One common question students ask about is, “What are the differences between American and British English?”
Well, this is a huge topic!
There are vocabulary, grammar, slang, and pronunciation differences that can’t possibly be stuffed into one blog post. Also, memorizing a long list is no fun for anyone!
Students who study English in the USA can usually pick out when they hear British English because it ‘sounds different’.
I think this is the point. Focusing on how the two sound is a great place to start.
So. Can you do it?
Try the quiz below to pick out the American and British accent.
Test Your Accent Recognition Ability!
Listen to the two songs below. Which one is sung in an American accent?
For the above video, scan over to 45 seconds to skip the intro.
Check your answer at the bottom of the page.
Did you get it right?! Congratulations if you did!
If not, I tell you how you can practice on your own below. You can use this technique to notice a lot of differences between American and British English.
Time for a pop question. Are One Direction Americans?
If you don’t know, do a quick search and leave the answer in the comments.
Fun Way to Discover American and British English with Music
Songs are a great way to discover the different pronunciations and usages of American and British English.
Because it’s so easy to find songs with lyrics online, you can listen and check the words if you need help.
Here’s how you can do it.
While this process is not as easy as looking at a list of all the differences, it should be a lot more fun and rewarding in the long term!
Try to enjoy the songs you choose, focus on the pronunciation, and then use search tools and social networks to see how those words or phrases really are being used by native speakers in the US and UK.
Answer to the Quiz: Billy Bragg (the upper video) is singing in the British accent, and One Direction are singing with an American accent.