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The Beginnings of American English
Terms in this set (12)
What are the points of the linguistic entry? Why were they significant?
Early Settlements (Boston, Bay Colony, New London, New Amsterdam, Jamestown, Charlestown, New Orleans, etc.)
Why is it absurd to say something like "original English?"
English has so many influences from other languages (German, Dutch, Spanish, French, Native American languages, etc)
Describe the "a" sound
American: Short "a", found in "ash," a mid-front vowel
British: "ah" sounds, like "father"
Describe the "R" sound
American: the vowel preceding the "r" is unstable (Ex: University vs. varsity; Berkley vs. Barkley)
R's at the end of the words are not dropped in American English
(Ex: "fath-er vs. Fath-ah)
Describe the short "o" sound
British English: rounded "O"
American English: unrounded "O"
How did American English "recreate a second-personal plural form"?
You became "y'all" and your became "youse" in some dialects
How do collective nouns differ in British and American English?
Singular in American and plural in British
Ex: The family is preparing dinner together (American).
The family are preparing dinner together (British).
What old forms does American English preserve?
Strong verbs (changes the vowel to indicate tense. Ex: slid -> slud)
What are some early characteristics of American English (according to early British observers)?
New vocabulary (canoe, maize, etc)
New expressions ("right away" which means "soon" or "promptly")
Preference of certain verbs ("admire")
New definitions ("to fix" = prepare)
Why would John Witherspoon fit in with the grammar police of today?
He argued that schools should teach grammar and style more, because he believed these differences
What did John Witherspoon report about dialect and social mobility?
American poor speak better than British poor because they move around more and didn't pick up local phrases. He believed that language differences between classes and regions were "improper" and "vulgar."
Explain the significance of Noah Webster.
He wrote the Webster Dictionary. He believed that Americans should have their own dialects because it asserted independence from Great Britain.
He also believed that words are applied differently in America than they are in Great Britain, so they should have their own unique definitions.
Ex: "Congress" and "senate" are used differently in America vs. Great Britain.
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