The Info List - American English

American English
American English
(AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US),[3] sometimes called United States
United States
English or U.S. English,[4][5] is the set of dialects of the English language
English language
native to the United States
United States
of America.[6] English is the most widely spoken language in the United States
United States
and is the common language used by the federal government, to the extent that all laws and compulsory education are practiced in English. Though not an officially established language of the whole country, English is considered the de facto language and is given official status by 32 of the 50 state governments.[7][8] As an example, while both Spanish and English have equivalent status in the local courts of Puerto Rico, under federal law, English is the official language for any matters being referred to the United States district court
United States district court
for the territory.[9] The use of English in the United States
United States
is a result of English and British colonization of the Americas. The first wave of English-speaking settlers arrived in North America during the 17th century, followed by further migrations in the 18th and 19th centuries. Since then, American English
American English
has developed into new dialects, in some cases under the influence of West African and Native American languages, German, Dutch, Irish, Spanish, and other languages of successive waves of immigrants to the United States. Regional American English
American English
is a linguistic continuum of dialects that largely remain more similar to each other than to English dialects of other countries, including some common pronunciation and other features found nationwide.[10] Any North American English
North American English
accent perceived as free of noticeably local, ethnic, or cultural markers is popularly called "General American", a fairly uniform standard of broadcast mass media and the highly educated. Otherwise, according to Labov, with the major exception of Southern American English, regional accents throughout the country are not yielding to any standard,[11] and historical and present linguistic evidence does not support the notion of there being one single "mainstream" American accent.[12][13] On the contrary, the sound of American English
American English
continues to evolve, with some local accents disappearing, but several larger regional accents emerging.[14]


1 Varieties

1.1 Eastern New England 1.2 New York City 1.3 South 1.4 Inland North
Inland North
and North Central 1.5 Midland 1.6 West 1.7 Other varieties

2 Phonology 3 Vocabulary 4 Differences between British and American English 5 See also 6 Notes 7 References 8 Bibliography 9 Further reading 10 External links

Varieties[edit] Main articles: Regional vocabularies of American English and North American English
American English
regional phonology While written American English
American English
is largely standardized across the country, there are several recognizable variations in the spoken language, both in pronunciation and in vernacular vocabulary. The regional sounds of present-day American English
American English
are reportedly engaged in a complex phenomenon of "both convergence and divergence": some accents are homogenizing and levelling, while others are diversifying and deviating further away from one another.[15] Some regional American English
American English
has undergone "vigorous new sound changes" since the mid-nineteenth century onwards, spawning relatively recent Mid-Atlantic (centered on Philadelphia
and Baltimore), Western Pennsylvania
(centered on Pittsburgh), Inland Northern (centered on Chicago, Detroit, and the Great Lakes
Great Lakes
region), Midland (centered on Indianapolis, Columbus, and Kansas City) and Western regional accents, all of which "are now more different from each other than they were fifty or a hundred years ago". Meanwhile, distinguishing features of the Eastern New England
New England
(centered on Boston) and New York City
New York City
accents appear to be stable. "On the other hand, dialects of many smaller cities have receded in favor of the new regional patterns";[16] for example, the traditional accents of Charleston and of Cincinnati have given way to the Midland regional accent, and of St. Louis now approaches the sounds of an Inland Northern or Midland accent. At the same time, the Southern regional accent, despite the huge population it covers,[14] "is on the whole slowly receding due to cultural stigma: younger speakers everywhere in the South are shifting away from the marked features of Southern speech." Finally, the "Hoi Toider" dialect shows the paradox of receding among younger speakers in the islands of North Carolina's Outer Banks, yet strengthening in the islands of the Chesapeake Bay. In 2010, William Labov summarized the current state of regional American accents as follows:[16] Major regional dialects of American English

ENE WNE NYC MID-ATLANTIC INLAND NORTHERN WPA NORTH CENTRAL WESTERN MIDLAND SOUTHERN Texas New Mexico California Appalachia Boston Rhode Island Pacific Northwest Chesapeake & Outer Banks Maine New Orleans Upper Peninsula Philadelphia
& Baltimore

The map above shows the major regional dialects of American English (in all caps) plus smaller and more local dialects, as demarcated primarily by Labov et al.'s The Atlas of North American English,[17] as well as the related Telsur Project's regional maps. Any region may also contain speakers of a "General American" accent that resists the marked features of their region. Furthermore, this map does not account for speakers of ethnic or cultural varieties (such as African-American English, Chicano English, Cajun
English, etc.). All regional American English, unless specifically stated otherwise, can be assumed to be rhotic, with the father–bother merger, Mary–marry–merry merger, and pre-nasal "short a" tensing.[note 1]


The Western dialect, including Californian and New Mexican sub-types (with Pacific Northwest English
Pacific Northwest English
also, arguably, a sub-type), is defined by:

Cot–caught merger
Cot–caught merger
to [ɑ] ( listen) /oʊ/ is [oʊ] /uː/ is [ü~ʉ]

North Central

The North Central ("Upper Midwest") dialect, including an Upper Michigan sub-type, is defined by:

Cot–caught merger
Cot–caught merger
to [ä] ( listen)[18] /oʊ/ is [oʊ] (and may even monophthongize to [o])[18] /uː/ is [u][18]

Inland Northern

The Inland Northern ("Great Lakes") dialect, including its less advanced Western New England
New England
(WNE) sub-types, is defined by:

No cot–caught merger: the cot vowel is [ä~a] and caught vowel is [ɒ] /æ/ is universally [ɛə], the triggering event for the Northern Cities Vowel Shift in more advanced sub-types ([ɛə] ← /æ/ ← /ɑː/~/ɒ/ ← /ɔː/ ← /ʌ/ ← /ɛ/)[19] /oʊ/ is [oʊ~ʌo]


The Midland dialect is defined by:

Cot–caught merger
Cot–caught merger
is in transition[20] /aɪ/ may be [aː], often only before /l/, /m/, /n/, or /ɹ/ /aʊ/ is [æɵ~æo][21] /oʊ/ is [ɜʊ~ɵʊ]


The Western Pennsylvania
dialect, including its advanced Pittsburgh sub-type, is defined by:

Cot–caught merger
Cot–caught merger
to [ɒ~ɔ], the triggering event for the Pittsburgh
Chain Shift in the city itself ([ɒ~ɔ] ← /ɑː/ ← /ʌ/) but no trace of the Canadian Shift[22] /oʊ/ is [ɜʊ~ɞʊ][23] Full–fool–foal merger to [ʊɫ~ʊw] Specifically in Greater Pittsburgh, /aʊ/ is [aʊ~aː], particularly before /l/ and /r/, and in unstressed function words[24]


The Southern dialects, including several sub-types, are defined by:

No (or transitional) cot–caught merger: the cot vowel is [ɑ] and caught vowel is [ɑɒ] /aɪ/ is [aː] at least before /b/, /d/, /g/, /v/, or /z/, or word-finally, and potentially elsewhere, the triggering event for the Southern Shift ([aː] ← /aɪ/ ← /eɪ/ ← /iː/) "Southern drawl" may break short front vowels into gliding vowels: /æ/ → [ɛ(j)ə]; /ɛ/ → [ɪ(j)ə]; /ɪ/ → [i(j)ə][25] /aʊ/ is [æo], the triggering event for the Back Upglide Shift in more advanced sub-types ([æo] ← /aʊ/ ← /ɔː/ ← /ɔɪ/)[26] /oʊ/ is [ɜʉ~ɜʊ]


The Mid-Atlantic ("Delaware Valley") dialect, including Philadelphia and Baltimore
sub-types, is defined by:

No cot–caught merger: the cot vowel is [ä~ɑ] and caught vowel is [ɔə~ʊə]; this severe distinction is the triggering event for the Back Vowel Shift before /r/ (/ʊər/ ← /ɔːr/ ← /ɑːr/)[27] Unique Mid-Atlantic /æ/ split system: the bad vowel is [eə] and sad vowel is [æ] /oʊ/ is [ɜʊ~əʊ] /aʊ/ is [ɛɔ][21] No Mary–marry–merry merger


The New York City
New York City
dialect (with New Orleans English
New Orleans English
an intermediate sub-type between NYC and Southern) is defined by:

No cot–caught merger: the cot vowel is [ä~ɑ] and caught vowel is [ɔə~ʊə]; this severe distinction is the triggering event for the Back Vowel Shift before /r/ (/ʊər/ ← /ɔːr/ ← /ɑːr/)[28] Non-rhoticity or variable rhoticity Unique New York City
New York City
/æ/ split system: the bad vowel is [eə] and bat vowel is [æ] /oʊ/ is [oʊ~ʌʊ] •No Mary–marry–merry merger


Eastern New England
New England
dialect, including Maine and Boston
sub-types (with Rhode Island English an intermediate sub-type between ENE and NYC), is defined by:

Cot–caught merger
Cot–caught merger
to [ɒ~ɑ] (lacking only in Rhode Island) Non-rhoticity or variable rhoticity[29] /aʊ/ is [ɑʊ~äʊ][30]/oʊ/ is [oʊ~ɔʊ] •/uː/ is [u] • Commonly, beginnings of /aɪ/ and /aʊ/ in a raised position when before voiceless consonants: [əɪ~ʌɪ] and [əʊ~ʌʊ], respectively Possibly no Mary–marry–merry merger No father–bother merger (except in Rhode Island): the father vowel is [a~ä] and bother vowel is [ɒ~ɑ][31]

Below, eleven major American English
American English
accents are defined by their particular combinations of certain characteristics:

Accent name Most populous urban center Strong /aʊ/ fronting Strong /oʊ/ fronting Strong /uː/ fronting Strong /ɑːr/ fronting Cot–caught merger Pin–pen merger /æ/ raising system

African American

Mixed No No No Mixed Yes Southern


No No Mixed No Yes No none

Inland Northern Chicago No No No Yes No No general (or pre-nasal[32][33])

Mid-Atlantic States Philadelphia Yes Yes Yes No No No split

Midland Indianapolis Yes Yes Yes No Mixed Mixed pre-nasal

New York City New York City Yes No No[34] No No No split

North-Central (Upper Midwestern) Minneapolis No No No Yes Yes No pre-nasal (pre-velar)

Northern New England Boston No No No Yes Yes No pre-nasal

Southern San Antonio Yes Yes Yes No Mixed Yes Southern

Western Los Angeles No No Yes No Yes No pre-nasal

Western Pennsylvania Pittsburgh Yes Yes Yes No Yes Mixed pre-nasal

Eastern New England[edit] Main article: Eastern New England
New England
English Marked New England
New England
speech is mostly associated with eastern New England, centering on Boston
and Providence, and traditionally includes some notable degree of r-dropping (or non-rhoticity),[29] as well as the back tongue positioning of the /uː/ vowel (to [u]) and the /aʊ/ vowel (to [ɑʊ~äʊ]).[30] In and north of Boston, the /ɑːr/ sound is famously centralized or even fronted. Boston
shows a cot–caught merger, while Providence keeps the same two vowels sharply distinct. New York City[edit] Main article: New York City
New York City
English New York City
New York City
English, which prevails in a relatively small but nationally recognizable dialect region in and around New York City (including Long Island
Long Island
and northeastern New Jersey). Its features include some notable degree of non-rhoticity and a locally unique short-a vowel pronunciation split. New York City English otherwise broadly follows Northern patterns, except that the /aʊ/ vowel is fronted. The cot–caught merger is markedly resisted around New York City, as depicted in popular stereotypes like tawwk and cawwfee, with this THOUGHT vowel being typically tensed and diphthongal. South[edit] Main article: Southern American English Most older Southern speech along the Eastern seaboard was non-rhotic, though, today, almost all local Southern dialects are rhotic, defined most recognizably by the /aɪ/ vowel losing its gliding quality and approaching [aː~äː], the initiation event for the Southern Vowel Shift, which includes the "Southern drawl" that makes short front vowels into gliding vowels.[25] Inland North
Inland North
and North Central[edit] Since the mid-twentieth century, a distinctive new Northern speech pattern has developed near the Canadian border of the United States, centered on the central and eastern Great Lakes region
Great Lakes region
(but only on the American side). Linguists call this region the "Inland North", as defined by its local Northern cities vowel shift—occurring in the same region whose "standard Midwestern" speech was the basis for General American
General American
in the mid-20th century (though prior to this recent vowel shift, at least other than general /æ/ raising, which may have existed since the 19th century). The Inland North
Inland North
accent was famously sketched on the television show Saturday Night Live's "Bill Swerski's Superfans" segments. Reversal of the shift, at least of /æ/ raising before non-nasal consonants and /ɒ/ fronting, has been observed in at least some communities in which it has been studied, back towards General American
General American
values.[32][33] Many people view the "North Central" or "Upper Midwestern" accent from the stereotypical lens of the movie Fargo.[35] The North Central accent is characterized by influences from the German and Scandinavian settlers of the region (like "yah" for yes, pronounced similarly to "ja" in German, Norwegian and Swedish). In parts of Pennsylvania
and Ohio, another dialect known as Pennsylvania
Dutch English was also once spoken among the Pennsylvania Dutch community. Midland[edit] Between the traditional American dialect areas of the "North" and "South" is what linguists have long called the "Midland". This geographically overlaps with some states situated in the lower Midwest. West of the Appalachian Mountains
Appalachian Mountains
begins the broad zone of modern-day Midland speech . Its vocabulary has been divided into two discrete subdivisions, the "North Midland" that begins north of the Ohio
River valley area, and the "South Midland" speech, which to the American ear has a slight trace of the "Southern accent" (especially due to some degree of /aɪ/ glide weakening). The South Midland dialect follows the Ohio
River in a generally southwesterly direction, moves across Arkansas
and Oklahoma
west of the Mississippi, and peters out in West Texas. Modern Midland speech is transitional regarding a presence or absence of the cot–caught merger. Historically, Pennsylvania
was a home of the Midland dialect; however, this state of early English-speaking settlers has now largely split off into new dialect regions, with distinct Philadelphia
and Pittsburgh
dialects documented since the latter half of the twentieth century. West[edit] Main article: Western American English A generalized Midland speech continues westward until becoming a somewhat internally diverse Western American English
Western American English
that unites the entire western half of the country. This Western dialect is mostly unified by a firm cot–caught merger and a conservatively backed pronunciation of the long oh sound in goat, toe, show, etc., but a fronted pronunciation of the long oo sound in goose, lose, tune, etc. Western speech itself contains such advanced sub-types as Pacific Northwest English and California English, with the native-speaker English of Mexican Americans
also being a sub-type primarily of the Western dialect. The island state of Hawaii, though primarily English-speaking, is also home to a creole language known commonly as Hawaiian Pidgin, and some Hawaii
residents speak English with a Pidgin-influenced accent. Other varieties[edit] Although no longer region-specific,[36] African-American English, which remains prevalent particularly among working- and middle-class African Americans, has a close relationship to Southern dialects and has greatly influenced everyday speech of many Americans, including hip hop culture. The same aforementioned socioeconomic groups, but among Hispanic and Latino Americans, have also developed native-speaker varieties of English. The best-studied Latino Englishes are Chicano English, spoken in the West and Midwest, and New York Latino English, spoken in the New York metropolitan area. Additionally, ethnic varieties such as Yeshiva English and "Yinglish" are spoken by some American Jews, and Cajun
Vernacular English by some Cajuns in southern Louisiana. Phonology[edit] See also: General American
General American
and North American English
North American English
regional phonology Compared with English as spoken in England, North American English[37] is more homogeneous, and any North American accent that exhibits a majority of the most common phonological features is known as "General American." This section mostly refers to such widespread or mainstream pronunciation features that characterize American English. Studies on historical usage of English in both the United States
United States
and the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
suggest that spoken American English
American English
did not simply deviate away from period British English, but retained certain now-archaic features contemporary British English
British English
has since lost.[38] One of these is the rhoticity common in most American accents, because in the 17th century, when English was brought to the Americas, most English in England
was also rhotic. The preservation of rhoticity has been further supported by the influences of Hiberno-English, West Country English and Scottish English.[39] In most varieties of North American English, the sound corresponding to the letter ⟨r⟩ is a postalveolar approximant [ɹ̠] or retroflex approximant [ɻ] rather than a trill or tap (as often heard, for example, in the English accents of Scotland or India). A unique "bunched tongue" variant of the approximant r sound is also associated with the United States, and seems particularly noticeable in the Midwest and South.[40]

The red dots show every U.S. metropolitan area where over 50% non-rhotic speech has been documented among some of that area's local white speakers. Non-rhotic speech may be heard from black speakers throughout the whole country.[41]

Traditionally, the "East Coast" comprises three or four major linguistically distinct regions, each of which possesses English varieties both distinct from each other as well as quite internally diverse: New England, the New York metropolitan area, the Mid-Atlantic states (centering on Philadelphia
and Baltimore), and the Southern United States. The only traditionally r-dropping (or non-rhotic) regional accents of American English
American English
are all spoken along the Atlantic Coast and parts of the Gulf Coast (particularly still in Louisiana), because these areas were in close historical contact with England
and imitated prestigious varieties of 'r-dropping London (a feature now widespread throughout most of England) at a time when they were undergoing changes.[42]. Today, non-rhoticity is confined in the United States
United States
to the accents of eastern New England, New York City, older speakers of the former plantation South, and African-American Vernacular English (though the vowel-consonant cluster found in "bird", "work", "hurt", "learn", etc. usually retains its r pronunciation, even in these non-rhotic accents). Other than these few varieties, American accents are rhotic, pronouncing every instance of the ⟨r⟩ sound. Many British accents have evolved in other ways compared to which General American
General American
English has remained relatively more conservative, for example, regarding the typical southern British features of a trap–bath split, fronting of /oʊ/, and H-dropping, none of which typical American accents show. The innovation of /t/ glottaling, which does occur before a consonant (including a syllabic coronal nasal consonant, like in the words button or satin) and word-finally in General American, additionally occurs variably between vowels in British English. On the other hand, General American
General American
is more innovative than the dialects of England, or English elsewhere in the world, in a number of its own ways:

The merger of /ɑ/ and /ɒ/, making father and bother rhyme. This change, known as the father–bother merger is in a transitional or completed stage nearly universally in North American English. Exceptions are in northeastern New England
New England
English, such as the Boston accent, New York City
New York City
English, Philadelphia
English, Baltimore English[verification needed], and many Southern dialects, such as the Yat dialect.[clarification needed][43][44] About half of all Americans
merge of the vowels /ɑ/ and /ɔ/. This is the so-called cot–caught merger, where words like cot and caught are homophones. This change has occurred most firmly in eastern New England
( Boston
area), Greater Pittsburgh, and the whole western half of the country.[45] For speakers who do not merge caught and cot, the lot–cloth split has taken hold. This change took place prior to the unrounding of the cot. It is the result of the lengthening and raising of the cot vowel, merging with the caught vowel in many cases before voiceless fricatives (as in cloth, off), which is also found in some varieties of British English, as well as before /ŋ/ (as in strong, long), usually in gone, often in on, and irregularly before /ɡ/ (log, hog, dog, fog). The strut vowel, rather than the lot or thought vowel, is used in the function words was, of, from, what, everybody, nobody, somebody, anybody, and, for some speakers, because and want, when stressed.[46][47][48][49] Vowel mergers before intervocalic /ɹ/: The Mary–marry–merry, serious–Sirius, and hurry–furry mergers are found in most American English dialects. However, exceptions exist primarily along the east coast.

vary slightly in their pronunciations of R-colored vowels—such as those in /ɛəɹ/ and /ɪəɹ/—sometimes monophthongizing towards [ɛɹ] and [ɪɹ] or tensing towards [eɪɹ] and [i(ə)ɹ] respectively, causing pronunciations like [peɪɹ] for pair/pear and [piəɹ] for peer/pier.[50] Also, /jʊər/ is often reduced to [jɚ], so that cure, pure, and mature may all end with the sound [ɚ], thus rhyming with blur and sir. The word sure is also part of this rhyming set as it is commonly pronounced [ʃɚ].

Dropping of /j/ is much more extensive than in most of England. In most North American accents, /j/ is dropped after all alveolar and interdental consonants (i.e. everywhere except after /p/, /b/, /f/, /h/, /k/, and /m/) so that new, duke, Tuesday, presume are pronounced [nu], [duk], [ˈtuzdeɪ], [pɹɪˈzum]. /æ/ tensing in environments that vary widely from accent to accent. With most American speakers, for whom the phoneme /æ/ operates under a somewhat continuous system, /æ/ has both a tense and a lax allophone (with a kind of "continuum" of possible sounds between those two extremes, rather than a definitive split). In these accents, /æ/ is overall realized before nasal stops as more tense (approximately [eə̯]), while other environments are more lax (approximately the standard [æ]); for example, note the vowel sound in [mæs] for mass, but [meə̯n] for man). In some American accents, though, specifically those from Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City, [æ] and [eə̯] are entirely separate (or "split") phonemes, for example, in planet [pɫænɪ̈t̚] vs. plan it [pɫeənɪ̈t̚]. This is often called the Mid-Atlantic split-a system. Note that these vowels move in the opposite direction in the mouth compared to the backed British "broad A"; this phenomenon has been noted as related to the increasingly rare phenomenon of older speakers of the eastern New England
(Boston) area for whom /æ/ changes to /ɑ/ before /f/, /s/, /θ/, /ð/, /z/, /v/ alone or when preceded by a homorganic nasal.

v t e

/æ/ raising in North American English[51]

Environment Dialect

Consonant after /æ/ Syllable type Example words New York City
New York City
& New Orleans Baltimore
& Philadelphia Eastern New England General American, Midland U.S., & Western U.S. Canadian, Northwestern U.S., & Upper Midwestern U.S. Southern U.S. & African American Vernacular Great Lakes

/r/ Open

arable, arid, baron, barrel, barren, carry, carrot, chariot, charity, clarity, Gary, Harry, Larry, marionette, maritime, marry, marriage, paragon, parent, parish, parody, parrot, etc.; this feature is determined by the presence or absence of the Mary-marry-merry merger

[æ] [æ~ɛ(ə)] [ɛ(ə)]

/m/, /n/ Closed

Alexander, answer, ant, band, can (the noun), can't, clam, dance, ham, hamburger, hand, handy, man, manly, pants, plan, planning, ranch, sand, slant, tan, understand, etc.; in Philadelphia, began, ran, and swam alone remain lax

[eə] [æ~eə] [æ~ɛə] [ɛ(j)ə~eə] [eə]


amity, animal, can (the verb), Canada, ceramic, family (varies by speaker),[52], gamut, hammer, janitor, manager, manner, Montana, panel, planet, profanity, salmon, Spanish, etc.


/ɡ/ Closed

agriculture, bag, crag, drag, flag, magnet, rag, sag, tag, tagging, etc.

[eə] [æ] [æ] [æ~e] [æ~ɛ(j)ə] [eə~æ]


agate, agony, dragon, magazine, ragamuffin, etc.


/b/, /d/, /dʒ/, /ʃ/, /v/, /z/, /ʒ/ Closed

absolve, abstain, add, ash, as, bad, badge, bash, cab, cash, clad, crag, dad, drab, fad, flash, glad, grab, had, halve (varies by speaker), jazz (varies by speaker), kashmir, mad, magnet, pad, plaid, rag, raspberry, rash, sad, sag, smash, splash, tab, tadpole, trash, etc. In NYC, this environment, particularly, /v/ and /z/, has a lot of variance and many exceptions to the rules. In Philadelphia, bad, mad, and glad alone in this set become tense. Similarly, in New York City, the /dʒ/ set is often tense even in open syllables (magic, imagine, etc.)

[eə] [æ~ɛə] [æ]

/f/, /s/, /θ/ Closed

ask, bask, basket, bath, brass, casket, cast, class, craft, crass, daft, drastic, glass, grass, flask, half, last, laugh, laughter, mask, mast, math, pass, past, path, plastic, task, wrath, etc.


All other consonants

act, agony, allergy, apple, aspirin, athlete, avid, back, bat, brat, café, cafeteria, cap, cashew, cat, Catholic, chap, clap, classy, diagonal, fashion, fat, flap, flat, gap, gnat, latch, magazine, mallet, map, mastiff, match, maverick, Max, pack, pal, passive, passion, pat, patch, pattern, rabid, racket, rally, rap, rat, sack, sat, Saturn, savvy, scratch, shack, slack, slap, tackle, talent, trap, travel, wrap, etc.



Nearly all American English
American English
speakers pronounce /æŋ/ somewhere between [æŋ] and [eɪŋ], though Western speakers specifically favor [eɪŋ]. The Great Lakes
Great Lakes
dialect traditionally tenses /æ/ in all cases, but reversals of that tensing before non-nasal consonants (while often maintaining some of the other vowel shifts of the region) has been observed recently where it has been studied, in Lansing and Syracuse. The NYC, Philadelphia, and Baltimore
dialects' rule of tensing /æ/ in certain closed-syllable environments also applies to words inflectionally derived from those closed-syllable /æ/ environments that now have an open-syllable /æ/. For example, in addition to pass being tense (according to the general rule), so are its open-syllable derivatives passing and passer-by, but not passive.

Flapping of intervocalic /t/ and /d/ to alveolar tap [ɾ] before unstressed vowels (as in butter [ˈbʌɾəɹ], party [ˈpɑɹɾi]) and syllabic /l/ (bottle [ˈbɑɾəɫ]), as well as at the end of a word or morpheme before any vowel (what else [wʌˈɾɛɫs], whatever [wʌˈɾɛvəɹ]). Thus, for most speakers, pairs such as ladder/latter, metal/medal, and coating/coding are pronounced the same, except with the stressed /aɪ/ (see below). Canadian raising
Canadian raising
of /aɪ/: many speakers split the sound /aɪ/ based on its presence before either a voiceless or voiced consonant, so that in writer it is pronounced [ʌɪ] but in rider it is pronounced [äɪ] (because [t] is a voiceless consonant while [d] is voiced). This is a form of Canadian raising
Canadian raising
but, unlike more extreme forms of that process, does not affect /aʊ/. In many areas and idiolects, a distinction between what elsewhere become homophones through this process is maintained by vowel lengthening in the vowel preceding the formerly voiced consonant, e.g., [ˈɹʌɪɾɚ] for "writer" as opposed to [ˈɹäɪɾɚ] for "rider".

Many speakers in the Inland North, North Central American English, and Philadelphia
dialect areas raise /aɪ/ before voiced consonants in certain words as well, particularly [d], [g] and [n]. Hence, words like tiny, spider, cider, tiger, dinosaur, cyber-, beside, idle (but sometimes not idol), and fire may contain a raised nucleus. The use of [ʌɪ] rather than [aɪ] in such words is unpredictable from phonetic environment alone, though it may have to do with their acoustic similarity to other words that do contain [ʌɪ] before a voiceless consonant, per the traditional Canadian-raising system. Hence, some researchers have argued that there has been a phonemic split in these dialects; the distribution of the two sounds is becoming more unpredictable among younger speakers.[53]

L-velarization: England's typical distinction between a "clear L" (i.e. [l]) and a "dark L" (i.e. [ɫ] or sometimes even [ʟ]) is much less noticeable in nearly all dialects of American English; it may even be altogether absent.[54] Instead, most U.S. speakers pronounce all "L" sounds with a tendency to be "dark", meaning with some degree of velarization.[55] The only notable exceptions to this are in some Spanish-influenced U.S. English varieties (such as East Coast Latino English, which typically shows a clear "L" in syllable onsets); in New York City English, where the /l/ is clear in prevocalic positions;[56] and in older, moribund Southern speech of the U.S., where "L" is clear in an intervocalic environment between front vowels.[57] Both intervocalic /nt/ and /n/ may commonly be realized as [ɾ̃] or simply [n], making winter and winner homophones in fast or non-careful speech. The vowel /ɪ/ in unstressed syllables generally merges with /ə/ (weak-vowel merger), so effect is pronounced like affect.

Some mergers found in most varieties of both American and British English include:

Horse–hoarse merger, making the vowels /ɔ/ and /o/ before 'r' homophones, with homophonous pairs like horse/hoarse, corps/core, for/four, morning/mourning, war/wore, etc. homophones. Wine–whine merger, making pairs like wine/whine, wet/whet, Wales/whales, wear/where, etc. homophones, in most cases eliminating /ʍ/, the voiceless labiovelar fricative. Many older varieties of southern and western American English
American English
still keep these distinct, but the merger appears to be spreading.

Vocabulary[edit] Main article: American English
American English
vocabulary The process of coining new lexical items started as soon as English-speaking British-American colonists began borrowing names for unfamiliar flora, fauna, and topography from the Native American languages.[58] Examples of such names are opossum, raccoon, squash, moose (from Algonquian),[58] wigwam, and moccasin. The languages of the other colonizing nations also added to the American vocabulary; for instance, cookie, from Dutch; kindergarten from German,[59] levee from French; and rodeo from Spanish.[60][61][62][63] Landscape features are often loanwords from French or Spanish, and the word corn, used in England
to refer to wheat (or any cereal), came to denote the maize plant, the most important crop in the U.S. Most Mexican Spanish
Mexican Spanish
contributions came after the War of 1812, with the opening of the West, like ranch (now a common house style). New forms of dwelling created new terms (lot, waterfront) and types of homes like log cabin, adobe in the 18th century; apartment, shanty in the 19th century; project, condominium, townhouse, mobile home in the 20th century; and parts thereof (driveway, breezeway, backyard).[citation needed] Industry and material innovations from the 19th century onwards provide distinctive new words, phrases, and idioms through railroading (see further at rail terminology) and transportation terminology, ranging from types of roads (dirt roads, freeways) to infrastructure (parking lot, overpass, rest area), to automotive terminology often now standard in English internationally.[64] Already existing English words—such as store, shop, lumber—underwent shifts in meaning; others remained in the U.S. while changing in Britain. From the world of business and finance came new terms (merger, downsize, bottom line), from sports and gambling terminology came, specific jargon aside, common everyday American idioms, including many idioms related to baseball. The names of some American inventions remained largely confined to North America (elevator, gasoline) as did certain automotive terms (truck, trunk). New foreign loanwords came with 19th and early 20th century European immigration to the U.S.; notably, from Yiddish (chutzpah, schmooze) and German (hamburger, wiener).[65][66] A large number of English colloquialisms from various periods are American in origin; some have lost their American flavor (from OK and cool to nerd and 24/7), while others have not (have a nice day, for sure);[67][68] many are now distinctly old-fashioned (swell, groovy). Some English words now in general use, such as hijacking, disc jockey, boost, bulldoze and jazz, originated as American slang. American English
American English
has always shown a marked tendency to use nouns as verbs.[69] Examples of nouns that are now also verbs are interview, advocate, vacuum, lobby, pressure, rear-end, transition, feature, profile, spearhead, skyrocket, showcase, bad-mouth, vacation, major, and many others. Compounds coined in the U.S. are for instance foothill, landslide (in all senses), backdrop, teenager, brainstorm, bandwagon, hitchhike, smalltime, and a huge number of others. Some are euphemistic (human resources, affirmative action, correctional facility). Many compound nouns have the verb-and-preposition combination: stopover, lineup, tryout, spin-off, shootout, holdup, hideout, comeback, makeover, and many more. Some prepositional and phrasal verbs are in fact of American origin (win out, hold up, back up/off/down/out, face up to and many others).[70] Noun endings such as -ee (retiree), -ery (bakery), -ster (gangster) and -cian (beautician) are also particularly productive in the U.S.[69] Several verbs ending in -ize are of U.S. origin; for example, fetishize, prioritize, burglarize, accessorize, weatherize, etc; and so are some back-formations (locate, fine-tune, curate, donate, emote, upholster and enthuse). Among syntactical constructions that arose are outside of, headed for, meet up with, back of, etc. Americanisms formed by alteration of some existing words include notably pesky, phony, rambunctious, buddy, sundae, skeeter, sashay and kitty-corner. Adjectives that arose in the U.S. are, for example, lengthy, bossy, cute and cutesy, punk (in all senses), sticky (of the weather), through (as in "finished"), and many colloquial forms such as peppy or wacky. A number of words and meanings that originated in Middle English
Middle English
or Early Modern English
Early Modern English
and that have been in everyday use in the United States have since disappeared in most varieties of British English; some of these have cognates in Lowland Scots. Terms such as fall ("autumn"), faucet ("tap"), diaper ("nappy"), candy ("sweets"), skillet, eyeglasses, and obligate are often regarded as Americanisms. Fall for example came to denote the season in 16th century England, a contraction of Middle English
Middle English
expressions like "fall of the leaf" and "fall of the year".[71] Gotten (past participle of get) is often considered to be largely an Americanism..[72] Other words and meanings were brought back to Britain from the U.S., especially in the second half of the 20th century; these include hire ("to employ"), I guess (famously criticized by H. W. Fowler), baggage, hit (a place), and the adverbs overly and presently ("currently"). Some of these, for example, monkey wrench and wastebasket, originated in 19th century Britain. The adjectives mad meaning "angry", smart meaning "intelligent", and sick meaning "ill" are also more frequent in American (and Irish) English than British English.[73][74][75] Linguist Bert Vaux
Bert Vaux
created a survey, completed in 2003, polling English speakers across the United States
United States
about their specific everyday word choices, hoping to identify regionalisms.[76] The study found that most Americans
prefer the term sub for a long sandwich, soda (but pop in the Great Lakes region
Great Lakes region
and generic coke in the South) for a sweet and bubbly soft drink,[77] you or you guys for the plural of you (but y'all in the South), sneakers for athletic shoes (but often tennis shoes outside the Northeast), and shopping cart for a cart used for carrying supermarket goods. Differences between British and American English[edit] Main article: Comparison of American and British English American English
American English
and British English
British English
(BrE) often differ at the levels of phonology, phonetics, vocabulary, and, to a much lesser extent, grammar and orthography. The first large American dictionary, An American Dictionary of the English Language, known as Webster's Dictionary, was written by Noah Webster
Noah Webster
in 1828, codifying several of these spellings. Differences in grammar are relatively minor, and do not normally affect mutual intelligibility; these include: different use of some auxiliary verbs; formal (rather than notional) agreement with collective nouns; different preferences for the past forms of a few verbs (for example, AmE/BrE: learned/learnt, burned/burnt, snuck/sneaked, dove/dived) although the purportedly "British" forms can occasionally be seen in American English
American English
writing as well; different prepositions and adverbs in certain contexts (for example, AmE in school, BrE at school); and whether or not a definite article is used, in very few cases (AmE to the hospital, BrE to hospital; contrast, however, AmE actress Elizabeth Taylor, BrE the actress Elizabeth Taylor). Often, these differences are a matter of relative preferences rather than absolute rules; and most are not stable, since the two varieties are constantly influencing each other,[78] and American English
American English
is not a standardized set of dialects. Differences in orthography are also minor. The main differences are that American English
American English
usually uses spellings such as flavor for British flavour, fiber for fibre, defense for defence, analyze for analyse, license for licence, catalog for catalogue and traveling for travelling. Noah Webster
Noah Webster
popularized such spellings in America, but he did not invent most of them. Rather, "he chose already existing options [...] on such grounds as simplicity, analogy or etymology".[79] Other differences are due to the francophile tastes of the 19th century Victorian era
Victorian era
Britain (for example they preferred programme for program, manoeuvre for maneuver, cheque for check, etc.).[80] AmE almost always uses -ize in words like realize. BrE prefers -ise, but also uses -ize on occasion (see Oxford spelling). There are a few differences in punctuation rules. British English
British English
is more tolerant of run-on sentences, called "comma splices" in American English, and American English
American English
requires that periods and commas be placed inside closing quotation marks even in cases in which British rules would place them outside. American English
American English
also favors the double quotation mark over single.[81] AmE sometimes favors words that are morphologically more complex, whereas BrE uses clipped forms, such as AmE transportation and BrE transport or where the British form is a back-formation, such as AmE burglarize and BrE burgle (from burglar). However, while individuals usually use one or the other, both forms will be widely understood and mostly used alongside each other within the two systems. British English
British English
also differs from American English
American English
in that "schedule" can be pronounced with either [sk] or [ʃ].[82] See also[edit]

United States
United States
portal Language portal

Dictionary of American Regional English List of English words from indigenous languages of the Americas IPA chart for English Regional accents of English speakers Canadian English North American English International English Received Pronunciation Transatlantic accent American and British English
British English
spelling differences


^ Dialects are considered "rhotic" if they pronounce the r sound in all historical environments, without ever "dropping" this sound. The father–bother merger is the pronunciation of the unrounded /ɒ/ vowel variant (as in cot, lot, bother, etc.) the same as the /ɑː/ vowel (as in spa, haha, Ma), causing words like con and Kahn and like sob and Saab to sound identical, with the vowel usually realized in the back or middle of the mouth as [ɑ~ä]. Finally, most of the U.S. participates in a continuous nasal system of the "short a" vowel (in cat, trap, bath, etc.), causing /æ/ to be pronounced with the tongue raised and with a glide quality (typically sounding like [ɛə]) particularly when before a nasal consonant; thus, mad is [mæd], but man is more like [mɛən].


^ English (United States) at Ethnologue
(18th ed., 2015) ^ " Unified English Braille (UEB)". Braille Authority of North America (BANA). 2 November 2016. Retrieved 2 January 2017.  ^ en-US is the language code for U.S. English, as defined by ISO standards (see ISO 639-1 and ISO 3166-1 alpha-2) and Internet standards (see IETF language tag). ^ Plichta, Bartlomiej, and Dennis R. Preston (2005). "The /ay/s Have It: The Perception of /ay/ as a North-South Stereotype in the United States English." Acta Linguistica Hafniensia 37.1: 107-130. ^ Zentella, A. C. (1982). Spanish and English in contact in the United States: The Puerto Rican experience. Word, 33(1-2), 41. ^ Crystal, David (1997). English as a Global Language. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press. ISBN 0-521-53032-6.  ^ Crawford, James (1 February 2012). "Language Legislation in the U.S.A." languagepolicy.net. Retrieved 29 May 2013.  ^ "U.S. English Efforts Lead West Virginia to Become 32nd State to Recognize English as Official Language". us-english.org. Archived from the original on 1 April 2016. Retrieved 13 May 2016.  ^ "48 U.S. Code § 864 - Appeals, certiorari, removal of causes, etc.; use of English language
English language
LII / Legal Information Institute". Law.cornell.edu. Retrieved 2015-06-01.  ^ Kretzchmar, William A. (2004), Kortmann, Bernd; Schneider, Edgar W., eds., A Handbook of Varieties of English, Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter, p. 262-263, ISBN 9783110175325  ^ Labov, William (2010). "Chapter 1".The Politics of Language Change: Dialect Divergence in America. The University of Virginia Press. Pre-publication draft. p. 55. ^ Labov, William (2012). Dialect diversity in America: The politics of language change. University of Virginia Press. pp. 1-2. ^ Kretzchmar, William A. (2004), Kortmann, Bernd; Schneider, Edgar W., eds., A Handbook of Varieties of English, Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter, p. 262, ISBN 9783110175325  ^ a b "Do You Speak American: What Lies Ahead". PBS. Retrieved 2007-08-15.  ^ Labov, William. 2012. Dialect diversity in America: the politics of language change. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press. ^ a b Labov, William (2010). The Politics of Language Change: Dialect Divergence in America. The University of Virginia Press. Pre-publication draft. p. 53-4. ^ Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006), p. 148 ^ a b c Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006:141) ^ Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006:123–4) ^ Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006:135) ^ a b Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006:237) ^ Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006:271–2) ^ Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006:130) ^ Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006:133) ^ a b Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006:125) ^ Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006:127, 254) ^ Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006:124, 229) ^ Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006:124) ^ a b Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006:137, 141) ^ a b Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006:230) ^ Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006:231) ^ a b Wagner, S. E.; Mason, A.; Nesbitt, M.; Pevan, E.; Savage, M. (2016). "Reversal and re-organization of the Northern Cities Shift in Michigan" (PDF). University of Pennsylvania
Working Papers in Linguistics 22.2: Selected Papers from NWAV 44.  ^ a b Driscoll, Anna; Lape, Emma (2015). "Reversal of the Northern Cities Shift in Syracuse, New York". University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics. 21 (2).  ^ Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006:107) ^ Mumford, Tracy. "A crash course in the Minnesota accent".  ^ Cf. Trudgill, p.42. ^ North American English
North American English
(Trudgill, p. 2) is a collective term used for the varieties of the English language
English language
that are spoken in both the United States
United States
and Canada. ^ "What Is the Difference between Theater and Theatre?". Wisegeek.org. 2015-05-15. Retrieved 2015-06-01.  ^ "Early Mainland Residues in Southern Hiberno-English". 20. doi:10.2307/25484343. JSTOR 25484343. Retrieved 29 May 2013.  ^ A Handbook of Varieties of English, Bernd Kortmann & Edgar W. Schneider, Walter de Gruyter, 2004, p. 317. ^ Labov, p. 48. ^ Trudgill, pp. 46–47. ^ Wells, John C. (1982). Accents of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 136–37, 203–6, 234, 245–47, 339–40, 400, 419, 443, 576. ISBN 0-521-22919-7. 0-521-22919-7 (vol. 1), ISBN 0-521-24224-X (vol. 2), ISBN 0-521-24225-8 (vol. 3)  ^ Labov et al. (2006), p. 171. ^ Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006:61) ^ According to Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition. ^ "Want: meaning and definitions". Dictionary.infoplease.com. Retrieved 29 May 2013.  ^ "want. The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000". Bartleby.com. Archived from the original on 2008-01-09. Retrieved 29 May 2013.  ^ "Want – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary". M-w.com. Retrieved 29 May 2013.  ^ J. C. Wells. Accents of English. 3. Cambridge
University Press. pp. 481–482.  ^ Labov, William; Ash, Sharon; Boberg, Charles (2006). The Atlas of North American English. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. p. 182. ISBN 3-11-016746-8.  ^ Trager, George L. (1940) One Phonemic Entity Becomes Two: The Case of 'Short A' in American Speech: 3rd ed. Vol. 15: Duke UP. 256. Print. ^ Freuhwald, Josef T. (November 11, 2007). "The Spread of Raising: Opacity, lexicalization, and diffusion". University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved September 21, 2016.  ^ Grzegorz Dogil, Susanne Maria Reiterer, and Walter de Gruyter, eds. (2009). "general+american"+"velarized" Language Talent and Brain Activity: Trends in Applied Linguistics. Walter de Gruyter GmbH. p. 299. CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link) ^ Wells (1982:490) ^ Wells, John C. (April 8, 1982). Accents of English: Vowel 3: Beyond the British Isles. Cambridge
University Press. p. 515.  ^ A Handbook of Varieties of English, Bernd Kortmann & Edgar W. Schneider, Walter de Gruyter, 2004, p. 319. ^ a b Principles of English etymology: The native element - Walter William Skeat. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2015-06-01.  ^ "You Already Know Some German Words!". Retrieved 9 January 2017.  ^ ""The history of Mexican folk foodways of South Texas: Street vendors, o" by Mario Montano". Repository.upenn.edu. 1992-01-01. Retrieved 2015-06-01.  ^ What's in a Word?: Etymological Gossip about Some Interesting English Words - Robert M. Gorrell. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2015-06-01.  ^ The Pocket Gophers of the United States
United States
- Vernon Bailey. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2015-06-01.  ^ The American Language: A Preliminary Inquiry Into the Development of English ... - H. L. Mencken. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2015-06-01.  ^ A few of these are now chiefly found, or have been more productive, outside the U.S.; for example, jump, "to drive past a traffic signal"; block meaning "building", and center, "central point in a town" or "main area for a particular activity" (cf. Oxford English Dictionary). ^ "The Maven's Word of the Day: gesundheit". Random House. Retrieved 29 May 2013.  ^ Trudgill, Peter (2004). New-Dialect Formation: The Inevitability of Colonial Englishes. ^ "Definition of day noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary". Oup.com. Retrieved 29 May 2013.  ^ "Definition of sure adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary". Oup.com. Retrieved 29 May 2013.  ^ a b Trudgill, p. 69. ^ British author George Orwell
George Orwell
(in English People, 1947, cited in OED s.v. lose) criticized an alleged "American tendency" to "burden every verb with a preposition that adds nothing to its meaning (win out, lose out, face up to, etc.)". ^ Harper, Douglas. "fall". Online Etymology Dictionary.  ^ A Handbook of Varieties of English, Bernd Kortmann & Edgar W. Schneider, Walter de Gruyter, 2004, p. 115. ^ "angry". Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Archived from the original on 9 March 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2013.  ^ "intelligent". Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Archived from the original on 9 March 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2013.  ^ "Definition of ill adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary". Oald8.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com. Retrieved 29 May 2013.  ^ Vaux, Bert and Scott Golder. 2003. The Harvard Dialect Survey. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University
Harvard University
Linguistics Department. ^ Katz, Joshua (2013). "Beyond 'Soda, Pop, or Coke.' North Carolina State University. ^ Algeo, John (2006). British or American English?. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press. ISBN 0-521-37993-8. ^ Algeo, John. "The Effects of the Revolution on Language", in A Companion to the American Revolution. John Wiley & Sons, 2008. p.599 ^ Peters, Pam (2004). The Cambridge
Guide to English Usage. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press. ISBN 0-521-62181-X, pp. 34 and 511. ^ "Punctuating Around Quotation Marks" (blog). Style Guide of the American Psychological Association. 2011. Retrieved 2015-03-21.  ^ Jones, Daniel (1991). English Pronouncing Dictionary. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521425865. 


Labov, William; Sharon Ash; Charles Boberg (2006). The Atlas of North American English. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. ISBN 3-11-016746-8. 

Further reading[edit]

Bailey, Richard W. (2012). Speaking American: A History of English in the United States
United States
20th-21st century usage in different cities Bartlett, John R. (1848). Dictionary of Americanisms: A Glossary of Words and Phrases Usually Regarded As Peculiar to the United States. New York: Bartlett and Welford.  Garner, Bryan A. (2003). Garner's Modern American Usage. New York: Oxford University Press. Mencken, H. L. (1977) [1921]. The American Language: An Inquiry into the Development of English in the United States
United States
(4th ed.). New York: Knopf. 

History of American English

Bailey, Richard W. (2004). "American English: Its origins and history". In E. Finegan & J. R. Rickford (Eds.), Language in the USA: Themes for the twenty-first century (pp. 3–17). Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press. Finegan, Edward. (2006). "English in North America". In R. Hogg & D. Denison (Eds.), A history of the English language (pp. 384–419). Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.

External links[edit]

Look up American English
American English
in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia article Americanisms.

Wikiversity has learning resources about American English

Do You Speak American: PBS special Dialect Survey of the United States, by Bert Vaux
Bert Vaux
et al., Harvard University. Linguistic Atlas Projects Phonological Atlas of North America at the University of Pennsylvania Speech Accent Archive Dictionary of American Regional English Dialect maps based on pronunciation

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Languages of the United States

Languages in italics are extinct.


Dialects of American English

African-American English Appalachian English Baltimore
English Boston
English Cajun
English California English Chicano English Eastern New England
New England
English General American
General American
English High Tider English Inland Northern American English Miami English Mid-Atlantic American / Delaware Valley English Maine English Midland American English New England
New England
Englishes New Mexican Englishes New Orleans English New York City
New York City
English New York Latino English Northern American English North-Central American English Ozark English Pacific Northwest English Pennsylvania
Dutch English Philadelphia
English Puerto Rican English Southern American English Texan English Tidewater English Transatlantic English Upper Michigan English Western American English Western New England
New England
English Western Pennsylvania
English Yeshiva English

Oral Indigenous Languages



Abenaki Anishinnabemowin Arapaho Blackfoot Cheyenne Cree Fox Gros Ventre Mahican Massachusett Menominee Mi'kmaq Mohegan-Pequot Munsee Myaamia Nanticoke Narragansett Pamlico Potawatomi Powhatan Quiripi Shawnee Unami

Etchemin Loup Nawathinehena


Chamorro Hawaiian Refaluwasch Samoan Tokelauan


Arikara Caddo Wichita



Kathlamet Tsinúk Upper Chinook


Barbareño Cruzeño Obispeño Purisimeño Ventureño

Dené– Yeniseian

Ahtna Deg Xinag Dena'ina Gwich’in Hän Hupa Jicarilla Koyukon Lower Tanana Mescalero-Chiricahua Navajo Tanacross Tolowa Upper Kuskokwim Upper Tanana Western Apache

Cahto Eyak Holikachuk Kwalhioqua-Clatskanie Lipan Mattole Plains Apache Tsetsaut Tututni Upper Umpqua Wailaki


Inuit Inupiat Aleut Alutiiq Central Alaskan Yup'ik Central Siberian Yupik Chevak Cup’ik


Cayuga Cherokee Mohawk Oneida Onondaga Osage Seneca Tuscarora Wyandot

Erie Neutral Huron Nottoway Susquehannock Wenrohronon


Central Kalapuya Northern Kalapuya Yoncalla


Cochiti Pueblo San Felipe–Santo Domingo Zia–Santa Ana Pueblos Western Keres Acoma Pueblo Laguna Pueblo


Konkow Maidu Nisenan



Alabama Chickasaw Choctaw Koasati Mikasuki Muscogee





Plateau Penutian

Nez Perce Sahaptin

Klamath Molala


Central Pomo Eastern Pomo Kashaya Southeastern Pomo Southern Pomo

Northeastern Pomo Northern Pomo


Coeur d'Alene Columbia-Moses Halkomelem Klallam Lushootseed Nooksack North Straits Salish Okanagan Salish Thompson Twana

Cowlitz Lower Chehalis Quinault Tillamook Upper Chehalis


Assiniboine Crow Dakota Hidatsa Kansa Lakota Mandan Omaha–Ponca Quapaw Stoney Winnebago

Biloxi Catawba Chiwere Mitchigamea Moneton Ofo Tutelo-Saponi Woccon


Jemez Kiowa Picuris Southern Tiwa Taos Tewa

Piro Pueblo


Coast Tsimshian


Comanche Hopi Ivilyuat Kawaiisu Kitanemuk Luiseño Mono Northern Paiute O'odham Serrano Shoshoni Timbisha Tübatulabal Ute-Chemehuevi Yaqui

Cupeño Tongva




Nomlaki Patwin Wintu


Central Sierra Miwok Southern Sierra Miwok Tule-Kaweah Yokuts Valley Yokuts

Bay Miwok Buena Vista Yokuts Coast Miwok Gashowu Yokuts Kings River Yokuts Lake Miwok Northern Sierra Miwok Palewyami Plains Miwok

Yuman– Cochimí

Cocopah Havasupai–Hualapai Ipai Kumeyaay Maricopa Mojave Quechan Tiipai Yavapai



Haida Karuk Kutenai Siuslaw Washo Yuchi Zuni

Chitimacha Tonkawa

Mixed or Trade Languages

Chinook Jargon Michif

Mohawk Dutch

Manual Indigenous languages

Hand Talk

Anishinaabe Sign Language Blackfoot Sign Language Cheyenne Sign Language Cree Sign Language Navajo Sign Language

Plateau Sign Language


Hawai'i Sign Language Inuk Sign Language Keresan Pueblo Navajo Family Sign Language

Oral settler languages



Cajun Colonial

Métis Missouri Muskrat New England


Dutch Hutterite Plautdietsch Bernese Alsatian Texas


Caló (Chicano) New Mexican Puerto Rican Isleño

Manual settler languages


American Sign Language Black American Sign Language Pro-Tactile American Sign Language Puerto Rican Sign Language


Samoan Sign Language


Martha's Vineyard Sign Language


Sandy River Valley Sign Language Henniker Sign Language

Immigrant languages (number of speakers in 2010 in millions)

Spanish (37) Varieties of Chinese (3) French (2) Tagalog (1.6) Vietnamese (1.4) German (1.1) Korean (1.1) Arabic (0.9) Russian (0.9) Italian (0.7) Portuguese (0.7) Polish (0.6) Hindi (0.6) Persian (0.4) Urdu (0.4) Gujarati (0.4) Japanese (0.4) Greek (0.3) Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian language in the United States
United States
(0.3) Armenian (0.2) Khmer (0.2) Hmong (0.2) Hebrew (0.2) Laotian (0.2) Yiddish (0.2)

Authority control

GND: 4094804-3 BNF: cb126474421 (data) N