Since traveling to North America centuries ago, the English language – as spoken by Americans – has evolved greatly. While not recognized as the official national language, English is considered the de facto common language. The US is home to two-thirds of the world’s native English speakers, and while it is more homogenous than English as spoken in England, American English is spoken in a number of distinct regional dialects.

As compared to English as spoken in England, American English has both evolved away from its origins and kept a number of older characteristics long discarded in England. Examples of these older characteristics include the maintenance of rhotic speech, in which the “r” in words like “hard” and “butter” is clearly pronounced. American English also has not introduced the glottal stop in words like “button.”

American English’s evolution has many examples of new unique linguistic quirks. These unique characteristics include the identical pronunciations of similar words that receive different pronunciations in England: “cot” and “caught,” and “marry” and “merry,” to give two examples. Certain words rhyme that do not in England’s speech: “hurry” and “furry,” and “father” and “bother.”

Within American English are regional dialects. The main regions – which are then subdivided into smaller, more distinct dialects – are the Midland, the North, the South, the Western, and the Northeastern dialects.

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