In 1664, English troops took over New Netherland.
American English has some small differences from British English. American English has both spelling and grammatical differences from British English, some of which were made as part of an attempt to rationalize the English spelling used by British English at the time. Unlike many 20th century language reforms[?] (e.g., Turkey's alphabet shift, Norway's spelling reform) the American spelling changes were not driven by government, but by textbook writers and dictionary makers.
The first American dictionary was written by Noah Webster in 1828. At the time America was a relatively new country and Webster's particular contribution was to show that the region spoke a different dialect from Britain, and so he wrote a dictionary with many spellings differing from the standard. Many of these changes were initiated unilaterally by Webster.
Webster also argued for many "simplifications" to the idiomatic spelling of the period. Somewhat ironically, many, although not all, of his simplifications fell into common usage alongside the original versions, resulting in a situation even more confused than before.
Many words are shortened and differ from other versions of English. Words such as center are used instead of centre in other versions of English. And there are many, many other variations.
American English has further changed due to the influx of non-English speakers whose words sometimes enter American vernacular. Many words have entered American English from Spanish, etc.
Examples of common American English loanwords, not common in British English (many, however, would be recognised due to Hollywood movies):
From African languages
|gumbo||okra, or a stew thickened with okra|
|cookie||baked sweet, never called a biscuit, digestive; sometimes called shortbread|
|banquette||a raised sidewalk|
|beignet||a square, holeless doughnut|
|boudin||a spicy link sausage|
|café au lait||a mixture of half milk and half coffee|
|chowder||a thick seafood stew|
|étouffée||a spicy stew of vegetables and seafood|
|jambalaya||rice cooked with herbs, spices, and ham, chicken, or seafood|
|langniappe||an extra or unexpected gift|
|pain perdu||New Orleans-style French toast|
|pirogue||a canoe made from a hollowed tree trunk|
|praline||a candy made of nuts suspended in a boiled sugar syrup|
|zydeco||a native Louisiana style of music|
|bayou||a swampy, slow-moving stream or outlet|
|chinook||a strong wind blowing down off the mountains|
|squash||vegetable, similar to English vegetable marrow|
|succotash||mixture of corn and other vegetables like peas, beans|
|adobe||a mud-based construction material|
|arroyo||gulch, often dry except when it has rained recently|
|barrio||shantytown or historically poverty-afflicted area of a city|
|hacienda||particular style of house|
|mesa||flat topped mountain|
|klutz||a clumsy person|
|schlep||to carry or to travel|
|tycoon||successful business leader|
|honcho||leader, ie: "The Head Honcho"|
For detailed differences in British English and American English see American and British English Differences.
Written American English is fairly standardized across the country. However, there is some variation in the spoken language. There are several recognizable regional variations (such as that spoken in New York and New Jersey), particularly in pronunciation, but also in slang vocabulary.
Most traditional sources cite Standard Midwestern American English as the unofficial standard accent and dialect of American English. However, many linguists claim California English[?] has become the de facto standard since the 1960s or 1970s due to its central role in the American entertainment industry; others argue that the entertainment industry, despite being in California, uses Midwestern.