British vs. "American English"

RimcMullen, :slight_smile: Had America not bastardised the English language, then these problems would never have arisen.

They have tried to introduce American as a stand-alone language, which it can never be when America uses English as its base. American is NOT a language. It is a bastardisation of English, and to suggest phonetic spelling is better, then why do they not have their own dictionaries to illustrate EVERY word in phonetic American.?

Most non-native speakers aspire to learn English as the English speak it, whilst being totally unaware of the very existence of American English.

Incidentally, if you are referring mathematically to specific words, then try checking ANY dictionary, and I think that you will find 99.9% of the entire dictionary is written in the good old British manner.


ps. Just got back from a trip to Filidelfia.


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There is no such thing as American English.

America has bastardised the English language with a few misspelled words and tried to convince the non-native speakers that this " language " actually exists. IT DOESN’T.!

How many American words do you know. ? None I would think.

Is there an American dictionary that contains only American vocabulary.? I don’t think so.

There isn’t even a suggestion of a British accent amongst them.

What they do have is, " I’ve got a pebble in my mouth " way of talking. If this impresses you in any way, then seek urgent medical attention. Better still, turn off that sound and read a good book … by a British author, of course.

If you do want to learn a really new language, try Esperanto, a language designed specifically to allow all nations to speak to one another.


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Hi Bill,

You cannot be serious!- in the words of a well known American tennis player. If you glance through previous postings, you will see that I have been hammered for allegedly suggesting that there is no difference between British and American English. I have repeated again and again that this allegation has no foundation. I am in fact a great fan of the American way of writing/speaking English. Clearly there are differences although the two versions don’t really hinder communication. In truth there are various Englishes and that feature merely illustrates how versatile English is.
Possibly I am overreacting. You are simply being puckish, aren’t you?


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You are simply being puckish, aren’t you?

Of course I am, it’s called being British. :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Your statement, " although the two versions don’t really hinder communication."

I never said they did, so WHY did America decide to alter the British ( original ) spelling of so many words, and in doing so, create frustration for non-native students.?

I dislike America, and all that it represents. I have no valid reason for this resentment.

My resentment has no logic. I simply recognise, and accept it.

But I DO like Kim Basinger. Can’t believe she isn’t British.

:smiley: :smiley:

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Bill, can you please give us an example that shows how America ‘has bastardised the English language’? Whom exactly do you mean when you say ‘America’? Do you have any particular ethnic or economic group in mind or are you talking about the US population in general?[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, question-response: Is the coffee included in the price on this menu?

Good morning Torsten, I am referring to the Educational governing body of America, not it’s people. They are taught, so we cannot possibly blame them.

Alan has rightly said that there are many spoken forms of English, but non claim that they are ***** English as America does. And although I am obviously unsure, I would hazard a guess that all of these other countries use the English format in spelling.

Sorry Torsten, I did mean to add that I was specifically referring to their DARING to alter the already widely acknowledged and accepted British form of spelling all ENGLISH words.

American English, ha ha. There is no such animal. English is ENGLISH.

Bill, if you knew more about the history of the English language, its accents, dialects and vocabulary, you would realize that in many cases it was the British who “bastardized” English, if you want to use that word, and the Americans who have faithfully retained older forms and pronunciations.

In the first place, nobody on earth speaks the “original English” anymore, so the English spoken by the British today is not any more original than what Americans speak.

The accent that is accepted worldwide as a “proper” British accent (the accent of British aristocracy, of traditional BBC announcers, etc.) is actually an innovation that did not happen to spread beyond the east coast of the United States. In other words, my Michigan accent is centuries older than Queen Elizabeth’s, so if the age of the dialect is the measure of correctness, I speak more “correctly” than she does. After all, why do you people write the letter R in words like “far” and “horse” if you don’t pronounce it? Because it used to be there, of course, but in “lazy” British speech, they started to drop it off.

As for the purported “I’ve got a pebble in my mouth” manner of speech (usually characterized by German-speaking English teachers as a potato, instead of a pebble), if the Americans speak sloppily, what is one to say about most of the population of London, who can’t be bothered to stick their tongues forward to pronounce a proper T in the middle of a word? In the US, that gets a kid sent to speech therapy. Or the many British who finish words ending in a /u/ sound as if they ended in /i/, so all over London you hear the word “through” sounding like “thröee” or “do” sounding like “döee”. What’s that all about? Is that correct, proper, original English?

And as for “original” spellings, I think you’d better look at a bunch British documents from the 14th century or so. It appears the “original” way to spell English was any way you wanted to. The original spelling of “through”, 1,000 years ago, was “ϸurh”. I don’t think the British write it that way anymore either.

Americans don’t generally talk about “American English”, but most of the time about “English”. The term “American English” is generally used to refer only to variants that exist on the American continent, or by Europeans to express resentment for the United States. Or by incompetent foreign English teachers as a way to rationalize their ineptness.

I think that before you go off on a rant about this again, you’d better get an education in historical linguistics and dialectology. Your post contained essentially nothing that’s factually true, but did expose your own bigotry to a great degree. You know, just because someone speaks English and is literate, it doesn’t mean that they actually know anything about its origins and development. You had a lot of folk tales in your post.

Stop using that term “bastardize”. It shows what a bigot you are.

" Or by incompetent foreign English teachers as a way to rationalize their ineptness."

:lol: :lol: Thank the Lord I’m not a teacher Jamie. I might have been offended by that.

I’m not bigoted … I love Kim Basinger.

" In other words, my Michigan accent is centuries older than Queen Elizabeth’s. "

Sure is, +1492 I believe. ( Tongue in cheek. )

Let’s talk about " recent times ". Just WHY did the Americans decide to alter the accepted forms of so many words.?

Please don’t start about phonetic speaking / spelling. That doesn’t wash.

If it were true you would have whole reams of newly spelled words, but you haven’t.

You simply replace " ph " with " f " because it … what.?

You take the " u " out of colour, why.? Can you give me a logical explanation.?

Look who’s talking!

Jamie, I can’t believe you are talking about bigotry and accusing someone of being bigoted.

Though you never speak out like Bill did, some of your posts do smack of bigotry.

You have always implied what a great country the USA is and kind of looked down upon other nations.

You’d go on about how people from the eastern Europe behave and how people from the Gulf are generally dishonest and all.

I repeat, I am not a bigot, I just don’t like Americans, and I’ve given my reasons why.

" Stop using that term "bastardize. "

What word would you suggest in it’s place Jamie.? Incidentally, a please would sound nice right about there.

Calm down Mate/Buddy, you are sounding as though you are running out of answers.

As a matter of interest, how do they spell horse, and far, in America.? Please note that I ask a question, and do not go on to answer it.! No point asking otherwise.

It has been suggested that we use this part of the Forum as a chat room, not a sparring booth.

" nothing that’s factually true." Oh, I see … so it wasn’t the Americans who changed the spelling of so many English words. Then who was it.? Pray tell.

I think the differences in American/Australian/British/Canadian spellings are rather insignificant. As long as you try to stick to one version you are fine. The problem most of our forum users are facing is that they have not learned how to use a spell checker and how to type properly. Many of them use keyboards that are designed to type texts in their native languages and not in English and as a result they have difficulty using the apostrophe, the space bar and the shift key and often the period.

Words like ‘u’, ‘english’ and ‘i’ don’t exist in any form of English – neither in American or in British English.

As for the different kinds of English, you might want to read Whose English is it, anyhow?[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, question-response: When do you want to go to lunch?[YSaerTTEW443543]

Bill, you are uninformed about the history of the English language and the formation of its various dialects.

You are claiming that “the Americans” “bastardized” the English language, when in fact the main thing that annoys you is that they simplified a few spellings that showed residual French influence and no longer had basis in phonetic reality on either side of the Atlantic. Your contention that changing the spelling of any word should prompt the complete overhaul of the entire spelling system is simply ridiculous. If each English-speaking nation created phonetic spelling according to its own pronunciation, we would wind up with several separate written languages. Simplification of a few unnecessarily archaic spellings is not “bastardization”. For example, the spelling of the suffixes “-our” and “-re” reflect very well their pronunciation in French, but it is nonsense in English, and there is nothing wrong with changing them.

You have some nebulous notion that English spelling was standardized first and that then “the Americans” “bastardized” it, but if you look at old documents from the time Webster established the changes, you’ll see that British spelling was anything but standardized or consistent.

Not too long ago the Germans changed their spelling in the interest of greater simplicity, and so did the Czechs a few years before them. Did those nations “bastardize” their languages by doing this?

You’re also ignoring the fact that the differences between the North American variety of English and the British variety go beyond spelling and vocabulary words. There are also grammatical differences, usually because the North Americans have retained various forms that the British have stopped using in recent centuries. For example, the British can no longer use a verb participle to distinguish the separate meanings of, “I have got to go,” and, “I have gotten to go.” To express the second sentence, the British need a long circumlocution, although some centuries ago they didn’t. In cases like that, it was not the Americans who changed the language, but the British.

I think before you rant and pontificate on what Americans have done to the English language, you should get a bit more education. Unless you know something about what you’re dicussing, you only appear to be giving vent to the common post-colonial inferiority complex that citizens of crumbled empires tend to display (unnecessarily). It’s a really deep psychic pain displayed by some of the British, French and Greeks, but almost never by Germans or Japanese.

Well, I know how people in Eastern Europe behave, because I used to live there.

As for people from the Gulf, that just comes from empirical observation. If, in 15 years of teaching foreigners from all over the world, I observe certain behavior again and again in one ethnic group, but not in others, I end up having to assume that this behavior must be typical. It’s always disappointing for me to realize this, but I have to do so in order to prevent trouble in my classes.

If, in more than 15 years of teaching thousands of students, no Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Malayalam, Pakistani, Bengali or Mexican has ever lied to me or cheated in my class, I have to assume that truthfulness is generally part of their culture. I can’t assume that all people from those nations are honest, but I can assume that the majority are.

If, in more than 15 years of teaching thousands of students, most Arabic students lie or try to cheat in my class, and usually more than once, even after they’re caught, I can only assume that lying and fraud are part of their culture. I can’t assume that they are all liars or con artists, because I know they’re not. However, if about 60 percent of them try to cheat, and lie not only to me, but to their other instructors as well, I have to assume that Arabs are more likely to be dishonest than people from those other nations. It’s disappointing, but it’s not fair to honest students if I’m not prepared for dishonest students’ cheating.

Good morning Jamie, I hope all is well with you.

I tend to agree with you with regard to my failings. Please be kind enough to put it down to my old age and ignorance.

Again, you point out that I do need to get an education. You are of course correct, but alas, at my age, I think I’ve left it a little too late for that.

Due to personal circumstances I left school at 15, as I was obliged to go to work from a very early age to supplement my widowed Mother’s income. ( Cue soulful violins. )

Yes indeed, having to go to work sure puts a blight on ones education. How preferable to be sitting in a dorm swotting, than to be on your knees in the bowels of the earth digging for coal, sweating, tired and fearing a cave-in at any moment.

Give me University every time. You made the right choice. I had no option.

In any event, I do find that what little education I do have is sufficient for my needs, that is, providing I don’t get too deeply involved in discussions with academics.

You have allowed yourself the luxury of generalising the types of people you have came across in your " 15 years of teaching ", and you rightly state your opinion.
Please be tolerant, and allow me to state mine.

In my " 60 years of observation ", ( I have ignored the first 10 years because of my inability to have formed a logical opinion at that age ) I have seen Americans,( not all ),
as brash, garish, ignorant and ill mannered in their regard to others.

If I have offended you in any way, then I do apologise. I get few opportunities to let off steam in my dotage, and the internet does allow me some relief.

However, I will ensure that I vent my wrath in other directions in future. Hands across the sea, and all that.


In other words, instead of complaining about Americans directly, you used spelling as a proxy for your generalized revulsion for them. Since you don’t know much about linguistics or dialectology, you would have appeared more intelligent, and it would have been more honest, if you had simply gone off on a diatribe about Americans themselves, rather than their language. After all, superficial, often fanciful anti-Americanism is always in fashion all over the world. In fact, it’s so fashionable that even our “president” engages in it, although it doesn’t achieve for him what he wants it to.

Again, it’s that complex borne by many citizens of eclipsed empires who know, and have proven, that they can’t defend their own countries without the Americans. It’s like a snotty teenager who hates his parents because he’s dependent on them.

Why do you criticise your own president.? Because he is coloured, or for the reason you suggest.?

Whilst you talk so glibly about other crumbling empires, you choose to ignore your own, which is about to implode, due directly to the incompetence of your financial and governing bodies. Five more years of Bush would have spelled the end.!

America will bring this entire world to its knees if it is allowed to pursue its power-mad policies.

Jamie, you appear to have a very short fuse, but I’ll wager, no shorter than mine, and therefore it is a Godsend that we never have to meet.

I’ll also wager that you are in your element in your classroom, lording it over " inferior " folk. Ask yourself where you would be in the " real world " with your academic education.
Which other function could you fill.?

No Jamie, whilst I maybe be uneducated and bigoted in my estimation of Americans in general, you absolutely personify the criteria of the typical American which I outlined earlier.

And now I choose to ignore you. Not because you intimidate me in any way, but simply because I choose to.

As your famous Judge Judy is want to say, " I am better than you on my worst day, than you on your best."

Bye Jamie. Good luck.

I criticize my own president because he is making mistakes. I criticize any president when I think he is making a mistake. The current president is repeating the mistakes of president Carter, and some of the mistaken policies of Roosevelt. They were somewhat excusable with his predecessors, because in their day people didn’t know what the results of such policies would be. Now that we have seen their effects, it’s inexcusable to repeat them, but our current president is blinded by ideology, so we’ll have to learn things the hard way again.

With all due respect, you don’t know much about the US causes of the current financial crisis. All you appear to know is that Bush Jr. is a Satan figure and brought ruin on the world. (You probably also know that Mussolini made the trains run on time.) The roots of the current financial crisis began when Congress and the Carter administration began forcing banks to make bad loans in the name of “economic justice”, and penalizing the banks if they didn’t cooperate and make those imprudent loan decisions. The laws remained in place under Daddy Bush, but his administration didn’t enforce them. The Clinton administration began enforcing them with renewed vigor. Since Congress, and not the president has the power to repeal the laws, the younger Bush twice went to Congress predicting the present crisis and calling for them to pass legislation to fix the problem, but they refused. All the “greed” on Wall Street, etc., merely involved financial institutions playing hot potato with the bad debt forced on them by government fiat, until the whole thing collapsed. You can educate yourself on it here:

Actually, I’m reputed among people who know me to have a very long fuse, but to be quite blunt in my criticism.

You make quite a leap of logic in assuming that I consider my students to be “inferior”, because most of them aren’t, and many of them have knowledge and skills that I could never dream of acquiring.

If you are better on your worst day than I am on my best, you have not done a good job of demonstrating it. I would believe that of someone like Alan, but not of you.

Actually, I am still ignoring you.