Ever wondered why American and British English language have different accents? Well, there's a surprising story behind it.
What not many of us know, Hollywood costume dramas get it all wrong: The Patriots and the Redcoats spoke with accents that were much closer to the contemporary American accent than to the Queen's English.
Apparently, what we know about the English language, isn't true. (c) YouTube
Whether spoken in the British Isles or the American colonies, the traditional English was largely "rhotic."
It is the standard British accent that has drastically changed in the past two centuries, while the typical American accent has changed only subtly. According to experts, rhotic speakers pronounce the "R" sound in such words as "hard" and "winter," while non-rhotic speakers do not. Today, however, non-rhotic speech is common throughout most of Britain. For example, most modern Brits would tell you it's been a "hahd wintuh."
During the American Revolution, non-rhotic speech came into use among the upper class in southern England, in and around London. John Algeo mentioned in "The Cambridge History of the English Language", the change in accent occurred because people of low birth rank who had become wealthy during the Industrial Revolution were seeking ways to distinguish themselves from other commoners.
These people cultivated the prestigious non-rhotic pronunciation in order to demonstrate their new upper-class status.
"London pronunciation became the prerogative of a new breed of specialists — orthoepists and teachers of elocution. The orthoepists decided upon correct pronunciations, compiled pronouncing dictionaries and, in private and expensive tutoring sessions, drilled enterprising citizens in fashionable articulation," Algeo wrote.