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American English Vs Englishes

by Raja Sharma
copyright 09-02-2008

Age Rating: 10 +
American English Vs Englishes
Picture Credits:

The first speaker:

I am neither American nor British; I am a fact finder. I am honored to have got a chance to present my paper on the subject of American English and British English. I have gathered most of the information from the historical records.

The English language was first introduced to the Americas by British colonization, beginning in the early 17th century. Similarly, the language spread to numerous other parts of the world as a result of British colonization elsewhere and the spread of the former British Empire, which, by 1921, held sway over a population of about 470-570 million people: approximately a quarter of the world's population at that time.

Over the past 400 years, the form of the language used in the Americas - especially in the United States - and that used in the United Kingdom and the British Islands have diverged in many ways, leading to the dialects now commonly referred to as American English and British English. Differences between the two include pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary (lexis), spelling, and punctuation, idioms, formatting of dates and numbers, and so on, although the differences in written and most spoken grammar structure tend to be much more minor than those of other aspects of the language in terms of mutual intelligibility. A small number of words have completely different meanings between the two dialects or are even unknown or not used in one of the dialects. One particular contribution towards formalizing these differences came from Noah Webster, who wrote the first American dictionary (published 1828) with the intention of showing that people in the United States spoke a different dialect from Britain.

This divergence between American English and British English once caused George Bernard Shaw to say that the United States and United Kingdom are "two countries divided by a common language"; a similar comment is ascribed to Winston Churchill. Likewise, Oscar Wilde wrote, "We have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, the language." (The Centerville Ghost, 1888) Henry Sweet predicted in 1877 that within a century, American English, Australian English and British English would be mutually unintelligible. It may be the case that increased worldwide communication through radio, television, the Internet, and globalization has reduced the tendency to regional variation. This can result either in some variations becoming extinct (for instance, the wireless, superseded by the radio) or in the acceptance of wide variations as "perfectly good English" everywhere. Often at the core of the dialect though, the idiosyncrasies remain.

Nevertheless, it remains the case that although spoken American and British English are generally mutually intelligible, there are enough differences to cause occasional misunderstandings or at times embarrassment - for example, some words that are quite innocent in one dialect may be considered vulgar in the other........

The second speaker:

Hello friends, my views are not much different from the learned speaker who kept his views before you. Being an American, I have to say a few things that the unnecessary formality that I find in British English does not suit me. I find their unnecessarily lengthy words, sentences and paragraphs in their writings very dull and boring. The punctuation should be used to suit the eyes because congested words, near commas, are hard to read. I stick to my rules of American English and other forms of syntax look atrocious to me. I want to read the words and phrases which we speak and read. They are correct.........

The third speaker:

Present dignitaries, ladies and gentlemen, my fellow writers and speakers, and friends. I am from England and I use British English. I am well aware of the fact that there are many varieties of English and all of them are used and accepted by the particular speech communities. I experience a great delight when I see the English language spreading all over the world and borrowing thousands of words from foreign languages every year. I feel proud because English language is like an ocean that has place for innumerable rivers of different languages flowing all over the world. Sometimes I feel uncomfortable to hear different dialects, or read strange syntax but when I see the meaning behind that I praise the new user........

The forth speaker:

I speak little English. I am from China. I am trying to learn the language that has given so much to the world literature. I have many books to my credit and I am trying to translate them into English so that I could acquaint the rest of the world with the hidden part of the world, especially China........

The fifth speaker:

Venerable guests, the dignitaries, my fellow speakers, and learned audiences; I belong to the land of Gandhi, Tagore, Rama, and Krishna. When we try to do the business of thoughts and sentiments, a currency is required, and I have to use the currency which is not mine, I allude to the English language. Whole world is deeply indebted to this glorious language of Shakespeare and Bacon........

A common man:

Respected guests and my dear friends, I am a common man, neither highly educated nor so deeply acquainted with the points which my fellow speakers have pointed to. English is my second language but I am proud to say that my book, "Language as a Medium" has been nominated for the highest award for literature. It is written in English......

The reviewer, who had been sitting in the last row, slowly left his seat and walked out of the hall.

Raja sir

Language is only important to the extent of conveying me to the content which I am trying to read. Words are merely sounds and it is the writer's skill and readers' interpretation that gives meanings to them.
Love you all.
Bless you,

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