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  1. #1
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    Default Which English is it?

    I just took a quick test, to test the test, so to speak.

    I discovered that the test that I took was designed for Oxford English, which is quite different than American English.

    I think I would have been more clued into the fact had I noticed any words spelled the 'Oxford' way.

    If I am misunderstanding this, I would be certainly glad to discuss why someone believes that storey is a proper word to indicate building levels.
    (American Heritage Dictionary disagrees with you.)

    Also the use of draught. It is not used in the US according to the same source.

    And being a sometimes draftsman, I'd better be labeling the stories of a building correctly.

    (I only do this when electronic control systems are revised and the buildings drawings need updating to reflect the change in systems.)

    Maybe Funk & Waggonel and Webster's disagree with American Heritage?

    Wholeman

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Which English is it?

    The American Heritage Dictionary does not disagree:

    Chiefly British Variant of story
    storey. The American HeritageŽ Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000.

    BTW, Merriam-Webster just has it down as a variant, rather than a BrE spelling:
    Definition of story - Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

    Why is it a proper word? Because that is the British spelling:
    Cambridge Dictionaries Online - Cambridge University Press
    AskOxford: storey

    You seem to be implying that American English is the only variant that is acceptable. We don't agree; users use their own spellings and their own variants. We have British, Canadian, American, Pakistani, Indian and other contributors. I, for instance, am a British English speaker, so I use BrE forms and spellings. English is an international language and the usage on this site reflects this.

    Our view is laid out here: http://www.usingenglish.com/profiles...es/000353.html
    and here http://www.usingenglish.com/about.shtml
    Our view of another bugbear for some American speakers is here: http://www.usingenglish.com/profiles...es/000358.html

    Much of the site is written in British English, simply because most of the contributions have come from BrE speakers.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Which English is it?

    Actually, my complaint isn't that the test uses Oxford English.

    My complaint is that it does not clearly state that this test is specific to Oxford English.

    (I can pass it if I know in advance.)

    I've translated Oxford English into American for others in the past.

    I was pointing out that if you make a test specific to one or the other, it should be clearly stated prior to the test taking.

    Had I been aware of it, I'd have whipped through that sucker and Bob's your uncle!



    Wholeman

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Which English is it?

    I am not sure what you mean by 'Oxford English'; it is a subset of British English, and we don't use it exclusively any more than the Queen's English. Learners today have to deal with the variants of English and they do. Learners are well aware that there are differences and, while there are obviously things that can cause trouble, by and large they manage it well. Language doesn't come labelled with the variant, so practising (or labeled...practicing) doesn't do them any harm.

    You would be labeling the stories correctly and I would be labelling the storeys correctly, but my first floor would still be your second floor.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Which English is it?

    True as that may be, it still does not address the fact that a test was designed with a specific set of rules without that set being identified.

    If I give you a spelling test, I'll mark off colour, favourite, honour, enrolment, metre, dialogue, programme, counselling, pyjamas, lighted, and equalling as misspelled.

    Now, you as an ESL have learned that spelling this way is incorrect, however, when you take a test written by someone else, and you spell things, color, favorite, honor, enrollment, meter, dialog, program, counseling, pajamas, lit, and equaling, you are again marked as incorrect.

    As a student trying to learn English, you have now learned what?

    (For me it would be, don't take tests unless someone defines what set of rules are being used ahead of time. Thus, my statement is re-enforced. )

    If a specific set of rules are used to determine if an answer is correct, they should be delineated prior to the test being administered.

    If generic English rules are used, no explanation of the rule set is necessary.

    English is difficult enough without making it impossible to be right.
    You see, if both rule sets were used on the same test, you will always get two wrong, no matter what you answer.

    Therefore on my profile, when asked what my native language was, I specified 'American English'. Although, Canadians do live on the North American Continent, they speak Canadian English.

    Now we see, the Brits spell it as, aeroplane and Canadians spell it airplane. Amortise being the Queen's English, while Canadians use amortize.

    Now personally, I like the way the English spell titbit, rather than the Canadian tidbit.

    Whenever you hold someone to measure, the scale should be apparent to all.

    Wholeman
    Last edited by Wholeman; 31-Oct-2007 at 02:18.

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Which English is it?

    ESL language tests allow both spelling systems; you can use American English in exams from Cambridge ESOL, etc. I really have to disagree with you that 'pyjamas' is misspelled. An ESL teacher who's up to snuff should be able to cope with a relatively small list of alternative and variant spellings. Many coursebooks cover the issue. 'Pyjamas' would be marked wrong only in a test of American English spelling. American speakers are free to take exams like IELTS and the Cambridge suite, written in British English, and can answer in the variant that they have learned. If an American English learner sees a question that says 'He put ____ on his pyjamas' and the answers are 'on/off', they will still be able to answer it.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Which English is it?

    I totally agree, however, when a computer adminsters a test, you cut out the ESL instructor completely, which is why it's important to design the test well.

    A simple acknowledgement that should you have gotten questions #X & #Y wrong, and use American English, you are actually correct for your usage.

    By delineating and highlighting the differences, you not only teach proper grammatical usage in one dialect, you aid the student in learning to recognize when a different system is in use.

    Wholeman

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