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The other day, my boyfriend and I were at the Health Food Store with our friend Christian, who happens to be French. When we arrived, I said to Christian, “I’ll be right back, I have to go to the bathroom.” He gave me a blank look, and after a few moments pause, asked, “Are you going to the toilet?” “Yes, the toilet” I replied. Christian chuckled, “When you said you were going to the bathroom, I wondered, whether there was a room with a bath here.” My boyfriend, who had been examining some items on a nearby shelf, came over and said teasingly, “Elle est américaine. Il disent Bathroom là-bas. En Angleterre on dit aussi toilet.” The English spoken by Brits and Americans differ in a number of ways. In this essay, I will discuss some of the differences and look at the question of whether it is preferable to teach one over the other. In British English, most words ending with “our” are spelled without the “u” in American English. BRITISH ENGLISH AMERICAN ENGLISH colour color honour honor savour savor Words ending in “re” in British English are changed to “er” in American English BRITISH ENGLISH AMERICAN ENGLISH centre center litre liter fibre fiber In British English, verbs that can be spelled with either ize or ise at the end are always spelled with ize in American English BRITISH ENGLISH AMERICAN ENGLISH finalize/finalise finalize organize/organisE organize realize/realise realize Another difference between British and American English, is words spelled with the double l verses the single l. In British English, when words end in a vowel plus l, the final l is doubled. In US spelling, the l is not doubled BRITISH ENGLISH AMERICAN ENGLISH cancelled canceled counsellor counselor modelling modeling Some words like willful, skillful, fulfil and appaling are often spelled with the single l in England, but the double l is used in America. Another point of difference is vocabulary. Brits and Americans sometimes use different words to describe things. Take these words, for example. BRITISH ENGLISH AMERICAN ENGLISH trousers pants pudding dessert windscreen windshield pram baby carriage biscuit cookie chips fries boot trunk flat apartment holiday vacation bonnet hood crisps chips Many people think that the British accent is distinguished and that Brits sound intelligent and charming. Some Europeans find the American accent to be loud and uncouth. My boyfriend remarked, about the people, on his first visit to America, “They sound over the top, almost theatrical.” This leads on to the topic of pronunciation and the different ways that the British and Americans say words. With Americans, vowels sound more open. For example “lot” sounds like “lat” and “got,” like “gat.” Americans pronounce “t” in the middle of words as “d.” Examples are the words water, metal and bitter. The silent rolled “t” is another American signature. Some examples are words like mountain, intervene and written. “ile” is pronounced “ul” Examples are agile, fertile and mobile. In contrast, the British have the silent “r.” Ex: fork, bird, cart and where. In American English, collective nouns are treated as single words. A team, group, band or staff is a single unit. In British English collective nouns can be followed by a singular or plural verb depending on whether the group is thought of as one or as many individuals. American’s would say, “The band is playing in Cornwall this weekend.” or “The staff is looking forward to the presentation.” Brits might say, “The band are playing in Cornwall this weekend.” or “The staff are looking forward to the presentation.” With some words, Americans use the past participle form “ed,” more frequently, while Brits can spell these same words with either “ed” or “t.” BRITISH ENGLISH AMERICAN ENGLISH dreamed/dreamt dreamed burned/burnt burned spoiled/spoilt spoiled Speakers of British English use the present perfect tense more than Americans do. An American would ask, “Did you ever see the Eiffel tower?” A British person would say, “Have you ever seen the Eiffel tower?” An American would say, “Your mother just arrived.” A Brit would declare, “Your mother has just arrived.” Neither type of English is better than the other. They are just different. The decision to teach one type of English over the other could depend on circumstances. If you have a student who is planning to move to America, you might want to focus on American English. Conversely, if your student’s job is transferring him to London, it might be better to teach British English. If you speak one particular type of English, it can be used as an opportunity to point out differences between your speech and the language used in the student textbook or that of a particular activity that you’re doing. REFERENCES American English vs British English. (2013, August 2). Retrieved from https://www.tefl.org/blog/american-english-vs-british-english/ The Differences Between British English and American English and How to Teach It. (2019, April 10). Retrieved from https:wwww.teflcourse.net/blog/the-differences-between-british-english-and-american-english-and-how-to_teach-it-illt-tefl-blog/ Differences Between UK and US English for TEFL Teachers. (2018, July 26). 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