The Importance of Learning Different Dialects
As with many languages, English has so many different dialects. When one travels to a different region of the United States, for example, one will likely encounter different accents, vocabulary and different meanings of the same words. This is also true for British English and American English. For the purpose of this assignment, we will look a little deeper into these.
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This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Sarah Jane G. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Easier to travel the world
Many people enjoy traveling. In many parts of the world, English is the primary language, because of this, many people think if they pick places like the U.S. or the U.K. that they will not encounter any difficulties. However, this is not necessarily true. For example, in the United States, if a person asks for a biscuit, they will receive a breakfast food. But in England, this means the person wants a type of cookie. Other examples include different words for places of residence, the restroom, diapers and many more. The same language is spoken, and visitors can understand what is being said, they just might confuse the meaning. In these situations, it is important to not become impatient and just enjoy learning about a new culture.
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Knowing some peculiarities in writing and speaking
Another difference to be aware of is spelling. In American English, many of the words have evolved over the past two hundred years. Many American English words that end in -or, in Britain these same words end in -our. Examples of this difference are behavior, color, and honor. Another difference in spelling is -ze versus -se. In England, one might ‘socialize,’ while in America one might ‘socialize.’ These are just simple examples of the differences and the evolution of the English language. There will be times when teachers have students who have learned English in the past. It is possible that these students will have learned either the British English or American English way to write various words. For this reason, it is important that teachers instruct these students in the various ways they can be spelled, and how it varies from country to country.
There is also a difference in how some British English and American English verbs are conjugated. In American English, there is a greater number of regular verbs. Whereas in British English, many of the past tense and past participles follow an irregular pattern. For example, in Britain, the verb learn becomes learned and burned becomes burnt. One thing which may be confusing to learners of American English is that many American English speakers do not say ‘burned toast’. In this instance, we follow the British style and say, ‘burnt toast.
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In conclusion, as teachers of English, it is important to be aware of the various dialects of the English language. Every so often, we will encounter students who have taken an English class in the past. These students may have been taught by teachers from the United Kingdom or from the United States or many other places. These students may have learned vocabulary that differs from the vocabulary used in the United States or vice versa. In this instance, it is important not to tell the student they are wrong, but alternatively use this as an opportunity to expand their vocabulary. This can also be utilized as an opportunity to bring a cultural lesson into the classroom.
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