Teach English in Qianlianghu Zhen - Yueyang Shi

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As amazing as it may sound, over 1 billion people are currently studying English around the world and although it doesn’t have the highest number of native speakers, it is by far the most studied language in the planet. However, when trying to decide whether to study British English (BrE) or American English (AmE), many students simply do not know what to take into account to make the right choice. It is common to hear that British English is more correct than its counterpart, but this is not necessarily true. In fact, both British and American English have more similarities than differences. It can be stated that the former is much older than the latter; nonetheless, the grammatical structure still remains the same. Therefore, how would students know which one is the best? To answer this question, it is important to analyze how these dialects differ. Then, among the most noticeable differences, the following can be mentioned: pronunciation, vocabulary, and spelling. The first one is so evident that people don’t need to listen carefully to notice the difference. For instance, the letter “r” is pronounced in such a distinctive way in both dialects that the Oxford English Dictionary uses different phonemic symbols to emphasize the distinct pronunciation; hard [hɑ:d] and hard [hɑ:rd] in BrE and AmE, respectively. Like this word, there are many wherein not only the letter “r” changes, but others such as the letter “a”, “t”, and “d”. Moreover, there are some words that even have stress in different syllables. Consequently, it is known that there are hundreds of words that are used distinctively in each dialect. That is to say, the everyday vocabulary in British English is fairly different compared to the one in American English. Some examples of this are accelerator and gas, bonnet and hood, boot and trunk, and holidays and vacation. The first word belongs to British English and the second one to its American counterpart. On the other hand, the last difference is spelling, being appropriate to mention Noa Webster, an American lexicographer, who began an attempt to reform English spelling in the late 1700s, arguing that words should be spelled the way they sounded (Brock, 2017). Because of him, there exist spelling differences between these two BrE and AmE. For example, colour and color, favourite and favorite, honour and honor, and learnt and learned. Finally, even though British English and American English have some differences, their similarities are more essential to consider. Bear in mind that there is only one English Language, therefore, if you want to know which one is best, you should ask yourself the following questions: which accent do I like the most?, which region of the world am I planning to live in? or which English dialect will I be using more frequently? The answers to these questions will take you to the right decision. At the end of the end, whatever your decision is, you will always understand each other. References Brock, A. (2017). Six Differences Between British and American English. Retrieved from https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/six-difference-between-britsh-and-american-english/3063743.html. Oxford University Press. (2019). Hard, adjective. Retrieved from https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/hard_1?q=hard.