British English vs. American English

Foreign Languages
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Why most countries teach their kids and adults British English and not American English?

Jul 23rd, 2015

Thank you for the opportunity to help you with your question!

This is because American and British posses the following differences which make it easier to use British english;

1) Spelling:

Many differences between American and British English stem from Latin-derived spellings and Greek-derived spellings. Those differences are seen in the unstressed endings to words such as:

Latin-derived spellings:

American English British English
Color Colour
Behavior Behaviour
Honor Honour

Greek-derived spellings:

American English British English
Organize Organise
Dialogue Dialog
Analyze Analyse

2) Pronunciation:

There are some words that are spelled the same in both dialects, but that are pronounced with a distinct stress on difference syllables: controversy and schedule are just a few. The word ‘aluminium’ in Britain and the English colonies has a curious extra letter and syllable added, to make it ‘alumini-EE-um.’ Then there are words that have both differing spelling and pronunciation: defense (British version: Defence) and axe (British version: ax).

3) Vocabulary:

Some words in one dialect may have a completely different meaning in the other, or vice versa. A ‘boot’ to an American would be a pair of shoes, but to a Brit, the boot would refer to the trunk of a car, as in: ‘just getting my tire out of the boot’. So to keep your miscommunications to a minimum, here are some helpful translations:

American English –> British English

Cookie –> Biscuit

Pharmacy –> Chemist’s

French Fries –> Chips

Highway –> Carriageway

Trash –> Dustbin

4) Phrasing:

Phrases such as ‘a week today’, or ‘Tuesday week’, (referring to a week in the future) are common in Britain but are often confusing to the American ear. And ‘fortnight Sunday’ would refer to two weeks following this Friday.

In the UK, dates are usually written differently in the short (numerical) form. Valentines Day 2015, for example, is 14/2/15, with the day preceding the month.

Photo of a carriageway or a highway- depends where you’re from. With all do respect to British culture, I doubt a carriage can ride along these fast lanes.

5) Punctuation:

The most common form of differing punctuation is seen through titles. In American English titles such as Dr., Mrs., Ms., Mr., are spelled with the use of a period, while its not uncommon for the British version will omit the period altogether.

All in all, you’ll find that written forms of British and American English vary surprisingly little, while the most noticeable differences will be in the spoken form of British English. Winston Churchill once said: “England and America are two countries separated by a common language.” True then, true now, but perhaps we can make the gap a little bit smaller. Or, as the Brits might say, make it teeny.

Please let me know if you need any clarification. I'm always happy to answer your questions.
Jul 23rd, 2015

Thank you very much for your answer. It is very interesting, but not what I was looking for. I have a feeling that most countries teach British English either due to the former power of the Great Britain as an empire or the length of its existence: the Great Britain existed a lot longer than the U.S.A. Or, maybe it'a a tradition and nobody wants to make the switch. Probably, there is more to it. Maybe it's because most counties are closer to the G.B and have more contact with the G.B than with the U.S. I was looking for concrete facts.

Jul 23rd, 2015

That is one of the existing facts about it.



Jul 23rd, 2015

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