Which ‘English’ Should I Teach?
English is a language that has a variety of dialects: particularly, there are three different major English segments. English (American ), English (Australian), and English (British or Uk). The three segments have differences in the way they are written and spoken. In this article, I will compare American English versus British English and my own experience with these two.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate maria c. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
British English is a very formal form of the English language. The Uk practices formal speaking and dictation while the United States of America uses slang and informal English. The spelling of the same words even differs from each other. In the United States of America, they spell words like color and favorite while the Uk spells the color and favorite of the same word.
Other ways the language vary have to do with the meanings. Football in the US is a very common sport where teams throw a football to each other and others trying to score a touchdown. Football in the Uk refers to what Americans call soccer.
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American English and British English have similarities but are very different forms of the English language. The dialects of the two versions of the language are also very different. British English annunciates while American English does not.
I’m a Filipino citizen living in Europe. I grew up in a country where English is taught in schools as one of the two official languages of the country. Our public education is characterized to be taught in American English.
At the age of thirteen, I moved to Europe to continue my studies in Italy. I then learned a new language, but what made my journey more interesting, was the way they taught English at school. The first time I met my English teacher, I thought she was teaching us the wrong pronunciation and spelling, if not wrong grammar. I could merely understand and catch up with her accent. At that time I wasn’t familiar with British English yet. Pushed by my curiosity I decided to approach my teacher cautiously after class. I asked her, how come what I‘ve learned in my previous school was different. She then explained that she teaches British English and started enumerating their differences in pronunciation, spelling and even grammar. Things began to be more interesting as if a new window of knowledge has opened. From that day on, I started researching and learning more about their differences and how to make my vocabulary broader. It wasn’t easy at first, but it was fun.
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Everything turned out to be beneficial when I started my course to becoming an ESL teacher abroad. My Italian students would ask me which English should they learn if they want to go to a specific English speaking country. Some of them are business managers, another reason to be more flexible on their way of communicating for they send emails in different countries. So, my advice would always be that they should learn both ways. It might be pretty challenging. But if they do so, at least, they will be able to adapt themselves more easily, whether the primary language is American English or the other way around. If there’s a huge difference between the two, it will be the pronunciation. You will then realize how handy it is of having studied both ways. You will have the advantage of being able to distinguish words and therefore be able to fully understand the meaning of each sentence.
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I, therefore, conclude that whilst there are few differences, I consider learning English both ways very important. It helps to improve your English in general, enriching your vocabulary and it makes it easier to understand various English accents.
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