After surveying the English of the British Isles in Chapter 7, in this chapter we take a further, closer look at today’s American English and its background, especially as it compares and contrasts with British English. (We will use the abbreviation AmE and BrE for these two ‘reference varieties’ in this chapter.) We make no apology for devoting further space to these two regional varieties, particularly AmE. First, between them, they represent a large proportion of all native speakers of English (over 80 per cent). Second, they have historically been the origin of the whole gamut of world-wide English. Figure 8.1 shows the global provenance of English, branching out from the two rootstocks of BrE and AmE.
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