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Linguistic status of American English.
VI. Interjection phraseological units.
V. Preposition phraseological units.
IV. Adverb phraseological units.
They can have different structures:
N + N - tooth and nail ‘изо всех сил’
Prep + N - by heart, against the grain ‘против шерсти’
Adv + prp + N - once in a blue moon
Prep + N + or + N - by hook or by crook
Conj + clause - before one can say Jack Robinson
Prep + N + prep in the course of; on the stroke of
Catch me! ‘ни за что!’
Well, I never! ‘Вот уже не ожидал!’
They are often structured as imperative sentences: God bless me! Take your time! Hang it all!
In I.V. Arnold’s classification there are also sentence equivalents: proverbs, sayings and quotations: The sky is the limit ‘Нет предела!; What makes him tick ‘То, что является стимулом для него’; I am easy ‘Мне все равно’.
Proverbs are usually metaphorical, e.g. Too many cooks spoil the broth ‘У семи нянек дитя без глазу’.
Sayings are as a rule, are non–metaphorical, e.g. Where there is a will, there is a way ‘Кто хочет, тот добьется’.
1. Linguistic status of American English.
2. Vocabulary of American English.
3. The grammar system of American English.
For historical and economic reasons the English language has spread over vast territories. It is the national language of England proper, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and some provinces of Canada. It is the state language in the Wales, Scotland, in Gibraltar and on the island of Malta. The English language was also at different times enforced as a state language on the people who fell under British rule or USA domination in Asia, Africa, Central and South America. After World War II as a result of the national liberation movement throughout Asia and Africa many former colonies have gained independence and in some of them English as the state language has been or is being replaced by the national language of the people inhabiting these countries (by Hindi in India, Urdu in Pakistan, Burmanese in Burma, etc.) though by tradition it retains there the position of an important means of communication.
It is but natural that English is not spoken with uniformity on the British Isles and in Australia, in the USA and New Zealand, etc. These varieties are essentially different in character. Only two have their own literary standards, i.e. their own generally accepted norms of speaking and writing – British English and American English.
Opinions differ as to the nature of these two main varieties of English. Some American linguists, H.L. Mencken for one, speak of two separate languages. They even claim that the American influence on British English is so powerful that there will come a time when the American standard will be established in Britain.
Yet, there are also other points of view. There are scholars who regard American English as one of the dialects of the English language. This theory can hardly be accepted because a dialect is usually opposed to the literary variety of the language whereas American English possesses a literary variety of its own.
Other scholars label American English a “regional variety” of the English language.
A language is supposed to possess a vocabulary and a grammar system of its own. Let us see if American English has them.
2. Vocabulary of American English.
There exist lexical differences between the British and American vocabulary. There are whole groups of words which belong to American vocabulary exclusively and constitute its specific feature. These words are called Americanisms.
1) The first group of such words is historical Americanisms. The English language was brought to the American continent at the beginning of the 17th century as a result of the expansion of British colonialism. Quite a number of words that were once in current usage in England have survived in America after becoming obsolete at home. Such are the words to loan ‘to lend’, fall as ‘autumn’, guess as ‘think’ or ‘suppose’, homely as ‘ugly, crude’, sick ‘ill, unwell’. These words are used by the Americans and the English in different meanings, but nevertheless they are found both in American and in British vocabulary.
2) The second group of Americanisms includes specifically American words, not found in British vocabulary, they are: