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American English
Thread poster: lingomania
lingomania
Local time: 11:54
Italian to English
Apr 23, 2007

Have you ever been asked to teach American English to a class/individual? I have and they seem to be HIGHLY confused by the term American English....comments welcome of course.

Robert


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James Murphy  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 02:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
Confusing? Apr 23, 2007

If they're asking for something, surely they know what they're asking for, i.e. that they know English is spoken slightly differently in America than in say Britain, in this case.

Where does the confusion arise?


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liz askew  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 02:54
Member (2007)
French to English
+ ...
American English Apr 23, 2007

Well, perhaps part of your job will be to explain the differences between American English and UK English!

Spelling, accentuation, grammar, where does one begin?
Just look at any dictionary to see the different spellings.

And then, there are historical reasons...

Aren't languages a fascinating subject?


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Debi Vaught
Local time: 03:54
Swedish to English
+ ...
It's not just spelling Apr 23, 2007

An American's point of view.

There are terms which are not in use in British but quite common in American and vice versa.

Spellings are also at issue, especially for teachers.

honor - honour, for instance.

Every piece of work I do into English gets a phone call from me directly to my client - with the question of "British or American or some other version of English?", only because I used to get files sent back with:
"spilt" is misspelled for "spilled" or:
"I've never heard the term 'going long', what is that?" or:
"People are 'in hospital' not 'in the hospital', please keep that straight."


It seems to us to be most noticable in sports terms and in spellings of words with '-or'/'-our' and '-ed'/'-t', but those are not the only problem areas.

At first, I had a Brit checking any question areas for me, now it's almost a second nature.


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Tamara Swanger
United States
Local time: 20:54
English to Russian
+ ...
Dialects of English language Apr 24, 2007

Perhaps, exposing kids to a variety of native speakers of the target language (using tapes or media) will help to clear the confusion. There is a Web page called -"The English Department "(maintained by British council) , which contains a lot of articles, facts and figures about English language/dialects, as well as an interactive world map...
Best regards,


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bishan sharma  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:24
English to Japanese
+ ...
They speak American! Apr 24, 2007

Dear Lingomania

Do you know in America they say that they speak American and not English? This means that the two are so different in origin and practice. But it is sure that Mr. Bush can understand Mr. Claire very well and vice versa. They don't need any interpreter to help them.
I think the best similarity between the two we can find is that both use the same alphabets.
Teaching American and teaching English are entirely two different worlds. It's not just the pronounciation, grammar or spellings. Experience the two and you can feel the difference yourself distinctly and widely.
Will it help you in anyway? Hope so!


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Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:54
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
Never heard that Apr 24, 2007

bishan sharma wrote:

Do you know in America they say that they speak American and not English?


I've been living hear for fourteen years now, and I never heard anybody saying they speak "American"... a (very) few may say they speak American English.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:54
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Bush speaks English? Apr 24, 2007

bishan sharma wrote:

Dear Lingomania

Do you know in America they say that they speak American and not English? This means that the two are so different in origin and practice. But it is sure that Mr. Bush can understand Mr. Claire very well and vice versa. They don't need any interpreter to help them.
I think the best similarity between the two we can find is that both use the same alphabets.
Teaching American and teaching English are entirely two different worlds. It's not just the pronounciation, grammar or spellings. Experience the two and you can feel the difference yourself distinctly and widely.
Will it help you in anyway? Hope so!


Mr Bush speaks English? I hadn't noticed.

Incidentally, I lived in America for a few years. On two different occasions a conversation with an American who naturally spoke with an American accent went as follows:

American: I just love your accent!
Me: Oh, thank you. I love yours.
American: (amazed and puzzled) *I* don't have an accent ...

Regards,
Jenny.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 21:54
English to French
+ ...
Reply to Bishan Apr 24, 2007

Hey, Bishan, do you know that America is not a country but a continent?

In fact, I am in Canada and hence am also American. Oh, and I am also in America, just like "Americans" are - in fact, so are Mexicans, Peruvians and Costa Ricans... I can't stand it when Mr. Bush goes on TV to say stuff like "Americans are addicted to oil". Speak for yourself, Mr. President! I use maybe about 50 litres of oil per year - can you call that an addiction?

I just had to let off some steam, and you opened the door.

[Edited at 2007-04-25 06:21]


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lingomania
Local time: 11:54
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Apr 24, 2007

I think the confusion mentioned above arises from the fact that many "would-be" students REALLY believe that American English (including Canada of course!) and UK English are TWO HIGHLY DISTINCT languages.....like say Italian and Spanish!!!! This is where the uninformed media, bad educators, etc. come into it! Trisha and Sheema (respectively from Texas and a town in Canada) tell me that TRUE, the teaching of grammar in U.S. schools is NOT that thorough, but for heaven's sake, a student in England, a student in the USA and a student in Australia LEARN THE SAME grammar in their respective schools!!

Robert.

[Edited at 2007-04-25 12:32]


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 21:54
English to French
+ ...
The differences that really matter Apr 25, 2007

I think the only situations where the difference between the two should be given serious consideration is when we move to more technical language - and that ain't taught in school, as folks down South would say

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lingomania
Local time: 11:54
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Yes Apr 25, 2007

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:

I think the only situations where the difference between the two should be given serious consideration is when we move to more technical language - and that ain't taught in school, as folks down South would say


I agree, but to some extent. In mechanical engineering, the terms used by American and British firms are quite the same apart for some spelling differences.

[Edited at 2007-04-25 12:35]


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James Murphy  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 02:54
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other "international" languages Apr 25, 2007

lingomania wrote:

Have you ever been asked to teach American English to a class/individual? I have and they seem to be HIGHLY confused by the term American English....comments welcome of course.

Robert


Robert,

are you teaching a class of mixed origin? If there are any students that speak languages with various regional dialects (such as Spanish/French/German/Arabic) you can make a similar comparison with their language, for example:
Spanish in Argentina differs widely form say Spanish in Bolivia or Chile, two neighbouring countires.
That might hit home a lot easier than trying to outline the differences between the two, as to a non-English speaker British/Irish/US/Canadian/Australian/NZ dialects/accents all sound very similar, but to a native we can spot them right off.

Do you get me?


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lingomania
Local time: 11:54
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Apr 26, 2007

James Murphy wrote:

lingomania wrote:

Have you ever been asked to teach American English to a class/individual? I have and they seem to be HIGHLY confused by the term American English....comments welcome of course.

Robert


Robert,

are you teaching a class of mixed origin? If there are any students that speak languages with various regional dialects (such as Spanish/French/German/Arabic) you can make a similar comparison with their language, for example:
Spanish in Argentina differs widely form say Spanish in Bolivia or Chile, two neighbouring countires.
That might hit home a lot easier than trying to outline the differences between the two, as to a non-English speaker British/Irish/US/Canadian/Australian/NZ dialects/accents all sound very similar, but to a native we can spot them right off.

Do you get me?


Yes, I know what you mean, but no, the group is formed of Italian students only.


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Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 07:24
Member (2006)
English to Hindi
+ ...
Americans I have met speak Hindi! Apr 26, 2007

I have met quite a few Americans - Patels, Sivaramakrishans, Chatterjees and Raos.

They speaking various tongues - Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil, Bengali and Telugu.

America (I mean both the first nation and Canada) are fast becoming multilingual, multicultural nations like India and very soon English (American or otherwise) will become just one of the languages spoken there.

So why spoil our sleep for such trivial issues as whether American is English or some other language?


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