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The Basics of English Linguistics Vol.2 - English as a Global Language -

English Language


1. Diverse English in the World

English is NOT a single language.
It is full of diversity all over the world as the following examples show.

1-1. British English(Queen's English)

Deeply related to the history of invasion by Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Scandinavian and French whose languages influenced the English itself, which highly changed it.

1-2. American English(President's English)

Came into the north America and developed in the 17th century.
The origin is the English spoken by Shakespeare and Milton.
Patriotism drove American people to be independent of the U.K. not just politically but linguistically in the late 18th century.

1-3. Canadian English

The same origin as American English because it came from the English language spoken by royalists who escaped from American Revolution and came into Canada between 1776 - 1793.
Later on, a number of immigrants were sent there by the U.K., which led to collisions of American and British accent.
It is said that Canadian English sounds like mix of American English with British English because of the historical context.

1-4. Australian English(Aussie English)

Uniquely developed by immigrants from the South-East part of the U.K later than the 18th century.
The grammar and pronunciation basically inherit those of British English but it has specific accents particularly recognised in rural areas.
Also Aussie English has a variety of slang(e.g. "G'day" as Casual "Hello", "sunnies" as "sunglasses", "Ta" as casual "Thank you").

1-5. New Zealand English(Kiwi English)

The grammar and pronunciation basically inherit those of British English but it has specific features in pronunciation and slang.

1-6. English as an Official / the Second Languages

Spoken among countries which were historically colonised by the U.K, such as India, Sri Lanka, Kenia, Tanzania, Singapore, the Philippines, Hong Kong etc.

1-7. Pidgin English

Spoken in commerce and brief communications among Africa, areas along the South Pacific and the Caribbean Sea where people has traditionally traded with the U.K.
They speak concise English mixed with their native languages.
Chinese language hardly tell /p/ from /b/, which changed /b/ sound into /p/, dropped /s/ in the last syllable and turned pidgin.

1-8. Creole English

English spoken by offspring of Pidgin English speakers.
It has richer vocabulary and complicated grammar used in various daily scenes.

1-9. English Spoken among Specific Communities

e.g.) English spoken by people of colour.

2. British English VS American English

2-1. The Same Words but Different Meanings

Word British American
corn grain Indian corn
first floor the floor of a building above the ground floor the ground floor of a building
rubber eraser condom
pants underwear trousers
chips fried potato crisps

2-2. Different Words to Mention the Same Object

British American
lift elevator
luggage baggage
lorry truck
biscuit cookie
mobile cell(celluar)
petrol gasoline
single ticket one-way ticket
return ticket round-trip ticket
sweet(s) candy
CV(curriculum vitae) Resume
shop store
flat apartment
tube / underground subway
pavement sidewalk
wash basin sink
film / cinema movie
fun fair amusement park
graduation ceremony commencement
queue line
wireless radio
gaol jail

2-3. The Same Words but Different Spellings

British American
colour color
cheque check
centre center
theatre theater
omelette omelet
organise organize
grey gray

3. Conclusion

  1. Diverse English in the World: British English(Queen's English), American English(President's English), Canadian English, Australian English(Aussie English), New Zealand English(Kiwi English), English as an Official / the Second Languages, Pidgin English, Creole English and English Spoken among Specific Communities
  2. British English VS American English: Differs in meanings, spellings and objects to mention

4. Reference

  • Kiyoaki Kikuchi, Kazutomo Karasawa, Ryuichi Hotta, Yasuyuki Kaizuka,『英語史:現代英語の特質を求めて-多文化性と国際性-』, Osaka, Kansai Humanities Publishing, 2009
  • Kiyoaki Kikuchi, Takeshi Kioke, Kazutomo Karasawa, Ryuichi Hotta, Kazuki Fukuda, Yasuyuki Kaizuka, Takeshi Matsuzaki,『英語学:現代英語をより深く知るために-現代英語の諸相と英語学術語解説-』, Osaka, Roban Shobo Publishing Co.,Ltd., 2008