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     Volume 4 Issue 47 | May 20, 2005 |

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British and American English

An extract from a proclamation by the President of the United States
Americans have always believed in the value of work and that, if you work hard, you should be able to provide for yourself and your family with dignity. Today, with more jobs, low unemployment, and real wages rising, America's workers are prospering. Yet, there are many women in the workforce whose work is not being fully valued.

On this National Equal Pay Day, we find that the typical woman who works full-time earns just 74 cents for each dollar that the typical man earns for the same work. For women of color, the wage gap is even wider African-American women earn only 63 cents for each dollar earned by white men, and Hispanic women earn only 53 cents. While women now hold almost half of all executive and managerial jobs, their wages are only 70 percent of the average pay of their male counterparts. And, according to the Department of Labor's Glass Ceiling Commission report, women in management jobs generally remain at entry-level and mid-level positions. In part, these differences in treatment exist because of differing levels of experience, education, and skill. But study after study shows that, even after legitimate differences are accounted for, a significant pay gap still persists between men and women in similar jobs.

Equal pay not only treats women fairly, it benefits us all - particularly our Nation's families. It empowers women to become more self-sufficient, reducing the dependence of many families on Government assistance. It also raises women's purchasing power, increases their pensions, and improves their capacity to save, all of which help to strengthen our economy.

During the past three decades, our Nation has made a strong commitment to ensuring that every American is treated with dignity and equality in the workplace. Legislation such as the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act has helped us make progress in correcting discriminatory practices. But we still have a long way to go before the wage gap between men and women is eliminated. This year, I propose an additional $43 million for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Department of Labor in order to strengthen enforcement of the laws that prohibit discrimination, including wage discrimination; to encourage mediation; and to help the EEOC reduce the average time it takes to resolve private sector complaints. This additional funding will help all victims of discrimination, including wage discrimination; obtain relief in a more timely manner.

As we observe National Equal Pay Day, I urge businesses and State and local governments across our Nation to make a solemn commitment to recognize the value of women's contributions to the workplace and to reward them appropriately. By doing so, we will help provide opportunity and promote equality and justice for all. I call upon Government officials, law enforcement agencies, business leaders, educators, and the American people to recognize the full value of the skills and contributions of women in the labor force. I urge all employers to review their wage practices and to ensure that all their employees, including women, are paid equitably for their work.

1. Which type of American citizen earns the highest wage?
2. Which type of American citizen earns the lowest wage?
True or False
3. Women generally remain at a lower employment level and earn less than men because they have lower levels of experience, education and skills.
4. Equal pay will permit many American families to obtain more Government assistance.
5. Paying women the same salary as men will mean that women have more money to spend.
6. Equal pay will help to make the US economy stronger.
7. Over the past thirty years wage discrimination in the US has been reduced.
8. The President believes that the wage gap between men and women will soon be removed.

Find a word in the text which has the opposite meaning to the words below:
1. cease___________ 4. weaken__________
2. increase________ 5. punish__________
3. worsen_________ 6. allow____________
Now use one of the words you have found to complete the following sentences.
1. A wage gap between men and women in similar jobs still __________.
2. Equal pay will __________ women's capacity to save.
3. Women's contribution to the workplace should be recognized and -__________ .
4. The funding will help enforce the laws that ________ discrimination.
5. Equal pay will help to _________ the US economy.
6. Equal pay will _______ many families' dependence on Government assistance.
Is there any major difference between British English and American English?
No, the two styles of English are very similar. In fact, minor differences are most noticeable in vocabulary, spelling and idioms but American and British speakers of English rarely experience any difficulty in understanding each other. This may be partly because British English has in recent years been heavily influenced by American English, especially through the culture of pop music and films. Did you notice any American spellings in the text? Underline any words -you noticed that use American spelling.
Will an American accent or American pronunciation in an exam affect my understanding and prevent me from getting a good score?
Extremely unlikely. Well-educated native speakers of English from any country in the world are understood without any difficulty. Remember that there are more regional accents in the UK alone than in all the other English speaking countries put together.
Here are some examples of American English vocabulary. See if you know the British English equivalent:
American English / British English American English / British English
1. anyplace 2. apartment
3. attorney 4. candy
5. check 6. cookie
7. diaper 8. dumb
9. elevator 10. fall
11. flashlight 12. french fries
13. garbage 14. gas
15. mad 16. mail
17. mean 18. movie
19. pants 20. rest room
21. stingy 22. truck
23. vacation


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