While AmE and BE are certainly both English and also far more similar than they are different, the fact remains that there are some differences in both vocabulary and usage. There are also clearly a few differences in pronunciation and spelling.
The recently mentioned usage of directly and immediately as conjunctions is just one glaring example of a difference in usage. In my opinion, characterizing this usage as “now respectable also in the US” is not only very misleading but is also extraordinarily bad advice. Particularly in light of the fact that a native speaker of “American English” had just advised against the usage.
Question: I noticed in one of your essay corrections that you “corrected” the writer’s use of “cell phone”. You gave the correct form as “mobile phone”. Why? As far as I could tell, the text was otherwise neither particularly “British” nor particularly “American”. But the term “cell phone” is standard usage in the US. So, why change it to some other “standard”? Isn’t your viewing “cell phone” as “wrong” confusing to a learner who has (correctly!) learned the American term?
Just how intelligent or unintelligent are learners of English? I think most learners of English realize that there are differences between “British English” and “American English”. They’re also intelligent enough to comprehend that the two versions of English are largely the same. Trying to hide the differences or pretending that none exist at all would be an insult to learners of English, in my opinion.
You can tell learners better than I can about English in the UK. I can tell them more about English in the US. We can both tell them a lot about English in general, but probably neither one of us can claim extensive knowledge of possible differences in e.g. “Australian English”. Shall we pretend there aren’t any?
If it is not permissable to mention “American English”, then I will be more than happy to shut up about that. I could either simply insist on American usage without ever giving “British English” a second thought. I could simply make corrections to British-syle misspellings, usages, etc. in all my posts. Or I could just stop posting atogether seeing as you seem to disapprove of “colonial English”. Do you prefer one of those options?
Alan, you obviously have no real idea whatsoever just how tired American English teachers get of having to “defend” their standard way of speaking. Why is it not just as legitimate as “British Englsih”? While I enjoy “British English” as well as other Englishes, I am certainly not prepared to say that “my English” is wrong. And I’m definitely not prepared to lie to my students and lead them to believe that English is exactly the same in the US and the UK. They’d see through that “in a New York minute”! (And, if you don’t know what “a New York minute” is, I’m sure Ms Google can help out. I have to ask Ms Google myself often enough about what the Brits are saying!)
(speaker of “Yankee English”!)