Jul 22

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Do YOU speak American?

Why is American not a separate language? Or should we view it as one? How did it come to be so different, and how did it not come to be more different?

Find it out in the BBC article here.

Before you start, here is a quick quiz to test your (American) English:)


1. “There are a number of words that the English have left in the dustbin but Americans have kept using”… Here are some examples well worth to remember. See if you you know what they all mean.

JUNK                TRASH           HOG        BUG

2. How would you alter the following sentence to make it sound more American? The words in red may give you a hint…

I have got more motivated to learn English since I discovered a great website last autumn.


3. American English had influences from a number of other languages. Below you will see a list of words that were given by Spanish, Dutch, German, French and the indigenous cultures. Guess which word was brought by which language into American English.

prairie                      tornado                                   boss

squash                   canyon                nix                              raccoon

bureau                   coyote                     sauerkraut                   pecan


4. Also, “there are quite a few words of American invention that have been adopted into British English”. Guess which words are meant by the following definitions:

(1) a mixture of two or more (usually alcoholic) drinks

(2) a canteen (with food-serving counters and little or no waiting staff table service)



1. JUNK: dangerous drug/heroine     TRASH: rubbish           HOG: pig (kept for its meat)          BUG:  an insect / also a small, hidden device to record people’s conversation

2.   I have gotten more motivated to learn English since I discovered a great website last fall.

3. Spanish: canyon, coyote, tornado; French prairie, bureau; Dutch boss; German sauerkraut, nix; indigenous cultures: raccoon, pecan, squash

4.(1): cocktail    (2): cafeteria

See also: http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20150715-why-isnt-american-a-language


Image courtesy of sippakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.euenglish.hu/2015/07/do-you-speak-american/

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