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Tasks and Activites

American English

The History of English in 10 minutes - Chapter 8 (OU)


  1. Why did the first British settlers need new words when they arrived? From whom did they get these loan words?
  2. Which groups of immigrants contributed with the following words:

    • Pretzels
    • Pasta
    • Coleslaw
  3. What are typical areas where many new words were invented by Americans?
  4. To which field do words like break even, downsizing, bottom line and merger belong?
  5. In what way did American English eventually influence British English?
  6. How did British English develop differently from American English compared to the original English of the 18th century?


  1. Do you think American English and British English will diverge even further from each other in the future? Why/why not?
  2. How do you think music like jazz, rock and roll and rap that originated in the USA have contributed to the spread of the English language? What about movies and economics?

Suggested Further Reading

  1. The Origins of the English Language
  2. Why So Much Variety in English?

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CC BY-SAWritten by: Knut Inge Skifjeld and Eli Huseby.
Last revised date 06/15/2018

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