The United States of English

The American Language from Colonial Times to the Twenty-First Century
United States of English Book Cover

By the time of the Revolution, the English that Americans spoke was recognizably different from the British variety. It featured dozens of novel words and expressions (opposum, salt lick, blaze a trail), distinctive pronunciations (rhyming glass with hat, not hot), and original slang (stiff as a ringbolt to mean drunk), not to mention the beginnings of America’s current regional dialects. The United States of English tells the fascinating story of how American English evolved over the centuries and is still growing and changing today.

"An accessible, entertaining outing for logophiles."
Kirkus Reviews, March 27, 2023

"This compelling book will take you on a sweeping, inspiring journey through the history, geography, and sociology of American English."
– Arika Okrent, Author of Highly Irregular and In the Land of Invented Languages

"The perfect book for any language enthusiast living in America … succinct, entertaining and well-researched."
– Joseph Emonds, Professor Emeritus, University of Durham, UK

"A joyride atop a double-decker bus brought from England. Guiding riders over the route of our ever-changing shared but distinct languages, Rosemarie Ostler’s is the guidebook everyone wishes for."
– Edward Finegan, Professor of Linguistics and Law, Emeritus, University of Southern California

"Rosemarie Ostler provides the linguistic counterpart to David Hackett Fischer’s Albion’s Seed in this fascinating and enjoyable tale of how American English came to be what it is today."
– Dr. Valerie Fridland, linguist and author of Like, Literally, Dude: Arguing for the Good in Bad English