Is it tue that when a student starts to learn English he or she should choose either AmE or BrE to concentrate on, but not both?
In real life, students have no choice. They have to learn the English their teachers impose on them.
NOT A TEACHER
The differences between AmE and BrE are not something a beginner should worry about in my opinion. If you compare the BrE version of English Grammar in Use with the one written for students of North American English, you'll notice that they are nearly identical. The differences between AmE and BrE are important, but not in the beginning stages. The basics are common to both Englishes. This is just my personal opinion.
***** NOT A TEACHER *****
May I add my two bits to the discussion?
I agree that a student should choose one variety and try to become an "expert" in that variety.
I am 75 years old, and there is still a lot about American English that I do not understand. I learn something
every day when I read the questions and answers here at usingenglish.com.
Here in the United States, there is a somewhat similar discussion going on regarding the Chinese language.
Should Chinese-language classes teach Americans the traditional ways to write Chinese characters, or should they use the
simplified characters that were introduced in the 1950's? Furthermore, should American students be taught Mexican
Spanish or Colombian Spanish or Argentine Spanish or ...?
As you can see, language is a very sensitive issue. I believe that it has often led to wars. On a less serious note, a few
years ago, I posted my opinion on another grammar helpline that students should learn variety X of English. My post
was deleted because that helpline believed that variety Y should be taught to everyone!
On a more humorous note, some years back I laughed out loud when I read a letter written to a British magazine
in which an Australian gentleman demanded that the magazine change from British spelling to American spelling. The
magazine commented on his letter with three words: "What a nerve!" (P.S. That magazine still uses British spelling.)
- I was speaking to a gentlemen from London a few weeks ago (a native Englishman) and he used the word "vacation".
- Some speakers of BrE use -ize endings in words such as realize, organize and so on.
- I have heard two speakers of AmE use the following phrase, which is usually attributed to BrE: That's a load of rubbish.
So if you have time on your hands, try to learn as much as you can. That would be my "non-teacher" advice!
Last edited by Chicken Sandwich; 17-Sep-2012 at 14:07.
If you learn English in Australia, New Zealand, etc, you learn neither BrE nor AmE. Many of us have not suffered at all from this.