Teach English in Zhuwa Zhen - Huanggang Shi

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I have been ever asked by a student the past tense of a verb, ‘travel.’ That time, I answered it was "traveled," but another student pointed out that it should be spelled as "travelled." So, I showed the course book and reconfirmed that ‘traveled’ was correct. But very soon after that, I came to learn that both are correct. ‘Traveled’ is in American English, and ‘travelled’ is in British English. From that time, I realized the importance for the English teacher to know the basic differences of British and American English in order not to mislead students. This time, let us look at the differences between British English and American English. There are mainly three differences in these two variations of English: pronunciation, spelling, vocabulary and grammar. Firstly, when it comes to speech, the ways both are pronounced have slight differences. For example, American English has the rhotic speech in which the sounds of 'r' in words are pronounced as opposed to British English which tends to soften their pronunciation of the 'r' sounds. In some words, British English and American English have different accents. Taking an example of the word, buffet, American English stresses the second syllable while British English put an accent on the second syllable. Also, when it comes to the word, advertisement, American English stresses the first syllable with the second stress on the third syllable as opposed to British English which stresses the second syllable. Consequently, the vowel sound of 'i' gets different in each variation. The former pronounces as 'ai', and the latter as a short 'i' sound. Secondly, there are some differences in spelling between these two. For example, what is spelled as -ou in British English is spelled as -o in American English (e.g. mould->mold, behavior->behavior, colour->color). Also, the end spelling -re in British English becomes -er in American English (e.g. metre-> meter, theatre-> theater). Thirdly, there are vocabulary differences as well. Some well-known examples might be: trousers in British English vs pants in American English, holiday vs vacation, chemist vs drugstore, football vs soccer to name a few. Last but not least, one should keep in mind that there are some grammar differences. American English considers collective nouns as singular. In British English, however, either singular or plural can be used. Also, British English tend to favor formal speech as opposed to American English which tend to use more casual speech. Talking about the history behind these two variations, each took a different path in development since roughly about 500 years ago. At the time when the British people brought the language to the land of America in the 16th and 17th centuries, there was not any set standard for spelling. In UK, mostly the scholars in London worked on to make the British version's dictionary. On the other hand, in the United States, the scholar whose name is Mr. Noah Webster paved the way to the American spelling standard. Therefore, between British English and American English, one can find some differences in every element of the language including speech and grammar even though the basics are still the same. To conclude, although the basics of British English and American English still are the same or similar, there are some slight differences in pronunciation, vocabulary, spelling and grammar. Even if a student uses one instead of the other does not necessarily lead to a failure of communication. However, as a TESOL teacher, he/she should keep in mind these differences and characteristics in order to properly select the language to teach in the classroom and provide accurate language knowledge to students. "Differences between British and American English." British Council, www.britishcouncilfoundation.id/en/english/articles/british-and-american-english. "30 Words That Americans and Brits Stress Differently." English with Kim, englishwithkim.com/words-americans-brits-stress-differently/