dialogue:
I had such a fun night last night. I went out to a bar with my friends and got pretty drunk. We ordered some french fries to soak up the booze and then we talked to some really nice guys and girls. I was really tired, so I went home and passed out at about 1 am.
Now, look at the same story, told by someone from England:
I had a great night last night. I went out to a pub with my mates and got mullered. We ordered some chips to soak up the liquor and then we chatted up some nice blokes and birds. I was really knackered, so I went home and kipped out at about 1 am.
What a difference! Take a look at the different vocabulary in these sentences . . .
American = British
bar = pub
friends = mates
drunk = mullered
fries = chips
guys = blokes
girls = birds
tired = knackered
fell asleep = kipped out
The differences are astounding!
In addition to there being differences between the vocabulary and slang of British and American English, it is important to keep in mind that there are many dialects of the two as well. Someone from London will speak very differently than someone from another part of the country, just as someone from California will speak very differently than someone from Texas. The fun is in speaking with people from all over the world and learning the details of their English dialect!