The way words are pronounced in America differs quite substantially from the Commonwealth. This goes to accents, of course, which differ vastly even WITHIN America AND within individual Commonwealth countries.  

Some states in the USA use more of a British pronunciation (New England) while other states use a more American middle-ground pronunciation (West Coast) and at the same time other states use a barely understandable off-shoot of the American language (the South)!

In London alone there are many different accents, never mind other Commonwealth countries. Even a small country like South Africa has several different accents.

However, there are some common threads that definitely distinguish Americans from Commonwealthers.

The Rounded A

People in the Commonwealth pronounce many of their A's in a rounded way. That is, their mouths have a rounded shape. American's pronounce some a's this way, such as "park" and "car", but most a's have a flatter sound, like the a in "hat".

Example: the "a" in the word "ask" is pronounced like the a in "hat" in America but in the Commonwealth the "a" in "ask" is pronounced more like the "a" in "car" or "park". The same with "plaza", "task", "mask", "answer", "afternoon" and many others.

T's versus D's

Commonwealthers pronounce their t's with precision. Americans tend to either drop their t's completely, or replace them with a d. Here are some examples:

Mountain Moun'in
Daughter Dawder
Letter ledder
Norton Nor'in

The ''

American do not pronounce the "g" in many words ending "ing". Examples"

Running Runnin'
Walking Walkin'
Riding Ridin'
Driving Drivin'

The U

U's in America are pronounced like a double o, while in the Commonwealth they are pronounced like a "ew". Here are some examples:

Word USA Commonwealth
Stupid Stoopid Stewpid
Student Stoodent Stewdent

The -ter

Many people from Britain drop their r's at the end of words ending-ter, while ALSO dropping the t. While Americans will fully pronounce the r (some might drop the t, though).

Word Sound like:  
Generator gena-ray-ah  
Meter mee-ah  

The i

Certain words or prefixes that have an an "i" in them are pronounced differently.

Word USA Commonwealth
Anti- An-TYE An-TEE
Vitamin Vye-tamin vuht-amin

The Others

Then there are words that are pronounced differently for no real discernable reason!

Word USA Commonwealth
Schedule Sked-jule Shed-jill
Lever leh-ver lee-ver
Pedophile peh-dofile pee-diofile
Route R-ow-t Root
Aluminum A-loo-minum Alu-mee-nium
Mazda M-ahz-da M-ehz-da
Nissan Neeson Niss-eh-n
Leisure Lee-sure Leh-sure


Where the emphasis in words is placed varies between Americans and Commonwealthers as well. Americans tend to place the emphasis in most words on the first syllable. In the Commonwealth, more often it is on the second syllable. This can make the word sound VERY differently.

USA Commonwealth
CON-troversy Con-TROV-ersy
A-dddress A-DDRESS
IS-sue Is-SUE

Adding an "s"

In the word "forward", Commonwealthers add an "s" on the end. As in: "Move that car forwards a little".

Difference between plurals and singulars

When speaking about a group or a team. In the Commonwealth, they may say, "Italy are playing well tonight." Americans would say, "Italy is playing well tonight."

Adding a "R"

Some Commonwealthers add -r to words ending in an A. Like the British would pronounce America like 'Americar' or Cuba like 'Cubar'. This is also prevalent in many New Britain states (especially Massachusetts).

Should vs. Would

Commonwealthers use the word "should" where American's use the word "would". E.G. "I should think that he will like that." vs. in America: "I would think that he would like that".


If you know of any words or differences I have missed please submit them to me here

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