Lexicology of the English Language

: 28/38

There are some differences between British and American English in the usage of prepositions, such as prepositions with dates, days of the week BE requres on / I start my holiday on Friday/, in American English there is no preposition / I start my vacation Friday/. In Be we use by day, by night/at night, in AE the corresponding forms are days and nights. In BE we say at home , in AE - home is used. In BE we say a quarter to five, in AE a quarter of five. In BE we say in the street, in AE - on the street. In BE we say to chat to somebody, in AE to chat with somebody. In BE we say different to something, in AE - different from someting.

There are also units of vocabulary which are different while denoting the same notions, e.g. BE - trousers, AE -pants; in BE pants are which in AE is shorts. While in BE shorts are outwear. This can lead to misunderstanding. There are some differences in names of places:


passage hall cross-roads intersection

pillar box mail-box the cinema the movies

studio, bed-sitter one-room appartment

flyover overpass zebra crossing Pxing

pavement sidewalk tube, uderground subway

tram streetcar flat apartment

surgery doctors office lift elevator

Some names of useful objects:


biro ballpoint rubber eraser

tap faucet torch flashlight

parcel package elastic rubber band

carrier bag shopping bag reel of cotton spool of thread

Some words connected with food:


tin can sweets candy

sweet biscuit cookie dry biscuit crackers

sweet dessert chips french fries

minced meat ground beef

Some words denoting personal items:


fringe bangs/of hair/ turn- ups cuffs

tights pantyhose mackintosh raincoat

ladder run/in a stocking/ braces suspenders

poloneck turtleneck waistcoat vest

Some words denoting people:


barrister, lawyer, staff /university/ faculty

post-graduate graduate chap, fellow guy

caretaker janitor constable patrolman

shopassistant shopperson bobby cop

If we speak about cars there are also some differences:


boot trunk bumpers fenders

a car, an auto, to hire a car to rent a car

Differences in the organization of education lead to different terms. BE public school is in fact a private school. It is a fee-paying school not controlled by the local education authorities. AE public school is a free local authority school. BE elementary school is AE grade school BE secondary school is AE high school. In BE a pupil leaves a secondary school, in AE a student graduates from a high school In BE you can graduate from a university or college of education, graduating entails getting a degree.

A British university student takes three years known as the first, the second and the third years. An American student takes four years, known as freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years. While studying a British student takes a main and subsidiary subjects. An American student majors in a subject and also takes electives. A British student specializes in one main subject, with one subsidiary to get his honours degree. An American student earns credits for successfully completing a number of courses in studies, and has to reach the total of 36 credits to receive a degree.

Differences of spelling.

The reform in the English spelling for American English was introduced by the famous American lexicographer Noah Webster who published his first dictionary in 1806. Those of his proposals which were adopted in the English spelling are as follows:

a) the delition of the letter u in words ending in our, e.g. honor, favor;

b) the delition of the second consonant in words with double consonants, e.g. traveler, wagon,

c) the replacement of re by er in words of French origin, e.g. theater, center,

d) the delition of unpronounced endings in words of Romanic origin, e.g.

: 21/06/2009