Shenzhen Stuff

American English or British English -- A Poll (of sorts).

I have been teaching English in SZ now for over three years and I am curious to know the honest answer to the age old question. Which do feel is a better English to learn and why? Some of my students tell me that they prefer to learn American English (some because they think that's what I want to hear) because it is easier, more casual, etc. Some tell me that they want to learn the British English because they feel it is more proper, better for business in HK and Europe, etc.

Please tell me (HONESTLY) which do you like best and why. Thanks.

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Comment by Rory Penland on May 2, 2008 at 3:33pm
Did I mention that British boys call their Mom's Mummy? The rest of the world's mothers might take offense at being called "an old bandaged rotting corpse". (drum riff here) BTW - What happened to Mike's comments?
Comment by Cynic on March 25, 2008 at 11:31pm
Hi Rory, afraid bird and fag are just common British slang, not Cockney ( I was married to a Brit for 10 years and have 2 daughters there). Cockney is actually rhyming slang. Here is an excellent website: http://www.cockneyrhymingslang.co.uk/
Comment by Rory Penland on March 25, 2008 at 7:05am
Don't even get me started on Southern American English. Aiyaaa!!!
Comment by Rory Penland on March 25, 2008 at 7:05am
There's another way that British English differs vastly from American English - Cockneye. Thank you for that. "Do you like birds?" (The Cockneye Brits calls girls, birds). "You want a fag?" (Cockneye Brits call cigarettes fags). Very confusing.
Comment by Alex155 on March 24, 2008 at 3:34pm
raspy, slightly ebonic, and yet sharp witted amero english = chris rock
hehe... sorry for the omission
Comment by Cynic on March 24, 2008 at 3:15pm
I don't think it really matters, both are fine. It's the British accent that many students find difficult (Scot is worse) that many choose American or Canadian English Teachers as they say it is easier to understand them. Besides, not a whole lot of difference in the two and even British English is full of slang. Anyone teaching Cockney to their students??
Comment by Alex155 on March 24, 2008 at 2:46pm
dont all men want to sound like bond? = )
sean c. rocks!

yet, that raspy, slightly ebonic, and yet sharp witted amero english is what i like as well

right now, im proud to say in the process of writing, "how to speak korchinglish" (korean-chinese-eng) soon to be released at your local book store
Comment by Rory Penland on March 24, 2008 at 2:36pm
Ah! Back to the subject at hand. People seemed to enjoy my explanation of how American English differs from British English, with Mummy's in England being mothers while Mummies everywhere else are wrapped up dead things - Ewwww! The Brits call cookies and crackers bisquits which is very confusing. In America, bisquits are bread - kind of like baked dumplings actually. Labeling each item a different name makes better sense. Cookies are sweet and crackers are usually salty. Etc. Etc. Eetc. The response has been so positive (from all but 1) That I have decided to share ten more ways that the versions of English differ.

1.) The British call a small enclosure between rooms "a corridor". The Americans have changed this to "a hallway". Big rooms are known as halls, so connecting them with hallways seems a better choice.

2.) The British take claim to the word "resolve" but American's shortened it to the much more manageable "solve". Let's face it, in most cases when you begin a word with the prefix "re" it means to do it again. Solving a problem right the first time is much more effective.

3.) The British call their legal representatives "solicitors". In America, a solicitor is a salesman (and we usually call them a salesman because it just sounds nastier than solicitor). We call our legal representatives "lawyers" (as in practitioners of the law).

4.) The British call the place where they store dishes and canned goods a "cupboard". Though they are usually made of wooden boards and you do store cups in them, the American word of "cabinet" (small cabin for storing things) rolls off the tongue better now doesn't it?

5.) When the English want to go and see someone, they "call in" on that place or person. With the invention of telephones, this has made the act of explaining calling on someone very confusing indeed. American's have changed this again to the very silly "stop by", "drop in" and "pop in". The word "visit" is the best understood word for this and should be used to avoid confusion.

6.) The British will say that there house is "in the street" as in the old 80's song "Our house, in the middle of our street". American's say my house, on _____ street. If a house were "in the street" - cars would be driving through it.

7.) The British call young learners "pupils". I am not sure as to why they do this as a pupil is a part of a persons eye that lets light in. If you stand in the dark, a pupil gets bigger. When the lights come on, a pupil gets smaller. Not true about young learners in any country (I hope). American learners are called "students" -- as in studious ones (and that is a laugh in itself - don't get me started on that).

8.) The British pronounce the word "schedule" - "shedoole" with the C being silent. In America, we say schedule with a "k" sound - like school. We don't say shool and neither do the Brits. So why say shedoole?

9.) Speaking of school - in America, the person in charge of a school is known as the Principal -- a word meaning "the most important". In England the top man in an educational institute is called "The Headmaster". What are they teaching these kids?

10.) In England (and Australia) they call each other "mates". In America (and most everywhere else) we refer to people who are close to us as "friends". I always thought a mate was someone who did what the Captain told them on a ship. With friends like that... who needs enemies, right?

Again, I felt compelled to push the point here a bit, because some people still deny that there are differences in good old refined and proper British English and the laid back casual and carefree American English.

I hope you enjoyed this latest installment.
Comment by Rory Penland on March 21, 2008 at 6:57am
Were you telling the truth when you said you were an uneducated interior decorator who sponges off the rich - a fool and his money are soon parted, right? Or were you just being ever so silly? Wait a minute... what does this have to do with American English? Doah! You did it to me again!!!
Comment by Rory Penland on March 21, 2008 at 6:55am
I happen to like Abbott and Costello, The Marx Brothers and Laurel & Hardy. I also like Monty Python, Benny Hill, Dave Allen, Rowen Atkinson and The Two Ronnies. Your point is mute as usual if not non-existent. Another hit and run insult with no substance at all PAM. Hardly worth my time.

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