Senior Honors Projects, 2020-current

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation




Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


School of Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication


Kevin Jefferson

Cathryn Molloy

Sarah O'Connor


Although at first glance the differences between British English and American English seem trivial, “apartment” vs. “flat” or “color” vs. “colour," these dialectal divergences immediately create an othering effect. Subtle changes are representative of the deeper implications of this issue; altered language impacts perceptions about the validity and correctness of a written work. My research seeks to understand how the differences between British English and American English impact American student sojourners during an abroad experience in England. Examining how American sojourners perceive dialectal differences and adapt their written rhetoric to match that of a British audience offers valuable insight into the audience awareness of American students. Using a phenomenological research approach, I conducted 13 semi-structured interviews to study audience awareness. Through concept coding, three main themes emerged: sociolinguistic prestige, language globalization and media influence, and visual language variation. Each theme speaks to how American sojourners perceive and approach written language differences during an abroad experience. In a time when language is increasingly divisive and difference is regarded with suspicion, it is critical to consider how language alters perceptions. My research approaches difference with a mindset that respects dialectal divergences and works to form global connections.



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