Differences between American & British English

Simon   Friday, May 09, 2003, 09:54 GMT
My Japanese teacher compared the Japanese R-sound to the T in American "water". But I told her "There's water in tea but no tea in water. Not even in America".
>>>   Friday, May 09, 2003, 17:34 GMT
There are many differences between the two Englishes, but English is the same language where ever a person might go.
>>>   Friday, May 09, 2003, 17:50 GMT
Let me clarify something. English is the same language where ever you go in the English-speaking world.

I was reading in a National Geographic magazine about the Orkney Islands, and I think the English spoken there is more dialect than standard English. But I assume everyone there can speak and understand standard English.
?   Friday, May 09, 2003, 17:53 GMT
"There's water in tea but no tea in water. Not even in America".

David Bosch   Friday, May 09, 2003, 18:55 GMT
I read about the 'Orkney Islands' in the National Geographic as well.
Evelyn   Friday, May 09, 2003, 21:56 GMT
This is off topic, but I was reading a closed discussion about calling the language spoken in the US, "American" as opposed to English. http://www.antimoon.com/forum/2002/468.htm
I notice most Britons argued with a strong opposition 'cause English and the so called American are one and the same language hence it wud b defrauding the language of its true name. I take the same stand however, then its interesting that on one hand some of these Britons refuse to recognise American english simply as a different dialect of english (its too "impure" as sumbody put it) and on the other hand they get aggressive just at the suggestion of calling the lang. "American". You're bitter to the point that you had to become a bunch of shameless hypocrites!
David Bosch   Saturday, May 10, 2003, 20:24 GMT
They are 'British English' and 'American English', so if anybody wants shorter names the best ones would be British (for British English) and English (for American English), it is not american because it was not first spoken in the US, it is english-made and it is not spoken in the entire American continent, thus the real american is the spanish because it is certainly spoken in a greater part of the continent, isn't it?,
>>>   Saturday, May 10, 2003, 20:36 GMT
I would say that the English language is the same where ever it is spoken; be it South Africa, Canada, Australia, Britain, or the United States. If someone says "I speak English" in their native accent, you will know this person speaks English and which English-speaking sountry this person comes from. I am sure the same is for Spanish. Let's not start to label our languages by the countries they are spoken in unless they are truly vastly different from each other.
***   Saturday, May 10, 2003, 21:02 GMT
But, like it or not they're different, slightly, but different.

what you think is like saying:
"All the languages across the globe are the same because they are spoken by human beings and through their mouths", they are very similar in some ways, but very different in some others.

Probably you haven't been in contact with several kinds of english.
I've been there in the US (I'm british), and whenever I asked where the loo was, all the people glanced at me with a "what?" face.
Or when an american babysitter who was taking care of my cousin didn't understand what a "nappy" was. Or when I asked in the US for a serviette, they corrected me with "napkin, dear" with a rude tone.

Believe it or not, that slight difference between several english types creates the boundary between "understand" and "not understand"
hp20   Saturday, May 10, 2003, 22:51 GMT
when in rome, do as the romans do. when i was in britain, i used british terms (to an extent, it sounds silly when you use a different nation's slang). it only makes sense to use the words that you know will be understood by the people there. if i were british in america i would have used the words bathroom, diaper, and napkin without hesitation.
David Bosch   Sunday, May 11, 2003, 02:42 GMT
OK, OK, and what if I don't know that place's slang?, that is what happened to me when I went to the US. Now I know the differences, but I didn't have an idea about the loo- bathroom thing, do you understand my position?, I couldn't use that place's slang because I simply didn't know it.
>>>   Sunday, May 11, 2003, 02:51 GMT
Exactly, hp20.

I was in Britain a couple of years ago, and when I said to a relation of mine "do you have a trash bag?" he gave me a funny look. I thought about it for a split-second, and I said "oh, I mean a 'rubbish' bag." And then the light went on in his head.

So yes, the English language varies in the places it is spoken, but I will stress again that the English language is the same language no matter where it is spoken (in one of the countries I listed in an above post). The South Africans may say "bakki" and the British might say "lory" and the Americans might say "truck," but the English language is the same.
David Bosch   Sunday, May 11, 2003, 03:01 GMT
Well, yes, I agree with you, the english in all those places is the same language, otherwise it wouldn't be called english in each and every of those places.

The differences are just the accents, not the language, and we are trying to review those differences that sometimes are funny, sometimes upsetting, and sometimes they just drive you mad; and can be seen just as 'differences' but as I've said before, they can be the boundaries of communication. what do you think?
hp20   Sunday, May 11, 2003, 03:08 GMT
i don't see them as major obstacles. the worst i can imagine is feeling a little embarassed or out-of-place for not knowing the right word, but hey, what are you gonna do? i just take it all with a grain of salt. they're not so much boundaries as little bumps in the road.
>>>   Sunday, May 11, 2003, 03:13 GMT
That is what most people do when faced with those situations. Expressions like "car park" are easily understood to Americans if the context presents itself (for example, "park your car in the car park"). In my experiences with Britain, most people are friendly even when one does not know the "British equivalent" to an Americanism.

David Bosch,

Of course communication can be a problem. But here in America, a Southerner might not be able to understand a New Yorker. This does not mean these two people speak seperate languages.