- English has a large number of native speakers.
- About 500 million native speakers and 900 million non-native speakers in the world.
- Only Mandarin Chinese and Spanish have more native speakers.
- Below is the order of country with largest total number of English speakers.
- The number in parentheses is the percentage of English speakers versus other languages in the country.
- USA (96%)
- India (12%)
- Nigeria (53%)
- UK (98%)
- Philippines (58%)
- Canada (85%)
- Australia (92%)
- The /r/ sound. Are there more birds? BrE. /ɑː(ɹ) ðɛə(ɹ) mɔː(ɹ) bədz/ vs. AmE. /ɑɹ ðɛɹ mɔɹ bərdz/
- The /r/ sound isn’t heard. Are there any birds? Between “there” and “any” an /r/ is heard /ðɛərˈɛni/
- Daughter /ˈdɔːtə/ , brother /ˈbɹʌð’ə/ , shopper /ˈʃɒp’ə/, hot dog /hɒt dɒɡ/, talk /tɔːk/, law /lɔː/
- Do you talk froth or are hot dogs against the law?
- short vowels with a tight consonant ending: keep /kiːp/, pip , put /pʊt/, pet, pat /pæt/, putt /pʌt/, pot /pɒt/.
How to do an American Accent:
- r are there more birds. Every r gets pronounced.
- cot sound the same as caught /kɔt/ and rhymes with got in American English. He got caught by the long arm of the law.
- t and d. butter AmE /ˈbədər/ BrE. /bə’tə/, letter master, witty banter about the star spangled banner. Banter = banner (in rapid speech).
- metal sound the same as medal /ˈmɛdl/ the medal for bravery was made of metal.
Differences between American and British English:
- The American accent is more rounded and nasal sounding.
- cot, dog, got, gone, off, and stop sound longer in American English /:a/ vs British /o/.
- /a/ is different in fast AmE. /fæst/ vs. BrE. /fɑːst/ and after AmE. /’æftər/ vs. BrE. /ˈa:ftə/ .
- Most Brits pronounce the /r/ before a vowel, not in car, turn, or offer
- AmE, writer sounds the same as rider /ˈraɪdər/. BrE the /t/ and /d/ are distinct.
- BrE has a /ju/ sound in the ‘u’ for duty, tune, new, illuminate, and enthusiastic
- AmE fertile is /fərdl/ and missile /ˈmɪsəl/ in BrE the second syllable is long and stressed / fˈərt’aɪl/ and / mis’aɪl /
Be careful how you use the language when you travel.
British phrases or words that may use that confuse Americans:
- brilliant - BrE – great or fantastic in BrE . AmE – bright or intelligent.
- smart - BrE – attractive or well-dressed. AmE – intelligent
- cheers - BrE – thanks and for toasting. AmE – only for toasting a drink
- fag - BrE – a cigarette. AmE – Vulgar and offensive word for homosexual
- homely - BrE – cozy, AmE – ugly
- pot plant - BrE- a pant in a pot or potted plant to Americans. AmE – a marijuana plant
- rubber - BrE – a pencil eraser. AmE – a condom
- wash up - BrE – to clean the dishes. AmE – to wash face and hands to feel more refreshed.
- garden - BrE – what Americans call yard, the planted area around your home. AmE – where food or flowers are grown.
- pissed - BrE – to be drunk. AmE – vulgar slang to be angry.
- tick off - BrE – to check something off a list. AmE – to make someone angry.
- pants - AmE – trousers, jeans, or slacks. BrE – underwear
- bugger - AmE – something that bothers you, not vulgar. BrE – vulgar, sodomite
- bummer - AmE – slang, disappointment. BrE – vulgar term for homosexual.
- fanny pack - AmE – a bag you wear around your waste. Brits call it a bum bag. BrE – vulgar, fanny is an intimate part of a woman’s body. It AmE it’s not vulgar and means your behind or butt.
- shagging flies - AmE – to catch fly balls (balls that go really high) in baseball. BrE – shagging is slang to have sex.
About Football vs. Soccer: Why do Americans call football soccer and why do Americans call their sport football when they mostly use their hands?
Answer: Football originated in England and developed as a sport there. Rugby football formed from the older form of English football at the Rugby School in the UK. Rugby is a direct descendent of English football where you can use your hands and tackle (to bring someone to the ground with force). In Aussie Rules and American Football you can also use your hands and tackle, which comes directly from rugby. So Americans call American football “football” because of it’s origins from Rugby football. The American use of “soccer” comes from the “soc” in “association football,” which is what football is sometimes still called in the UK.
How to be sure you’re using it correctly.
1. If you’re speaking to, or are, a N. American:
You can use “football” when referring to the American sport. Use “soccer” instead of “football” for the English sport.
2. If you’re speaking to, or are, someone from a place other than N. American. Use simply “football” or “soccer” for the English game. Most people in the world prefer “football,” most in the English-speaking world are very familiar with the term “soccer.”
3. Or simply use “English football” and “American football” to be perfectly to clear to most anyone anywhere in the world.
Also keep in mind that generally a football match is the English game, and a football game is the American. A “football pitch” is where the English game is played and a “football field” is where the American game is played.
For Fun, American vs. British Slang.
Learners keep in mind that this is difficult for even native speakers and they are trying to confuse each other with the slang. The point is that even native speakers don’t always understand each other so mutual respect and sensitivity to others is necessary when communicating across cultures.