American English

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American English
RegionUnited States
Native speakers
225 million, all varieties of English in the United States (2010 census)[1]
25.6 million L2 speakers of English in the United States (2003)
Early forms
Latin (English alphabet)
Unified English Braille[2]
Official status
Official language in
United States
(32 US states, 5 non-state US territories) (see article)
Language codes
ISO 639-3
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American English or US English is the dialect of the English language spoken in the United States of America. It is different in some ways from other types of English, such as British English. Most types of American English came from local dialects in England.

Use[change | change source]

Many people today know about American English even if they live in a country where another type of English is spoken. This may be because people hear and read American English through the media, for example movies, television, and the Internet, where the most common form of English is American English.

Because people all over the world use the English language, it gets many new words. English has been changing in this way for hundreds of years. For example, the many millions who speak Indian English frequently add American English words to go along with its British English base and many other words from the various Indian languages.

Sometimes people learn American English as it is spoken in the US. For example, in telephone call centers in India and other places, people often learn American English to sound more like their customers who call from the US. These people often keep using American English in everyday life.

Spelling[change | change source]

There are many words that sound the same in both American and British English but have different spellings. British English often keeps more traditional ways of spelling words than American English.

Vocabulary[change | change source]

There are also some words in American English that are a bit different from British English, e.g.:

  • aeroplane is called "airplane"
  • ladybird is called "ladybug"
  • lift is called "elevator"
  • toilet is called "bathroom", "restroom" or "comfort station"
  • lorry is called "truck"
  • nappies are called "diapers"
  • petrol is called "gas" (or "gasoline")
  • the boot of a car is called a "trunk"
  • a dummy is called a "pacifier"
  • trousers are called "pants"
  • underground is called "subway"
  • football is called "soccer"
  • braces are "suspenders" ("suspenders" in British-English are a type of clothing worn around the lower leg by males to stop socks/sox from sagging, and around the upper leg by women wearing stockings)

Regional accents[change | change source]

General American English is the kind most spoken in mass media. It more vigorously pronounces the letter "R" than some other kinds do. "R-dropping" is frequent in certain places where "r" sound is not pronounced after a vowel. For example as in the words "car" and "card" sounding like "cah" and "cahd". This occurs in the Boston area.

  1. English (United States) at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. "Unified English Braille (UEB)". Braille Authority of North America (BANA). 2 November 2016. Retrieved 2 January 2017.
  3. "English"; IANA language subtag registry; named as: en; publication date: 16 October 2005; retrieved: 11 January 2019.
  4. "United States"; IANA language subtag registry; named as: US; publication date: 16 October 2005; retrieved: 11 January 2019.