This is an overview of British vs American English from the perspective of Marina Mogilko, who was born and raised in Russia and has spent 25 years of her life in Russia. Just recently she moved to the United States where she is still working on her American accent.
Marina says she started being able to discern different accents once she reached advanced level. Before that it was difficult for her to tell American and British accents apart. If you have reached an intermediate level of English, don’t worry about noticing accents, she advises. That’s fine because you will get better at differentiating between accents as your English improves.
So what are the differences between the two accents? To demonstrate, Marina uses an artistic approach by splitting into two people – a British and an American one.
The main difference, according to Marina, is the way Americans pronounce the T-sound. Marina cites the words “tomato” and “potato” as examples.
Americans love the sound “R”, while British people tend to “swallow” it or completely omit it. She then pronounces words such as “leisure,” “measure,” and “clever,” in British and American accents to help viewers notice the difference.
Different words – same meaning
Some words are completely different in British and American English but they mean the same. For example, the British use the word “toilet,” while Americans use the word “bathroom.” Americans would say “first floor,” while the British would say “ground floor.”
Language is informed by culture and culture-wise, Britain and the United States are very different. For instance, British people tend to write longer, more formal emails, while American emails are shorter and more informal.
Watch the video to hear more examples of differences in American and British pronunciation, accompanied by interesting stories from Marina’s personal life.