American English? British English?
by Elaine Gallagher Many times people might comment or ask you: «Is this book/movie based on British or American English?» Having grown up in the […]
by Elaine Gallagher
Many times people might comment or ask you: «Is this book/movie based on British or American English?»
Having grown up in the northeastern region of the USA, known as «New England», I had never, ever heard that question until I moved to Mexico. We might have referred to the accent, but nothing more.
It honestly seemed to me to be a silly question, about the equivalent as, «Is this book based on Spain’s Spanish or Mexican Spanish?»
Those of you concerned about Cambridge Exams, Trinity Exams, TOEFL and the like, let me assure you. NO student will obtain a low score simply because of the country of origin of the exam, the examiner, or the student. It is a very poor excuse when one doesn’t do well on an exam, saying as an excuse, «Well, our teacher is an American from USA, but the test was the Cambridge exam.»
About eight years ago, the British Council in San Sebastian, País Vasco, Spain, told me…
WE DO NOT DIFFERENTIATE ANYMORE…WE NOW TALK ABOUT «INTERNATIONAL ENGLISH».
FURTHERMORE 90% OF ENGLISH NOW USED IN SCIENCE, MEDICINE, and TECHNOLOGY IS AMERICAN ENGLISH, NOT THE QUEEN’S TONGUE.»
So, administrators, teachers, students, and parents: RELAX. Learn and practice English based on CLIL philosophy, and you’ll do fine.
Yes, there are some words and spelling differences between the two countries (USA/England).
Below I’ve included some charts with words or phrases that exhibit differences. Be prepared…but don’t worry. You’ll do well!
AMERICAN / BRITISH ENGLISH
|bathroom||loo or WC|
|license plate||number plate|
|line (to line up)||Queue|
|parking lot||car park|
|zip code||postal code|
BRITISH / AMERICAN ENGLISH
-or vs. –our
-ll vs. –l
-og vs. –ogue
-ck or -k vs. –que
-ense vs. –enze
-ze vs. –se
-er vs. –re
-e vs. -oe or –ae
-dg vs. -dge (or -g vs. -gu)
BRITISH / AMERICAN ENGLISH
|not touch something with a bargepole||not touch something with a ten-foot pole|
|sweep under the carpet||sweep under the rug|
|touch wood||knock on wood|
|see the wood for the trees||see the forest for the trees|
|throw a spanner (in the works)||throw a (monkey) wrench (in the works)|
also two pennies’ worth, two pence worth, two pennyworth,
two penny ‘th,
|two cents’ worth|
|skeleton in the cupboard||skeleton in the closet|
|a home from home||a home away from home|
|blow one’s trumpet||blow (or toot) one’s horn|
|a drop in the ocean||a drop in the bucket|
|storm in a teacup||tempest in a teapot|
|flogging a dead horse||beating a dead horse|
|haven’t (got) a clue||don’t have a clue or have no clue|
|a new lease of life||a new lease on life|
|if the cap fits (wear it)||if the shoe fits (wear it)|
|lie of the land||lay of the land|
In some cases, the «American» variant is also used in BrE, or vice versa.