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The American and British ways have some similarities and differences in terms of customs, personalities and attitudes. This paper explores the comparison between the British and American ways of life basing on the above characteristics. In addition, the essay will investigate the factors that caused the differences between the Americans and British in terms of customs, personalities and attitudes.
Differences between the Americans and the British
There are immense differences between the Americans and the British in terms of customs. Customs typically defines the way of life of a particular group of people (Bassnett 45). One of the most notable differences between the Americans and the British is language. Although the language spoken in both countries is the same, that is English, both countries have different attenuations, pronunciations and spellings (Chapman 56). The American accent is significantly different from the British accent. Such differences are due to the differences in the pronunciation of vowels. Notable differences between the American English and the British English are evident through the use of 's' and 'z' in words and the use of 'our' and 'or' at the end of words. Differences in spellings for the same word are also evident with the use of the suffix 'tre' and 'ter' (Giles 123). The American English favor the use of 'z' while the British English utilizes the use of's'. For instance, "organisation" is in British English, the American English spells it as "Organization". It is also evident that the American language and customs incorporate more use of slang language compared to the British English (Hysell 252).
The second notable difference between the Americans and the British is in terms of lifestyle. This is typically evident concerning various activities that constitute lifestyle such as sports, standardized parameters used for measurement, laws, driving practices, differences in drinking and eating etiquette, and their music preference (Kirby 125). For instance, the most preferred sporting activity in America during winter is football and hockey, while the British prefer soccer and Rugby. This is because the most watched league in British is the English premier league (EPL), while the National Football League (NFL) is the most watched league in the United States. Differences in customs are also evident in the driving practices, for instance, the Americans keep right while driving with the legal driving age being 16 years (Brian & Wayne 45). On the other hand, the British keep left while driving, with the legal driving age being 18. Other notable differences are in terms of the legality in terms of the age of sexual consent and legal drinking ages (Else 89). The Americans legal drinking and age of sexual consent is 21 and 18 years respectively, while the British legal drinking and sexual consent are 18 and 16 years respectively. Reports also indicate that most of the Americans prefer driving automatic cars, while their British counterparts prefer driving manual cars. Lifestyle and custom differences are evident in terms of music preference. The British endorse the pop culture more than their American counterparts do (Kirk 89).
The third notable difference between the Americans and the British is in terms of personality. The Americans are more polite, characterized by welcoming attitude of greeting everyone, with strangers included. Americans are fond of phrases like "hi, how is your day". The British on the other hand is more reserved, focusing on their daily chores with minimal recognition of strangers nearby (Marsden 125). A notable difference in attitude is that the British prefer personal space and usually endorse silence rather than conversation. The Americans on the other hand prefer public space and can initiate a conversation with any stranger they meet on the bus stations, trains and other places where different people meet. Americans are more materialistic compared to their British counterparts. Americans show a little more concern for issues affecting their daily lives such as gas prices, events such as 9/11 and the increasing inflation. Their British counterparts on the other hand show little concern for such like matters, in fact, the British is more concerned with issues revolving their personal lives such as families and workplaces (Marsden 129).
Similarities between the British and Americans
One of the most notable similarities between the American and British is that they both speak English. Despite the different English accents and pronunciations, the language is mostly similar. The American customs shares a lot with the British customs since the formation of the American government is similar to the common law of the British (Giles 132).
Causes of differences between the American and British customs
The difference between the Americans and British is traceable back to the colonial era. Initially, English was a first language in Britain, but through colonization, it spread to the United States. A deviation from the original British English by the United States is due to the increasing conflicts between America and its colonies during the colonial era. The colonial conflicts fuelled the differences in customs and linguistics between the United States and Britain. During the 19th century, American writers such as Noah Webster produced dictionaries of a more simplified English, which was the United States English (Trudgil & Natalie 89). It was widely accepted and still in use in present America. At the same time, the British emphasized on standardizing their English that led to the inclusion of authentic words like colour, neighbour and other words with similar spellings in the British English. Differences in aspects such as attitudes and personalities are due to factors such as the need to be superior by either party, or conformity to regional international organizations. For instance, the British customs are subject to conform with the commonwealth rules while the American customs are authentic since they are not conventional to any international organisation (Hysell 89).