>American English vs. British English

>I’m probably opening up a huge can of worms here, because I think there are British gringas here in Chile, but I swear I’m not trying to offend, just state my opinion. Plus, this whole topic actually stems from a conversation I had at a hostel in Mendoza with some Dutch boys.

As an American English speaker, nothing makes me angrier than seeing those signs from the Instituto Britanico that say “Aprende EL MEJOR Inglés!” (Learn THE BEST English).

British English* is not BETTER than the English spoken in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, etc. It’s just DIFFERENT. Some people claim that British English is “best” because that is where it was originally spoken. I would just like to remind those people that back a few centuries ago when the British colonies GAINED THEIR INDEPENDENCE that pretty much gave them the right to develop whatever sort of English they wanted

Some textbooks even look down on American English and customs. Case in point, taken from Cambridge University English for Business Communication, pg. 2:

In the US it is considered rude to stare–regardless of who is looking at whom. In contrast, the polite Englishman is taught to pay strict attention to the speaker, to listen carefully, and to blink his eyes to let the speaker know he or she has been understood as well as heard. Americans signal interest by bobbing their heads or grunting. (Emphasis my own).

WHAT THE HECK? Seriously? Granted, we do kind of do that, but couldn’t they say it in a nicer way? For example, “by nodding their heads or voicing agreement” would be much nicer. But no, instead they portray Americans as little more than cavemen. Plus the fact that the British speaker is portrayed as a “polite Englishman” while the Americans are just plain Americans.

I wish I had time to expound more on this topic, because I have a lot more to say, but I have to go plan a Business English lesson, and the book I was going to use has proven to be completely incompetent ;).

*No, I obviously don’t consider the term “British English” to be redundant. Don’t even get me started on that.


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