|North American English|
|Region||Northern America (United States, Canada)|
|Dialects||American English, Canadian English and their subdivisions|
|Latin (English alphabet)|
Unified English Braille
North American English (NAmE, NAE) is the most generalized variety of the English language as spoken in the United States and Canada. Because of their related histories and cultures, plus the similarities between the pronunciation (accent), vocabulary, and grammar of American English and Canadian English, the two spoken varieties are often grouped together under a single category. Canadians are generally tolerant of both British and American spellings, with British spellings being favored in more formal settings and in Canadian print media.
The United Empire Loyalists who fled the American Revolution (1775-1783) have had a large influence on Canadian English from its early roots. 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 such terms as distinct Americanisms, they are often just as common in Canada, mainly due to the effects of heavy cross-border trade and cultural penetration by the American mass media. 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. English in North America originally derived from the accents prevalent in different English, Scottish and Irish regions of the British Isles. These were developed and built upon as new waves of immigration, and migration across the North American continent, developed new accents and dialects in new areas, and as these ways of speaking merged and assimilated with the English-speaking population.
|The maps above shows the American and Canadian English's major regional dialects (in all caps), plus smaller and more local dialects, as demarcated primarily by William Labov et al.'s The Atlas of North American English, as well as the related Telsur Project's regional maps. Many regions also contain speakers of a "General American" accent that resists the marked features of their region. Furthermore, this map does not account for speakers of ethnic or racial dialects.|
Ethnic American English
Regional American English
Below, thirteen major North American English accents are defined by particular characteristics:
|Accent name||Most populous urban center||Strong /a?/ fronting||Strong /o?/ fronting||Strong /u/ fronting||Strong
|Cot-caught merger||Pin-pen merger||/æ/ raising system||Other defining criteria|
|African-American||Variable||No||No||No||Mixed||Yes||pre-nasal||Southern drawl / African-American Vowel Shift / Variable non-rhoticity|
|Atlantic Canadian||Halifax||Variable||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||various||Canadian raising|
|Inland Northern U.S.||Chicago||No||No||No||Yes||No||No||general||Northern Cities Vowel Shift|
|New York City||New York City||Yes||No||No||No||No||No||split||Variable non-rhoticity|
|North-Central (Upper Midwestern) U.S.||Minneapolis||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||No||pre-nasal & pre-velar|
|Southern U.S.||San Antonio||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Mixed||Yes||pre-nasal||Southern drawl / Southern Vowel Shift|
|Standard Canadian||Toronto||No||No||Yes||No||Yes||No||pre-nasal & pre-velar||Canadian raising / Canadian Vowel Shift|
|Western U.S.||Los Angeles||No||No||Yes||No||Yes||No||pre-nasal|
|Western Pennsylvania||Pittsburgh||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Mixed||pre-nasal||/a?/ glide weakening|
A majority of North American English (for example, in contrast to British English) includes phonological features that concern consonants, such as rhoticity (full pronunciation of all /r/ sounds), conditioned T-glottalization (with satin pronounced ['sæ?n?], not ['sætn?]), T- and D-flapping (with metal and medal pronounced the same, as ['m?]), L-velarization (with filling pronounced ['f?], not ['f?l]), as well as features that concern vowel sounds, such as various vowel mergers before /r/ (so that, Mary, marry, and merry are all commonly pronounced the same), raising of pre-voiceless /a?/ (with price and bright using a higher vowel sound than prize and bride), the weak vowel merger (with affected and effected often pronounced the same), at least one of the LOT vowel mergers (the LOT-PALM merger is completed among virtually all Americans and the LOT-THOUGHT merger among nearly half, while both are completed among virtually all Canadians), and yod-dropping (with new pronounced /nu/, not /nju/). The last item is more advanced in American English than Canadian English.