Currently in the teaching english
industry there is a great for some issue, or debate about teaching British english
vs. American english
. Many have the misconception that British and American english
have the same grammar, pronunciation, vocabulary or that technically speaking British english
vice versa is better since it is considered to be more correct english
, however this is not the case.
One of the most obvious differences between American and British english
is the pronunciation. American english
is considered rhotic (the r sound is pronounced in all placements) and British english
is considered non-rhotic (the r sound is only pronounced if the next letter is a vowel).
The British speak clearer, faster, more open-mouthed sounds and higher pitched whereas in American english
of course depending on the region, slower, lower pitched and more closed mouthed pronunciation. It´s quite common in American english
to swallow or cut off the end of words, yet in British english
this is not as common.
For example in American english
word apricot would be pronounce a-pricot yet in British english
the same word would be pronounced ay-pricot with the long ay sound. Another example includes the vegetable tomato, in American it would be pronounced tom-ay-do and in British english
tom-ah-to. As you can see there is a great difference in regards to pronunciation between British and American english
Another major difference between British and American english
is the vocabulary. There are many elements that affect the vocabulary usage in both dialects of english
, British and American. Some of these elements include region, those of the north use different vocabulary than those of the south, slang usage, education level and exposure of outside influences. All of these can have a drastic affect on vocabulary usage.
Another issue in regards to vocabulary includes spelling. There are many words that are spelled differently according to American or British english
for example the word color, in American it is spelled as it sounds c-o-l-o-r; in British it is spelled c-o-l-o-u-r.
Below you can find a list of a few words and how they are spelled in American vs. British english
As you can see there is quite a difference in spelling. The way you spell a word depends on if you would like to express in British or American english
. Neither is more correct than the other simply the spelling is different.
One of the biggest obstacles between American and British english
is the differences in vocabulary. There are many words that are completely different or words that are the same yet have a different meaning. An example of this would be the word mean, in American english
it defines a person who is either angry or has bad humor yet in British english
it defines is a person who is tight with their money or not generous. Below is a short list of common words that are completely different in American vs. British english
, although they have the same meaning..
As you can see there are many differences between American and British english
. Of course there are many other distinctions that distinguish each language; I have stated the most common differences.
In my opinion I believe that it´s important for esl
students to understand that there are many differences between the different english
dialects, they should be aware of the most common differences, have exposure to different english
dialects yet know that there is no english
that is ´´the best one´´ simply variation.