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  1. #101
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    Default Re: British English or American accent?

    Hi, all. I'm training for a CELTA cert right now and I had to do a Teaching Practice lesson last week with guidance from my tutor. I'm tuned in to British English more than other versions of the language, so in my lesson I had corrected a student for saying " vase" (with AE as in case) and I told the student it should be vase (with A, as in car). I was quite shocked to be told by my tutor that I should accept both as valid. I'm OK about it as my students are multilingual and multicultural, just had my stereotypes I guess .... but I am just wondering that if we start accepting different pronunciations... then the language may evolve to be something quite different and where should it stop ? I would constantly refer to a British dict but now should I, as a result of having an open mind, then also refer to other English dictionaries ? It's tough being a teacher these days !

  2. #102
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: British English or American accent?

    If a student has learned AE pronunciation and spelling, then it's a bit tough on the student to say they cannot use it. I'd say that the major varieties of English are all acceptable. It's hard to say where this will take us- I have seen some argue that the language will eventually break up the way Latin did, while others say that the opposite is likely to occur and that the differences will be eroded. I think that at the fringes, some break up may occur, but I think the overall driving force will be to homogenise things, so national and regional variations are likely to become less marked.

  3. #103
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    Default Re: British English or American accent?

    Anyone try to read Old English recently? Languages are always evolving. English has had both the privilege and curse of becoming a world language. It is a privilege because English speakers face fewer barriers in business and travel. It is a huge benefit having so much of the internet available in one's native language. A curse, because it is spoken in so many different countries that the British no longer "own" the language therefore it can't be controlled.

    American Engish is or has become the international English and it is continuing to evolve. The root purpose of language is communication. American English is slowly becoming simplified. For example, they accept the spelling of nite as night. "Real" is accepted as an adverb as well as "really". I used to think this was terrible but now realize it has both pros and cons. Simplifying grammatical conventions and spellings makes the language more accessable to more people which promotes communication. Communication is the primary purpose of language so that would seem to be a good thing. The downside, in my opinion, is loss of musicality. Perhaps it is because I am Canadian, but I much prefer the sound of the RP British accent.

    So, as many others have already noted the students' purpose in learning the language is the most significant determiner of what we should be teaching. Intelligibility is important, accent is not, unless the student wants to cultivate a particular accent for some reason. My students will invaribly be influenced by my accent. It hadn't even occured to me to teach to a specific accent. I live in Montreal, Quebec, a highly multicultural city. People speak English with many different accents here and I love the variety.

    "Speaking like a native" seems to be a significant goal for many but I personally believe people should relax and just focus on intelligibility. Accents are charming and they are an expression of individuality and identity.
    Last edited by Infosaturated; 07-Feb-2006 at 08:23.

  4. #104
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    Default Re: British English or American accent?

    Hi Sherli...well, when we teach we should be aware (because of this "openness" factor -that there are many varieties around) of the fact that the language will be used in many, differring situations. Like in the Malaysian case, the "official" system would be BE but with the AE becoming more acceptable, I usually explain to my students about both. The same case in using the dictionary...I mean if I use the Longman or Oxford, both give the explanation (pronunciation, meaning, acceptability etc) for both English versions. I think this goes well with the notion that a teacher, nowadays, can only function as a facilitator -the most we can do is make sure that the students are aware of the possibilities out there, and they should be flexible enough to be able to adjust in any given situation. Well, this sounds superb on paper, in reality it is not as easy given that being a non-native speaker sometimes lowers the confidence level.
    Has anyone ever hear about cognitive grammar?

  5. #105
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: British English or American accent?

    I'm visiting KL in a couple of weeks, so I'll have my first real experience of Malaysian English.

  6. #106
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    Default Re: British English or American accent?

    American English is slowly becoming simplified. For example, they accept the spelling of nite as night. "Real" is accepted as an adverb as well as "really".
    Some gradual simplification may be occurring, but I would disagree with both of the examples you gave.

    There is big a difference between "formal" English and "casual" or "slang" English. Teenagers sending text messages on their cell phones or over the Internet use about the most degenerate form of written English commonly used by native speakers. However, in any context in which they want to be taken seriously, they either shape up, or come off as ignorant/uneducated. They can flip the switch on and off depending on the context.

    Using "real" instead of "really" in conversation is recognized as a (quaint and very often ironic) colloquialism by the majority of Americans.

  7. #107
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    Default Re: British English or American accent?

    I do agree with infosaturated that English has become internationalised. And yes, there are of course differences in "formal" English and "slang" -in fact the spoken and written version are different from each other, what more formal and slang! The beauty of English is that it is dynamic...for non-native, we borrow first and then we adapt the language to suit our situation/ environment. When used in this situation, the question then is what variety do we use? If we are to be internationally intelligible, we have to keep to the standard syntax, and so on. In the Malaysian case, the Malaysian English is used for maintaining solidarity (this has been proved in several studies done...this is due to many reasons, one being that English is the language of our then-coloniser, British). tdol is coming to KL in a couple weeks' time, so welcome...don't forget to visit the Petaling Street -am sure tdol will experience first hand what I mean by the language being adapted to suit the Malaysian purpose!

  8. #108
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    Default Re: British English or American accent?

    I am from the US and can honestly say that I prfer the English Accent. The american accent (well, my accent) can sound very harsh. But, if you sound better with the English, go ahead.

  9. #109
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: British English or American accent?

    Quote Originally Posted by samsiahk
    In the Malaysian case, the Malaysian English is used for maintaining solidarity (this has been proved in several studies done...this is due to many reasons, one being that English is the language of our then-coloniser, British). tdol is coming to KL in a couple weeks' time, so welcome...don't forget to visit the Petaling Street -am sure tdol will experience first hand what I mean by the language being adapted to suit the Malaysian purpose!
    I'll make sure I do. It will be interesting for me to see an Asian country where there is a British English influence- at the moment, I'm in Japan, where American English dominates and before that I was in Cambodia, where American and Australian English wee the most commonly taught.

  10. #110
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    Default Re: British English or American accent?

    well to me i see the British accent is much better i am trying to learn it. it is hard i think it will take time till i do.

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