British English

Simon   Wednesday, December 03, 2003, 12:13 GMT
British English is an American term for the official language of the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". We just call it English.
Hythloday   Wednesday, December 03, 2003, 14:51 GMT
Not trying to bait the Yanks by any chance, are you? I've already done it, with some interesting results for my research. Let's compare notes.
Simon   Wednesday, December 03, 2003, 14:58 GMT
No, on reflection, this is the truth. It is only they who need the term British English.
Jaro   Wednesday, December 03, 2003, 16:06 GMT
Of course, because they don't have their unique language.
Simon   Wednesday, December 03, 2003, 16:23 GMT
Yes, it is a familiar strategy (cf. world trade rules). You make everyone equal then the US, which just happens to be bigger and more able to mobilise itself, occupies the dominant position.

English v. American English would imply that Americans were speaking some inferior version of a European language. Not good. What you need is the following model:

American English
British English
Australian English
Irish English
Indian English

This is good because now there are many forms of English of which the English of England (rebaptised British English) is merely one. They all comprise the word English preceded by a geographical identifier. They are all equal ... in theory. Of course, with the US being much more important, its English is naturally the one you should use. etc.

I'm on to you Uncle Sam... I've got your number.
Simon   Wednesday, December 03, 2003, 16:38 GMT
Even leading academics seem obstinate in their belief that an English nationality would be ethnic. The political and social realities of the United Kingdom make England separate from the other so-called constituent parts.

It is not about feeling English or possessing or appreciating Englishness. It is simply that if England and Scotland uniting formed Britain, taking Scotland out makes England again. Why is this so hard to grasp? Why do people persist in seeing "England" as some monoethnic white ideal. Most of our beloved multiculturalism is in England not the rest of the United Kingdom that claim to have separate cultures and nations from England.

In reality I don't think the people of England understand the difference between national identity, nationalism, racism and ethnicity. "Britain" is a made up word - It is short hand for "I don't want to take a decision on where my country begins and ends".

Our nation is geographically restricted to England. Its only historical and official language is English. Its money has the Bank of England written on it. Scotland and Wales don't identify with the British flag. The people of England know most of the English counties but have little or no internal knowledge of the other parts of the UK. Scottish people don't read "British" newspapers. Welsh people probably do so in the same way Luxembourgers read French or German newspapers.

I tire of using a language learning forum to try and convince a nation that doesn't want to listen that it exists....

Ryan   Wednesday, December 03, 2003, 17:41 GMT
Most Americans realize that we speak dialects of what was originally spoken in England. I don't think many Americans would be mad at British people calling one of their dialects "Standard English." We only get mad when it's implied that dialects spoken in the US are somehow inferior. More people around the world are now learning our standard dialect than yours--so we just see any baiting from Brits as sour grapes on your guys' part.
Clark   Wednesday, December 03, 2003, 20:27 GMT
Simon, I agree what Ryan says about Americans getting upset when British people (mostly the British) essentially say that American English is the muck at the bottom of the pond.

Also, a British person in Britain would say, "I speak standard English." An American in America would say, "I speak standard English." It depends where a person is. If you are Canadian in South Africa, and you say, "I speak standard English" the South Africans will look at you and say, "yeah, you speak stadard CANADIAN English."
Simon   Thursday, December 04, 2003, 07:19 GMT
Well I don't think that. I like American English and I understand well that these days the privileges I enjoy as an EFL speaker are to a large extent due to the power of the USA and the fascination it holds for people.

To be honest I am only anti-British. And that simply because I no longer find it a meaningful term. I would like to come from a country that includes the whole of the so-called United Kingdom or even both islands together (GB&IRL) but of course Britain doesn't really mean that.

Anyway, the point is, as I no longer believe in "Britain" how could I accept that I speak British English?
A.S.C.M.   Thursday, December 04, 2003, 09:03 GMT
May I propose a new word? UKian, pronounced "yoo-kian" /'ju:kj..n/.

Perhaps I'll face vehement opposition, so I'll claim in advance that I DON'T insist on the correctness of any adjective describing the people of the British Isles. Therefore, don't equate me with the idiots who proposed the word "Unitedstatish".
Hythloday   Thursday, December 04, 2003, 11:48 GMT
I have a better suggestion. There is no British king at present and, what with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland setting up national assemblies of their own, there is also no unity. I therefore propose that we do away with both the 'King' and 'United' in the phrase 'United Kingdom' so that we are left with just 'Dom'. People from 'Dom' can henceforth be known as 'Dommies', their language as 'Dommie'. What do you reckon?