S. K. Thomas says: "We have a lot of materials to analyze and to study the variations of American and British English, such as the linguistic map of the U. S. A. and Canada." (Thomas, 1936) As there are 50 states in

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Scientific Interest to American English

Scientific Interest to American English

Odlar Yurdu University

Mamedzade Sevinj


The history of American English goes back to the early XIX century. Later, different scientists started to research on American English as one of the variation of British English. The interest to American English encouraged them to the formation of American dialect society. In 1889 the magazine named “Dialect notes” started to be published in this society. In 1919 H.L. Mencken published the book “American language” of 500 pages. Many variations in this book formed a lot of interest to this language. Some years later American English became the most important field of linguistics and different books began to be published about American English. From this time different conflicts according to this dialect started to rise in linguistics. The term “Americanism” was firstly used by the president of Princeton University John Witherspoon. He said: “The history of Americanism is the same as the formation of Scott language. If one Scott knows that he isn’t an Englishman and understands that his language is Scott language, does not accept the English language rules, so I have to say that Americanism is not an English language.” (J. Witherspoon, “The beginning of American English”, 1937)

The first dictionary of Americanisms was published in 1816 under the direction of John Fikkert and was named “The dictionary of words and word combinations which are mostly used in the United States.”

S.K. Thomas says: “We have a lot of materials to analyze and to study the variations of American and British English, such as the linguistic map of the U.S.A. and Canada.” (Thomas, 1936) As there are 50 states in the U.S.A. – each of them has its own accent and pronunciation style.

There are three main American dialects: New England (Eastern part), Southern dialect and common (General) American dialect. Because the variety of American English is based on the words from these dialects it is true that these dialects are differing grammatically, phonetically and lexically from one another. (S. Mamedzade “American Variety of English Language”, Canada, 2015)

In order to differentiate the scientific characteristics of various dialects, first of all we have to get information about the roots of the people who lived here. There are a lot of Indian, African, Chinese words in American English. For example, “bob”, “bobbery” (noise, disturbance), “poto-poto” (mud), “uh-huh” (yes) and so on. African slaves who worked in American plantations spread Pidgin language (the mixture of Chinese and English). The Africans were not the only people who spoke in Pidgin English. Indians also influenced a lot to English Language as the first settlers to the United States.

In the XIX century the disputes on Americanisms were not the policy of pureness of American people. They were just the disputes between the people who spoke pure Standard English and the people who spoke American English. They just tried to show the differences between these two variations.

In 1813 N. Webster published the dictionary called “An American dictionary of English language”. With this dictionary Webster tried to prove that the language which is spoken in America is the own product of independent America with all its characteristic features. He hoped that in the “New World” there will be created new society and new science and after the relation between these fields the new language will be created and that language will be the Modern American Language. To prove his ideas Webster gave examples in his dictionary as “senate”, “congress”, “court”, “assembly” and so on. These words are used in the U.S.A. and in England. But they are understood differently in both of the countries. (N. Webster, “Dissertation on the English Language”, 1895)

Recently, the variation difference between American and British English is decreasing. Because, the American words are slightly transferring to British dictionaries and their number is increasing rapidly. But, we have to point out that the struggle between these two variations will continue for a long time.

In the XIX century linguists in Great Britain were against to the terms “to advocate”, “to placate”, “to antagonize”. There are some words that their American roots had been forgotten and they mixed with English words. Now, it is impossible to say to which variation they belong to. Ernest Weekly says: “There are so many words in linguistics that it is difficult to find their roots. We can’t say that how many words have been transferred to English dictionary from American language. But, I think that their number will increase within 50 or 100 years. English language will accept a lot of terms from different fields.” (E. Weekly, “Old and new English”, 1986)

While differentiating these two variations we can meet a question: “Is English or English in America more conservative?” To our mind the language is the same, but people change the elements of language during their speech and create different varieties. It depends on character of the person who uses the words. The main purpose is not to spoil the standard form of pure English language. (S. Mamedzade “Social and Regional Variations of English Language”, U.S.A, 2015)


  1. J. Witherspoon, “The beginning of American English”, 1937

  2. Thomas S. K. “American Speech”, 1936

  3. S. Mamedzade “American Variety of English Language”, International Journal of English Language, Canada, 2015

  4. S. Mamedzade “Social and Regional Variations of English Language”, Global Journal of Human-Social Science, U.S.A, 2015

  5. N. Webster, “Dissertation on the English Language”, 1895

  6. E. Weekly, “Old and new English”, 1986

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