British and American English
Often studying English, students do not even know what kind of English they are taught – American or British. Meanwhile, it is important to understand what kind of English to teach. This is of great importance for those who are going to enter the English-speaking universities in the future, to communicate in the international environment, to confirm the knowledge of foreign certificates.
So what is the difference between American English and British? And which one to choose for studying it for you?
British English is the so-called academic English. For centuries it developed within Britain, so it remained as much as possible “conserved”. The mentality of the British is best manifested in relation to their own language – this nation does not like change, hence in English there has been little change over these centuries.
The same love for formality resulted in almost puritanical linguistic predilections – not to simplify one’s own speech. For example, it often meets “can not” instead of “can not”, “have not” instead of “have not”, “are not” instead of “are not”.
Undoubtedly, there are more serious differences – British English respects all the nuances of temporary forms that we used to teach in school – “I have just finished it”, for example. That is, here Present Perfect clearly indicates the completeness of the action. American English for this characteristic can use the usual Past Indefinite with the help of the same adverbs just / yet / already: “I just finished it”.
The American version of the English language continues to change today. If you look at such popular resources as Urban Dictionary you can see that most neologisms originate in the USA. In principle, this is historically justified, since even in the XVII century the first British settlers in America shared their language with many other nationalities. As a consequence, British English underwent multiple influences from other languages and dialects.
Americans strive to simplify the language as much as possible. Hence the simplification of temporary forms (for example, the above-mentioned Present Perfect and Past Indefinite), the abbreviation of some words (professor-prof, mother-mum and others), and even the rejection of some forms of conjugation (shall now only used in British English, at that time as in the American its place is occupied will – hence now for all future tense forms of the verb to be).
Well, the American accent, of course, is very different from the British one. By the way, if you learn English in the US, then the pronunciation can vary slightly from state to state.
What is the English version to teach?
Studying only British English, you will certainly understand the Americans. The main thing is to remember the main differences. However, if you are going to enter an American university, it is much easier to learn immediately the American version of the language. But if you are aiming for Britain, the American language will be much less useful to you and will create an extra mess. After all, some simplified forms of the American in Britain are considered a lexical and grammatical mistake.
In any case, as is known, the road will be mastered by the going. And if you want, you can learn both versions of the language, using any of them as necessary.