Differences Between Americans and Our Brothers Across the Puddle, Part II

BTW, New Zealanders also refer to themselves as “En Zedders”. Of course they don’t write it that way – they write “NZers” when they write it at all (it’s more commonly spoken than written). Which is another example of American/British English difference. Americans say “zee” while Britons (and most of the Commonwealth) say “zed”.

Also BTW, my source on American/British English differences (The Origin and Development of the English Language, by Thomas Pyles. Check out this website: http://www.eslcafe.com/bookstore/history.html ) devotes a whole chapter to the subject with a lot of info on the origins of the differences. One important point he brings up, not otherwise mentioned here, is that most of the colonists were solidly middle class and therefore spoke the educated English of their day, which, then as now, was a London dialect. So American English started from a remarkably uniform base for such a large geographical area. Pyles points out that this explains an oddity of American English: its uniformity. Regional differences notwithstanding, American English is surprisingly free of dialects.

Oh no! Did I just start the “language vs. dialect” debate again?

“If you had manifested fatigue upon noticing that you had been an ass, that would have been logical, that would have been rational; whereas it seems to me that to manifest surprise was to be again an ass.”
Mark Twain
Personal Recollections of Joan of Arc