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Lexical Differences of Territorial Variants.

When speaking about the territorial differences of the English language philologists and lexicographers usually note the fact that different variants of English use different words for the same objects. Thus in describing the lexical differences between the British and American variants they provide long lists of word pairs like



Flat apartment

Underground subway

Lorry truck

Pavement sidewalk

Post mail

Tin-opener can-opener

Government administration

Leader editorial

Teaching staff faculty


One of the best known Southern dialects is Cockney, the regional dialect of London.

The contribution of the Scottish dialect is very considerable.

A great deal in this process is due to Robert Burns who wrote his poems in Scottish English< and to Walter Scott who introduces many Scottish words into his novels.

Local dialects are varieties of the English language peculiar to some districts and having no normalized literary form. Regional varieties possessing a literary form are called variants. In Great Britain there are two variants, Scottish English and Irish English, and five main groups of dialects: Northern, Midland, Western and Southern.. Every group contains several dialects.

According to E.Patridge and H.C.Wylde Cockney exists on two levels. As spoken by the educated lower middle classes it is a regional dialect marked by some deviations in pronunciation but few in vocabulary and syntax.. As spoken by the uneducated, Cockney differs from Standard English not only in pronunciation but also in vocabulary, morphology and syntax.

The differences in pronunciation between American dialects are most apparent, but they seldom interfere with understanding. Distinctions in grammar scarce. The differences in vocabulary are rather numerous, but they are easy to pick up. Cf., e.g. Eastern New England sourmilk cheese, Inland Northern Dutch cheese, New York City pot cheese for Standard American cottage cheese (творог).

It is necessary to mention that American English is based on the language imported to the new continent at the time of the first settlements, that is on the English of the 17th century. The first colonies were founded in 1607, so that the first colonizers were contemporaries of Shakespeare, Spenser and Milton. Words which have died out in Britain, or changed their meaning may survive in the USA. Thus, I guess was used by Chaucer for I think.


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