North American English

Jump to navigation Jump to search
North American English
RegionNorthern America (United States, Canada)
Early forms
DialectsAmerican English, Canadian English and their subdivisions
Latin (English alphabet)
Unified English Braille[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3
IETFen-021

North American English (NAmE, NAE) is the most generalized variety of the English language as spoken in the United States and Canada.[2] Because of their related histories and cultures,[3] plus the similarities between the pronunciation (accent), vocabulary, and grammar of American English and Canadian English, the two spoken varieties are often grouped together under a single category.[4][5] Canadians are generally tolerant of both British and American spellings, with British spellings being favored in more formal settings and in Canadian print media.[6]

The United Empire Loyalists who fled the American Revolution (1775–1783) have had a large influence on Canadian English from its early roots.[7] Some terms in North American English are used almost exclusively in Canada and the United States (for example, the terms diaper and gasoline are widely used instead of nappy and petrol). Although many English speakers from outside North America regard such terms as distinct Americanisms, they are often just as common in Canada, mainly due to the effects of heavy cross-border trade and cultural penetration by the American mass media.[8] The list of divergent words becomes longer if considering regional Canadian dialects, especially as spoken in the Atlantic provinces and parts of Vancouver Island where significant pockets of British culture still remain.

There are a considerable number of different accents within the regions of both the United States and Canada, originally deriving from the accents prevalent in different English, Scottish and Irish regions of the British Isles and corresponding to settlement patterns of these peoples in the colonies. These were developed and built upon as new waves of immigration, and migration across the North American continent, brought new accents and dialects to new areas, and as these ways of speaking merged and assimilated with the population. It is claimed that despite the centuries of linguistic changes there is still a resemblance between the English East Anglia accents which would have been used by early English settlers in New England (including the Pilgrims), and modern Northeastern United States accents.[clarification needed][9] Similarly, the accents of Newfoundland have some similarities to the accents of Scotland and Ireland.

Dialects[edit]

American English[edit]

Ethnic American English

Regional American English

Canadian English[edit]

Table of accents[edit]

Below, thirteen major North American English accents are defined by particular characteristics:

Accent name Most populous urban center Strong /aʊ/ fronting Strong /oʊ/ fronting Strong /u/ fronting Strong /ɑr/ fronting Cot–caught merger Pin–pen merger /æ/ raising system Other defining criteria[11]
African-American Variable No No No Mixed Yes[12] pre-nasal Southern drawl / African-American Vowel Shift / Variable non-rhoticity
Atlantic Canadian Halifax Variable No Yes Yes Yes No various Canadian raising
General American No No No No Mixed No pre-nasal
Inland Northern U.S. Chicago No No No Yes No No general Northern Cities Vowel Shift
Mid-Atlantic U.S. Philadelphia Yes Yes Yes No No No split
Midland U.S. Indianapolis Yes Yes Yes No Mixed Mixed pre-nasal
New York City New York City Yes No No[13] No No No split Variable non-rhoticity
North-Central (Upper Midwestern) U.S. Minneapolis No No No Yes Yes No pre-nasal & pre-velar
Northern New England Boston No No No Yes Yes No pre-nasal
Southern U.S. San Antonio Yes Yes Yes No Mixed Yes pre-nasal Southern drawl / Southern Vowel Shift
Standard Canadian Toronto No No Yes No Yes No pre-nasal & pre-velar Canadian raising / Canadian Vowel Shift
Western U.S. Los Angeles No No Yes No Yes No pre-nasal
Western Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Yes Yes Yes No Yes Mixed pre-nasal /aʊ/ glide weakening


Phonology[edit]

A majority of North American English (for example, in contrast to British English) includes phonological features that concern consonants, such as rhoticity (full pronunciation of all /r/ sounds), conditioned T-glottalization (with satin pronounced [ˈsæʔn̩], not [ˈsætn̩]), T- and D-flapping (with metal and medal pronounced the same, as [ˈmɛɾɫ̩]), L-velarization (with filling pronounced [ˈfɪɫɪŋ], not [ˈfɪlɪŋ]), as well as features that concern vowel sounds, such as various vowel mergers before /r/ (so that, Mary, marry, and merry are all commonly pronounced the same), raising of pre-voiceless /aɪ/ (with price and bright using a higher vowel sound than prize and bride), the weak vowel merger (with affected and effected often pronounced the same), at least one of the LOT vowel mergers (the LOTPALM merger is completed among virtually all Americans and the LOTTHOUGHT merger among nearly half, while both are completed among virtually all Canadians), and yod-dropping (with new pronounced /nu/, not /nju/). The last item is more advanced in American English than Canadian English.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Unified English Braille (UEB)". Braille Authority of North America (BANA). 2 November 2016. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  2. ^ Glossary of Grammatical and Rhetorical Terms
  3. ^ Chambers, J.K. (1998). "Canadian English: 250 Years in the Making". The Canadian Oxford Dictionary (2nd ed.). p. xi.
  4. ^ Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006)
  5. ^ Trudgill, Peter & Jean Hannah. (2002). International English: A Guide to the Varieties of Standard English, 4th. London: Arnold. ISBN 0-340-80834-9 .
  6. ^ Patti Tasko. (2004). The Canadian Press Stylebook: A Guide for Writers and Editors, 13th. Toronto: The Canadian Press. ISBN 0-920009-32-8, p. 308.
  7. ^ M.H. Scargill. (1957). "Sources of Canadian English", The Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 56.4, pp. 610-614.
  8. ^ John Woitkowitz (2012). "Arctic Sovereignty and the Cold War: Asymmetry, Interdependence, and Ambiguity". Retrieved 2012-03-13.
  9. ^ Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America, David Hackett Fischer, 1989.
  10. ^ Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006:148)
  11. ^ Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006:146)
  12. ^ Labov (1972), p. 19.
  13. ^ Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006:101, 103)

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]