North American English

North American English (NAmE, NAE) is the most generalized variety of the English language as spoken in the United States and Canada.[2] Because of their related histories and cultures,[3] plus the similarities between the pronunciations (accents), vocabulary, and grammar of American English and Canadian English, the two spoken varieties are often grouped together under a single category.[4][5] Canadians are generally tolerant of both British and American spellings, with British spellings of certain words (e.g., colour) being favored in more formal settings and in Canadian print media; for some other words the American spelling prevails over the British (e.g., tire rather than tyre).[6]

North American English
RegionNorthern America (United States, Canada)
Early forms
DialectsAmerican English, Canadian English and their subdivisions
Latin (English alphabet)
Unified English Braille[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolognort3314
IETFen-021

Dialects of American English spoken by United Empire Loyalists who fled the American Revolution (1775–1783) have had a large influence on Canadian English from its early roots.[7] Some terms in North American English are used almost exclusively in Canada and the United States (for example, the terms diaper and gasoline are widely used instead of nappy and petrol). Although many English speakers from outside North America regard those terms as distinct Americanisms, they are just as common in Canada, mainly due to the effects of heavy cross-border trade and cultural penetration by the American mass media.[8] [better source needed] The list of divergent words becomes longer if considering regional Canadian dialects, especially as spoken in the Atlantic provinces and parts of Vancouver Island where significant pockets of British culture still remain.

There are a considerable number of different accents within the regions of both the United States and Canada. In North America, different English dialects of immigrants from England, Scotland, Ireland, and other regions of the British Isles mixed together in the 17th and 18th centuries. These were developed, built upon, and blended together as new waves of immigration, and migration across the North American continent, developed new dialects in new areas, and as these ways of speaking merged with and assimilated to the greater American dialect mixture that solidified by the mid-18th century.[9]


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