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  1. #1

    British English & American English

    I am a Chinese girl, and I am a freshman in university. My major is English. My teacher told us that if you really want to speak english very frequently,you'd better choose one kind,British English or American English .It is not so good for english major students to speak a fixture english.And my teacher also said that British english sounds better but it will be a little difficult to learn.
    I want to improve my speaking English to a higher standard.So I want any of you to give me some advice.Should I try the British English or American English?Thank you very much.

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
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    Re: British English & American English

    It's not up to us, really. You're the one who is going to have to learn it and apply it from this day up until the end of time. So, which one do you like? Consider these,

    - the percentage of people in the world who speak a variety of British English; e.g., European countries, Australia, Canada, India, China, the Philippines, and more) out number those who speak American English.

    However, there's also opportunity and exposure to contend with.

    -American English is popular because of its Media. Media is today's Shakespeare. Everyone in the world watches USA movies, buys USA brands, and listens to USA music.

    -differences in pronunciation and vocabulary shouldn't impede effective communication. But will other speakers be able to understand your accent? Which variety of English works best for you?

    -how many British or American English teachers will you have access to? If you choose, say, to study American English, and your university hires a British native speaker, how will you fare?

    -If it's not good, as you say, for an English major to speak a fixture of English, then what say you about Chinese nationals who speak both Mandarin and Cantonese, or Chinese who speak more than one dialect of Mandarin; i.e., Heilongjiang and Beijing? Variety is power. After all, isn't Chinese much like English in that both have more than one dialect?

  3. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
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    Re: British English & American English

    Actually, you can't compare the dialects of Chinese with the dialects of English. Chinese dialects are mutually unintelligible: when the Chinese President visited Hong Kong, all the Hong Kong Chinese tuned in to the English news because they couldn't understand a word of Mandarin.

    You don't have the same problem with English. Americans, Canadians, British people and Australians can all understand each other without much trouble -- except perhaps for a few words and phrases here and there.

    Even though I am a Brit, I would actually suggest American English, as thanks to Hollywood it's probably more universally understood. Whether British English sounds better than American English is a matter of opinion; an educated American accent sounds fine in my ears, and there are some British accents I find unpleasant (Black Country and Geordie, for example); others will disagree. It is true that many Americans consider a British accent to sound somehow better and even attractive, but that may just be due to the popularity of James Bond.

  4. Ouisch's Avatar
    Key Member
    English Teacher
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    • Join Date: Mar 2006
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    Re: British English & American English

    I agree with the others, whether you speak British or American English, you'll be able to communicate with a native speaker. Depending upon your field of study, American English might be preferable. For example, air traffic controllers and computer technology professionals (especially those that work on "help" desks) are expected to speak American English.

  5. Casiopea's Avatar

    • Join Date: Sep 2003
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    Re: British English & American English

    Quote Originally Posted by rewboss
    Chinese dialects are mutually unintelligible
    Chinese who live Heilongjiang Province (North), Beijing and Shanghai (South) speak different yet mutually intelligible dialects of Standard Mandarin.

    (Psst. The comparison wasn't between the Cantonese "language" (spoken in Hong Kong) and the Mandarin "language" (spoken on the mainland).

    More clearly, Chinese nationals who speak both Mandarin and Cantonese have more opportunites than nationals who speak only one or the other. Variety is power. The same holds true for dialects. Mandarin, like English, has more than one mutually intelligible dialect. Nationals don't have a choice in the dialect matter; you speak whichever dialect the people around you speak. However, if you travel around China, you have opportunity to learn more dialects of the same language, or are required to do so, especially if you want to communciate your wants and needs. How different is that from learning English? If you travel to English speaking countries or to countries where English is used as the international language for communication, you need to know its different dialects. People in those countries learn different varieties of English, too. So, given EFL in China, what dialect should an English major learn? Isn't it obvious?
    Both BrE and AmE is recommended.

  6. Editor,
    English Teacher
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    Re: British English & American English

    I'd say it could also depend on where you think you will be using your English- American English is more common in Asia, but in Europe, British English is more common.

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