When did Americans switch from speaking British-English to American-English?

10 December 2019, 12:30

Children learning English in a school
Children learning English in a school. Picture: PA

When, and why, did people in America start using different spellings? The truth behind 'mum' becoming 'mom'.

Mystery Hour Question

When did Americans make a conscious decision to speak and spell in American, as opposed to English?
Joe, Blackheath



Name: Heather, Whitstable 
Qualification: I’m an ex-teacher, copywriter and content specialist 
Answer: Before 1828, there were lots of different spellings for different words. In 1828 an American called Noah Webster wrote a dictionary, picking out his favourite spellings. These preferred spellings became widely used as printing was becoming more popular. But the British decided they wanted to stick with their spellings.