Studying The American And The British EnglishIf you are a foreign student who is learning the English language sooner or later you come to understand that actually there is a lot of different "Englishes" - namely variations or dialects of the same language. We come to know that Canadian or Australian English have their own specific distinctive features. There are lots of differing dialects that is being spoken in various parts of Great Britain where only about 2 percent of population speaks with the so called Conservative English or Received Pronunciation. In every of the fifty states in the US people are using their language differently. In this article we shall briefly discuss just the basic distinction between the two main variations - the general American English and the general British English.
In the course of the time the American people had little bit different tasks and goals comparing to the British citizens. Their history was developed in a different way, basically they used to live among the natural environment. These and the other factors could have but influence their language that was changed dramatically in the course of this process. In a word, that's how the American accent, the American grammar, etc were formed and came into being.
First of all, let's make this point clear that there is only one and the same language, just the American dialect has historically developed certain particular characteristics in grammar, in writing specific words and in how to pronounce them.
Let's briefly name some of the differences between the two. As a matter of fact, when you start to learn American English you find out that many things are more simple in it. It has simplified pronunciation (for example, some vowels and consonants are omitted, etc.), simplified grammar (for example, perfect tenses are not used in conversational speech, many of the irregular verb forms become regular, etc.), simplified spelling of the words (for example, programme - program, cheque - check, theatre - theater, etc.).
The American English pronunciation (General American pronunciation) is the same speech that could be heard in such a big American cities as New-York and Los-Angeles as well as on the television and radio in the USA. This pronunciation could be characterized as "rhotic", because the "r" sound is usually always emphasized and spoken. Of course you can always refer to the English phonetic transcription tables and dictionaries published in the US to find out what's the right way to say a certain word or where it should be stressed - like address (British pronunciation) and address (American pronunciation). But one of the best ways to quickly learn spoken English with the American pronunciation is to always listen to the real speech, imitate and repeat the pronounced words, phrases and sentences after the native speakers, and have lots of practice in communication with the native speakers. That's how you can quickly master the pronunciation and improve your American English speaking skills - if you would make your choice to dedicate yourself to studying it.
It's preferable to hold on to just one way of speaking / writing instead of jumping between various ways. In order to make this primary decision you might first try to listen to the American pronunciation and British dialects to understand what suits you more. Ask yourself who among your famous actors / actresses (depending on your sex) you would like to imitate, you would like to speak in a similar fashion. But most importantly, the dialect you would choose to study depends on your basic purposes in studying a language. What specific goals you are trying to accomplish in learning American English or British English. If you aim at moving to live to the USA, surely you have to learn the American way from the very start. If you are focusing on the business sphere more you would consider studying British by using for example juridical English courses in London. If you would start this way and learn its very basics then it might be easier for you to adapt yourself to the more simplified American. On the other hand when you become familiar with speaking the American language it's much harder to come to speak British English. So ask yourself first the simple questions: what dialect would be more useful for you in the future (who are you planning to communicate in the future with), and what dialect would be easier for you to learn (what kind of pronunciation is easier for you to imitate, or what language you are more motivated to study).
To conclude the article let's briefly name some other advantages in studying both dialects. If you are studying English just for yourself alone - note that most of the media contents like movies, English pop songs, TV shows and computer games are produced in the USA. All the things connected with Internet are based on the American English like Youtube video clips and Podomatic podcasts. In the world there are about 10 times more people speaking American, than British English. The best dictionaries in the world and most popular textbooks are published and exist in British. People in the Great Britain are usually easy and calm towards Americans, while the Americans take special notice on the British-speaking people and consider them more clever and educated.
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