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Which is more popular in Japan: British English or American English?

107 Comments
By Connie Sceaphierde, grape Japan

As a Brit living in Japan, I’ve found myself on a number of occasions needing to defend my version of English against those from other nations, namely those that form the core Anglosphere – Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States

Back home, I recall intrigue for accents and dialects from across the pond(s) generally being positive, but for whatever reason, once we step outside of our motherland there is a sort of unspoken hostility in the air over ‘who says what best’.

Though the tension is only between us English speakers, it seems that the blame actually lies with those involved in the industry of studying the language, as pupils and teachers try to sort the variations of our language into groups of something along the lines of ‘most understood internationally’ or ‘easier to understand’.

This often leads to unnecessary and somewhat childish conversations over who speaks the better version of English (I mean, I thought I left the talks about pants versus underwear back in my teens, but somehow they’ve resurfaced in Japan).

On the extreme spectrum of which English is better, some English language schools will even require their teachers to teach a certain type of English regardless of where they actually hail from, this can lead to both stress on the teacher and limitations to the students' capabilities.

It can also lead to students not realising there are more versions of English than the one they are learning, a good example of this was when I introduced myself to a Japanese native in Yamaguchi. She asked where I was from, and when I replied England, she asked me what language we spoke there. At the time I was so shocked, and I kept playing the scenario over and over again, "How could somebody not realise that English comes from England?"

1_brit_v_ame.jpg

At the end of the day, we should really just be accepting of each other’s versions of English. There is really no right or wrong, but alas, people will be people.

Nobody’s really taking count, but a recent survey conducted by English conversation app Native Camp asked students of the language to state which, out of American English and British English, they preferred and why.

Of the 436 Native Camp users who took part in the survey, 78.2% chose American English, whilst 21.8% favored British English. These numbers don’t really surprise, when noticing the majority of schools and eikaiwa across the country prefer to teach American English.

But what’s actually interesting is the reasoning why these students prefer one type of English over the other.

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The following is a list of the most popular reasons given by those who chose American English.

– “Because American English is easy to hear.”

– “I have the impression that it is more commonly used across many countries.”

– “I was learning American English at school so American English is more familiar.”

– “Because I watch American English movies, dramas, etc.”

– “Because American English is used by more people worldwide.”

The reasons why those who choose British English are listed below.

– “British English is more polite”

– “Because I like the pronunciation of British English.”

– “Because I want to learn traditional English.”

– “Because British English is more authentic, it sounds intelligent.”

– “British English is better. It feels graceful and noble, and it's easy to pronounce.”

Some of these reasons do feel a little biased or based on stereotypes, for example, I’ve never felt worried about travelling across the world just because I speak British English instead of American English – In fact, most of the times I’ve travelled internationally I’ve worried more about knowing a few phrases in the language of the country I’m visiting rather than whether my English will be understood by the locals.

But it may also be true that American English is at least more widely broadcast across the world than British English.

I would also disagree that British English is easier to pronounce, but that’s down the individual decide.

I myself find the categorization of English to be annoying to a degree, as well as quite disrespectful.

Sure, when I was younger I may have joked around about the way things are said outside of Britain, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve found myself adopting ‘Foreign English’ words, and thereby expanding my personal lexicon and pronunciation instead of limiting it.

It seems to me that if English is such an international language, then it shouldn’t really have these borders set up that confines it to one region or another.

After all, ‘Tomayto Tomahto’ right?

As for a lot of the English-sounding foreign loan words found in the Japanese language, what many don’t realize is that these words such as アルコール コーヒー and ポン酢 originated not from American, British, or any other form of English, but from Dutch. That’s a subject for an entirely different day, but if you are interested, wikipedia has a glossary of Japanese terms that have Dutch origins.

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107 Comments
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The reasons given for preferring to study US English are mostly logical and fact-based, while the reasons for preferring UK English are emotional and feelings-based.

So, if one is studying ESL for practical reasons, the former is probably the better choice. If it is for pleasure or to simply expand one's knowledge, the latter might be a better choice.

-12 ( +7 / -19 )

That's the least of the problems facing English 'teaching' here.

25 ( +27 / -2 )

The reasons given for preferring to study US English are mostly logical and fact-based, while the reasons for preferring UK English are emotional and feelings-based.

That's certainly correct in terms of the examples given, but those who gave those answers may not have been correct.

"British" English is spoken very widely - that's the standard taught in European schools, and also in the ex-colonies.

https://moverdb.com/british-vs-american-english/#:~:text=In%20addition%2C%20Canada%2C%20Australia%2C,British%20English%20is%20the%20standard.

This map shows which countries teach American English - overall, very few. Internationally, British English is the version you are most likely to come into contact with.

However, it doesn't matter too much - you'll be understood whatever version you speak.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

There are more Americans here than Brits and more American companies. I always teach my wife both when there is a difference.

More useful, and easier to spell is American English.

There are also the others, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, India and Singapore.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

They might say they're teaching and studying American English here, but their pronunciation is much closer to British English. Even terms used for school grades and extracurricular activities are British not American.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Hearing Asian people speak with an American accent is excruciating. However hearing them speak with a lovely British accent is like music to my ears.

-4 ( +15 / -19 )

American and British english mean different thing

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

It's been a while but I can't help but wonder if Japan (and South Korea) still have a lower payscale for non-White native-level English teachers? That has always been my primary deterrent to applying for a teaching position there or South Korea. Not playing the race card or anything but I would like to be paid the same amount for the equivalent workrate of my White colleagues. I just laugh thinking of a hypothetical job interview between White teaching candidates that are Glaswegian, hillbilly American, or Bush Australian! LOL!

-11 ( +5 / -16 )

What about Scottish English. Beautiful accent but if Americans sometimes have trouble understanding them, what chance do the Japanese? I've known some eikawas that have refused to hire Scottish candidates if they can't actively switch their accent to a more neutral UK accent while teaching. That being said, Outlanders is an awesome show

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

It's been a while but I can't help but wonder if Japan (and South Korea) still have a lower payscale for non-White native-level English teachers? 

no, everybody gets the same pathetically low salary, regardless of race or colour.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

American English is most popular however I enjoy hearing British English.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I'm not an English teacher but as a Brit living here, whenever I speak English here it's more of a generalised 'international' English in terms of word choice, slang etc. Definitely not the same English I speak back in London. A good tip I've discovered is to listen out for the words that the non-native speaker is already using and use those same words back to keep the conversation going smoothly

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Accents are local tones and widespread in both languages. For teaching, a neutral tone is a must.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Which is more popular in Japan: British English or American English?

The word 'British' is not necessary in that title.

There is English, then all other variations of it. i.e. American English, Australian English etc, etc.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

There are now loads of different variations and accents of English, from national (American, Nigerian, Australian) to regional (Scouse, Scots).

Learning a language is a huge investment in time and effort. For that reason I'd suggest learning a modern version of Received Pronunciation (RP). It is regarded as a neutral standard and is traditionally associated with educated speakers and formal speech. In other words, it makes you sound a bit posh.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Yeah, like this is the most pressing problem regarding ESL in Japan...

7 ( +8 / -1 )

In Britain, TV companies like the BBC had strict rules that presenters and newsreaders spoke neutral English or the "Queen's English. That changed, and now they speak with a very wide range of accents.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It all depends on what you’re used to. My wife spend more time in the States and Canada so for her American English is easier for her to understand, but I know some Japanese were studying British English and felt that it was easier to understand than American English. Just depends. My kids told me they had a British teacher back when they were in the 5th and 6th and they were having an extreme difficult time understanding what he was saying. I understand. I think though the schools need to be consistent, neutral should be the standard whether you’re a Brit or an American.

If they’re too heavy and you constantly switch around the kids, it can be very confusing to distinguish which dialect is which, as well as slang words thrown in, it all doesn’t help. I hear this all the time. Not everyone speaks like James Earl Jones.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

My wife went to the UK for one year to attend the Pitman Language School suppose to be one of the best.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I have an anecdote on this matter. (Although personally I don't think it matters whether students learn American, British, Australian, or some other kind of English: "what do you like Japanese food?" sounds wrong in all of them).

Many years ago I did the ALT gig, like many of us did. One of the yearly events was the speech contest, usually on some trite theme like peace, peace, peace, why Japan is super-special, peace, food, or peace.

My school had a couple of kids participating so the head English teacher and I took them along to the location of the contest.

The last category was for returnees who were, obviously enough, generally at an entirely different level to the others. We got to the last two (neither of which were from my school, so I was able to be objective). The first girl came up and started her speech in a decidedly US accent. I'm from the UK, so I couldn't pinpoint it to a particular region, but it was absolutely an American accent. She was pretty good, but you could still hear little hints that she wasn't native. I can't remember what her speech was about, but I'm pretty sure it was one of the above-mentioned trite subjects.

The last student came up and started her speech. I was sitting next to an Australian ALT from another school, and within a few seconds of this girl starting to talk, this Australian ALT and I turned to each other with this look which said "hang on a minute..."

This girl didn't just have a British accent. She sounded like she had stepped out of a pathe news commercial from the 50s. Close you eyes and you would be absolutely convinced that you were listening to a native speaker who went to a private school at considerable expense. Her theme was somewhat unconventional, as I recall, but she was on a completely different level to anyone else there.

The girl with the American accent won.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

It's fun, not something one needs to denigrate, look to find fault, as if there has to be so called right or a wrong.

I find criticism of this type, how the English language is interpreted linguistically a form of snobbery.

Six Differences Between British and American English

https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/six-difference-between-britsh-and-american-english/3063743.html

Pete and Norm, I find Norm a tad irritating.

Now the Queens English.

6 ways to get an English accent that’s posher than the Queen’s

https://blog.collinsdictionary.com/language-lovers/6-ways-to-get-an-english-accent-thats-posher-than-the-queens/

Posher! Enough to start kicking the furniture. Posher!....Ahhhhh!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

We don't say 'gotten' in the UK.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

One of my favorite sentences which I found in a textbook was:

What are you going to give him to do?

When I presented it to students pronounced as written, they had little difficulty understanding it. But when I presented it as an average American might say it:

Waddayagonnagivimtado?

they had no idea.

And my students who traveled internationally told me that it was easier to understand other non-native speakers of English than native speakers of English.

And GBS who always had something to say had something to say about British English: "It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman hate or despise him," - George Bernard Shaw

Hmmm...

And the strangest experience I had with non-native English was speaking with a woman who had spent considerable time in London and the combination of the clear London accent and the clear Japanese accent totally confused my American ear...

And then there is Scottish English...

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

There is English, then all other variations of it. i.e. American English, Australian English etc, etc.

Which 'British' English is "English"?

0 ( +6 / -6 )

It is worth remembering, UK, there are at the last count, close to 40 different dialects, spelling, word structure associated with the English language.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Waddayagonnagivimtado?

A close cousin to "do you know what I mean?", which comes out as "notemean?"

1 ( +2 / -1 )

When your English is bad, choosing between UK and US English is the least of your problems. If you have a certain level of competence, you won't be bothered by these and other varieties (with the possible exception of Singlish which really grates on the ears). If you think these differ a lot, try Arabic and you'll see what variety means.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

And my students who traveled internationally told me that it was easier to understand other non-native speakers of English than native speakers of English. 

That can happen. In my experience, I’d say many Scandinavians pronounce English more clearly than many native English speakers. Generally crystal clear. Listen to ABBA…

That said, and no offense intended, I struggled to understand the English of business contacts in Thailand and Vietnam. My Japanese coworkers ( good English speakers ) said they could catch about 20% of it. Most of my business was with China but my ear became pretty well tuned to Chinese pronunciation. I’m sure the same would have happened with Vietnamese or Thai speakers of English given enough time. I don’t have the best ear for this.

Which 'British' English is "English"?

If you mean standard, I suppose it would be something approaching RP. Even the more snobby, middle-class wannabe Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish speak something approaching this. The English who call a ‘toilet’ a ‘loo’ are the usual speakers of this dull, bland, lifeless way of speaking.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

@O'Brien

Great story. JT rarely gives me a laugh.

Tell me more about peace though ;)

5 ( +5 / -0 )

After all, ‘Tomayto Tomahto’ right?

Tomayto or the equally ear-grating Tomaydoh makes my teeth stand on end.

Hearing Asian people speak with an American accent is excruciating.

To be honest, it's not only Asian people.

What about Scottish English.

We once had a lovely Scottish lass come to us as an ALT. Her lilting voice was as music to my ears. When she was teaching, she apparently made a conscious effort to speak in a way that the little children would understand, then she would come to our house and say she worried the wee bairns dinnae ken what she sayed tae them.

The English who call a ‘toilet’ a ‘loo’ are the usual speakers of this dull, bland, lifeless way of speaking.

I probably picked up 'loo' during my time at university, bu'tha'dun stop me torkin proper t'rest'ert'time.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

In simple terms, the version of English taught roughly correspponds with which country (The US or the UK) last invaded or had administrative control.

The sun never sets on the British Empire.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I love the sound of Welsh-speaking English. Reminds me of my nana. Scots too.

"But it may also be true that American English is at least more widely broadcast across the world than British English."

That may not be true. BBC World has the highest number of viewers and radio listeners across the world. Broadcast in English in more than 200 countries and territories across the globe.

A total of 438 million people from around the world came to BBC News on average every week in the year to March.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-53517025

BBC World Service 150 million daily listeners. Reaching people who do not have TVs.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I probably picked up 'loo' during my time at university

Flush that word down the toilet. As bad as ‘restroom’, ‘bathroom’ or ‘washroom’.

I like a variety of accents. I must admit I find the standard US accent a bit whiny and the standard UK accent dull and lifeless. That said, they are useful for clarity. I like the accent I heard when I lived around Dallas and I like the English West Country accent along with Geordie. I like broad Australian too.

My favourite is west coast of Ireland. My mother could make reading the instructions for inserting a suppository sound beautiful.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

'loo' is actually derived from the French phrase 'guardez l'eau', which means 'watch out for the water'.

Recently repainted my toilet in a nice sandy colour after much black mould. Hung some of my paintings in there too. Really nice. Hung a sign on the door "Loovre". Lovre, yes!

9 ( +9 / -0 )

I'm not sure which is more popular but Japanese schools teach British English. We speak American English at home so the kids get confused because there are differences. For example, my son got marked wrong for writing "on the weekend" versus "at the weekend". It can be very frustrating. I had to tell the teacher (Japanese) once that "on the weekend" might not be British English but it's not incorrect English so mark it correct.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I remeber going to a school who had employed a Scot with a very heavy accent as an ALT.

You can just imagine the result when the kids started practicing their English.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There is no "British English" and "American English".

There's English, and then there's modified English. Only 'modified' is too general in its meaning. A more apt term would be "Arbitrarily and infrequently altered English, just different enough to be annoying".

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

When I was travelling around the Philippines 10 or so years ago, a local said to me, 'Excuse me sir, your English isn't very good, are you German?' I said no, I'm from England. 'She said oh really? What language do you speak in England?'

Anyway as I was reading the article, you said you was a Brit, but you used a smattering of British English and American spelling with that ghastly middle English 'gotten' instead of 'got'.

I would never resort to picking up American words just to sound like an American if I was to live in Japan. I would respect my British English & its words & spelling and not use words that were banished three centuries ago.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

JimizoToday  12:55 pm JST

My favourite is west coast of Ireland. My mother could make reading the instructions for inserting a suppository sound beautiful.

I laughed. This is my sentiment too.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"My hobby is sleeping" is American English, amirite?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japanese schools teach British English.

None of the ones I've had any interaction with do, though of late some of the textbooks do seem to be trying to introduce the idea of different types of English in different countries, eg., by pointedly setting a home-stay situation in London, having English-speakers from Singapore join in a conversation, etc..

my son got marked wrong for writing "on the weekend" versus "at the weekend". It can be very frustrating.

lol I feel for you. I work checking the English used in school supplementary textbooks, and very often I come across phrases - like on the weekend - that I cannot bring myself to pass by without comment, to the effect that only Americans use it, the rest of us say at the weekend. I do try to be fair though, and have pointed out that fortnight, while a perfectly normal ordinary common word in real English, is not used and probably not understood by the majority of Americans.

Flush that word down the toilet. As bad as ‘restroom’, ‘bathroom’ or ‘washroom’.

I agree wholeheartedly with you about restroom and washroom, but bathroom is a perfectly good word to use when referring to a room with a bath in it****.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I remember reading an article online about an American ALT working in a school somewhere or other. She was asked to help prepare some kind of test, maybe a listening test.

During the preparation of the test, a town called "Carmel" in California turned up in one of the questions. The Japanese teacher apparently pronounced it incorrectly - stress on the wrong syllable, or something. The ALT politely corrected the teacher's pronunciation. The teacher brought out a book which apparently proved their pronunciation correct, and would not be persuaded otherwise.

The ALT was from California.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

tooheysnewToday  08:32 am JST

Hearing Asian people speak with an American accent is excruciating.

Yea, let's clump Asians all together while differentiating "British" and "American" English. lol

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The ALT was from California.

Reminds me when I'm in other countries and people tell me about how Japan is, and how Japanese people are.

I just say "ok" and let them babble.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I would never resort to picking up American words just to sound like an American if I was to live in Japan

I There are some great words and expressions that are worth picking up from each other, and I don’t want to sound like anything other than my Scouse origins.

Please pardon the vulgarity, but my US coworker loved my use of ‘sh#te’ rather than ‘sh#t’ when I was describing something silly coming from management. He thought it had a softer sound yet more emphatic feel about it. He used it a lot.

I still remember a wonderful expression I heard in Texas when describing a stupid person - ‘He couldn’t pour the p#ss out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel’.

I also like the word ‘sketchy’ for ‘dodgy’.

I’m off to live in the US for a few years at least in the near future. Plenty more to learn and share.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Jinglish?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I'm not an English teacher but as a Brit living here, whenever I speak English here it's more of a generalised 'international' English in terms of word choice, slang etc. Definitely not the same English I speak back in London.

You'd probably make a good English teacher then. When I taught in Japan (mainly to technical staff at companies), the general idea was to teach "international English". While not clearly defined, it was assumed the students would be speaking English with people from various countries and probably with other non-native speakers. Americanisms or Britishisms played little part. Out of work and when drinking with colleagues from various countries, I was often referred to as the incomprehensible Scot, but I don't recall getting complaints from students.

'loo' is actually derived from the French phrase 'guardez l'eau', which means 'watch out for the water'.

But the phrase "gardy loo" is usually associated with Edinburgh. It was called out when emptying a bucket of slops into the street from a tenement window.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Must be car-MEL, not CAR-mel. The JTE should use a website like dictionary.com, which shows where the proper stress is, instead of insisting that the English textbook published in Japan is free of mistakes.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Sure, when I was younger I may have joked around about the way things are said outside of Britain, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve found myself adopting ‘Foreign English’ words, and thereby expanding my personal lexicon and pronunciation instead of limiting it.

Irony? We don't use 'gotten' in the UK - well, not unless it's people brought up on those awful American teen dramas.

I did an online TEFL course and I'm surprised I got through it - it was American English, so it was using words and phrases that I would never use. I feel sorry for non-American teachers and kids having to learn English. If they go to Aus, NZ or the UK they'll be baffled by not just the accents, but also the dialect... just teach BBC English and everyone will be easily understood :)

7 ( +8 / -1 )

And what of the variations within a country?

Are Cockney, Geordie, R.P, Yorkshire, Scouse etc accents British English?

Are NY, Southern, Boston, Mid-West, Californian, Texan etc accents American English?

The best spoken English is the English that conveys the information in an understandable manner and fulfills the requirements of all parties - speakers, recipients & observers.

There is no debate.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

When I went to Europe while in college, I noticed that most Europeans when they spoke English spoke British English. More recently, it seems to me that most Europeans speak American English. Our relatives over there told us that in school they can now choose between the two types, and study what they wish.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

My friend is a TESL teacher in the UK. Most of his students came to the UK specifically to learn what they describe as ‘proper’ English, after initially being taught US English at home. When he taught abroad he was popular with students for the same reason.

The WC debate? Toilet, loo, lav, lavatory, bog, khazi are all preferable and more accurate than the twee ‘bathroom’. And don’t get me started on ‘restroom’………..

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I think many Japanese like US English because it is the form used in movies, though others feel that British English puts them more in touch with classical literature.

Personally, it don’t make me no never mind, but I think “Bloody Hell!” Is a bit overused.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

As an American I find British English to be uptight, condescending and prudish. Australia, NZ, Singapore, and even India "English" seems to be more open and fun. I get solicitations to teach American English because it is thought to be more global but also fun! American phrases like "chill the hell out" and "don't crap yourself" are far more desirable to learn than Oh, Penny it whilst be fine in time. People around the world are always trash talking Americans but they love our directness and honesty in communications. I have a lot of student who wish their culture would allow it. That is why American English is popular in a word "rebellion."

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

I believe American English is more popular in Japan purely because so much western culture comes to Japan from the US. That is why Japanese like boring blueberries rather than beautiful blackberries.

When I came to Japan, I was surprised by the way all western music seemed to come from the US. Japanese people used to point out that they listened to the Beatles, Stones and many British bands. I had to point out that that music came to Japan from the US. No one listened to them until they had stormed the US, been the biggest thing to hit the US music scene since Elvis Presley. Only then did their music come from the US to Japanese ears.

Japanese are too impressed by American culture.

When they ask me if they should learn British or American English, I point out that the purpose of learning English is not to speak to Americans or British. English is a lingua franca. They should learn to speak English to communicate with Indians, Chinese, Germans, to communicate with people all over the world.

Someone stated that British English is spoken in former British colonies. American English is spoken in only in countries like the Philippines, Korea, Japan which were occupied by the US or otherwise came under the US sphere of influence. The rest of the world uses a form of English derived from and closer to the British version.

Which should Japanese study? My answer to that is as long as it is an intelligible and fairly standard form, it doesn't matter.

I remember a British friend telling me a student complained he couldn't pronounce English properly. He later discovered that the student's previous teacher was a scouser. He came from Liverpool. A good standard English whatever country it comes from is what is needed.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Luddite, I always preferred Crapper. I think the gentleman should get his due! :)

I have found on my travels that if you were taught English, it was easier to understand the other variants whereas people brought up with the variants had a greater degree of difficulty comprehending each other, though not impossibly so and after a few beers the problem vanished!

On a sensible level I agree they are just variants on an original core language and not so different as to be incomprehensible, yet.

On a not sensible level, there is English and then there are all the others that get it wrong :)

3 ( +3 / -0 )

 American English is spoken in only in countries like the Philippines, Korea, Japan which were occupied by the US or otherwise came under the US sphere of influence.

Yes, and it was by design, not happenstance.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I dunno which is “more” as not much English is spoken.

But I think I can guarantee that British people will get all up in arms about it and get upset (while defining their way as correct) as Americans learn that theres a country called England

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Queen English .

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

The loo, the john, the bog, the head, gents or ladies, cludgie Scottish, dunnekin, khazi, latrine let not forget the privy.

May have missed a few out, but the wonders of the British/English language.

The Welsh have the wonderful toiled.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

American phrases like "chill the hell out" and "don't crap yourself" are far more desirable to learn than Oh, Penny it whilst be fine in time.

As a Brit, I have never heard Oh, Penny it whilst be fine in time and I have no idea when or why a person would say it.

Peppering your speech with gratuitous four-letter words is not ‘global but also fun’ nor is it a sign of ‘directness and honesty in communications’; it’s crass and low-life, and a sign of a stunted vocabulary - regardless of the national pedigree of the English being thus violated.

British people will get all up in arms about it and get upset (while defining their way as correct) as Americans learn that theres a country called England

Not up in arms about it, not upset; and our way is correct.

Most Americans do know already that there is a country called England. What blows their minds is learning that people there speak English.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Americans learn that theres a country called England

We also learn to use apostrophes, especially when we are insulting someone.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Queen English

I don’t know that many people who speak like Freddie Mercury. ;)

7 ( +7 / -0 )

As an American I find British English to be uptight, condescending and prudish.

You mean uptight and prudish like calling a toilet silly euphemisms like a ‘restroom’, ‘bathroom’ or ‘washroom’?

It’s a toilet, mate. No need for euphemisms. Nothing to be embarrassed about.

Oh, and swearing is ‘swearing’. No need for uptight silliness like ‘cursing’.

The prudish and uptight ‘BS’ is another. Say the word in full.

Also, people have ‘problems’. Saying they have ‘issues’ doesn’t make them any better. Be honest and direct.

The WC debate? Toilet, loo, lav, lavatory, bog, khazi

I don’t mind the plebby ‘toilet’, ‘bog’ or ‘khazi’ or the posh ‘lavatory’. It’s that horrible wishy-washy, bland, middle-class ‘loo’ which irritates me.

Pick a side.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

History of English.......

https://www.englishclub.com/history-of-english/

Latin influence in the English Language.....also Greek.

We are a community of nations first and foremost.

I think that is more than defining what came first.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

https://www.english-culture.com/latin-influence-in-the-english-language/

Missed the link

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In America, there are real restrooms where you can take a shower, polish your shoes.

But my favourite toilet is in a pub in Liverpool called the Philharmonic with Victorian urinals.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Considering my Japanese friends I guess American English is being taught but in a fairly understandable manner.

I'm German, my English class teachers were Germans too, so the first thing I opted for was to eradicate any trace of German accent. Listening to the BFBS and BBC1 for hours a day, repeating everything I heard recording on tape until I was satisfied with my pronunciation, picking up lines from various speakers - and various dialects.

When I went to London many years later nobody thought I was German - they guessed at everything from Estonia to Aberdeen but that was good enough for me at the time.

By now I have adopted an understandable, inoffensive Transatlantic English. I usually adjust to the accent I'm spoken to.

But expressions like "dinna", "canny" and "wey aye" still creep up, as well as replacing "oo" for "ow".

Anything sounds better than a German accent.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

We don't say 'gotten' in the UK.

Eeh lass, av ye gotten forgetful?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Anything sounds better than a German accent.

No way. English spoken with a German accent sounds great. To my ear, it sounds intelligent and sophisticated.

The Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp speaks excellent English with a German lilt and he’s one of the most engaging speakers you’ll come across. I think the accent adds to it.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

During the preparation of the test, a town called "Carmel" in California turned up in one of the questions. The Japanese teacher apparently pronounced it incorrectly - stress on the wrong syllable, or something. The ALT politely corrected the teacher's pronunciation. The teacher brought out a book which apparently proved their pronunciation correct, and would not be persuaded otherwise.

If California then the ALT is correct, carMEL. CARmel is in Indiana, a suburb of Indianapolis.

Any Hoosiers here in Japan?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp speaks excellent English with a German lilt and he’s one of the most engaging speakers you’ll come across. I think the accent adds to it.

John Terry's English is my favorite. He speaks gently. Gerrard's English, you had to concentrate to catch everything. Great rivalry.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@ Jimizo: True, Klopp's English isn't too bad but I was always reminded of old war movies in which the Germans had lines like "Ve heff vays to make you talk!" and such. Or English speakers trying to speak German, like "Feldwaybel, hair!" (Feldwebel, hierher!) which wasn't much better.

Friends of mine sporting a heavy German accent had been greeted with "Hyle Hitlar!" before and as I loved Britain I just tried to avoid such embarrassments.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There is no such thing as 'American English'. There is English, and then there are mistakes.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Folk can choose. Do they want to speak like Colin Firth or Donald Trump?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Yggdrasil English...

'was' where 'were' should be...2X

Just jazzing ya, Mate.

For example, my son got marked wrong for writing "on the weekend" versus "at the weekend

Ah, English prepositional phrases! Nightmare to explain to students...

@Zichi

More useful, and easier to spell is American English.

Except Americans have no respect whatsoever for vowels...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp speaks excellent English with a German lilt and he’s one of the most engaging speakers you’ll come across. I think the accent adds to it.

His English is exceptional, but I have to admit that I do enjoy hearing Nuno Espirito Santo speak after a game. His level of English is amazing considering (like Klopp) that they never lived in an English speaking country until they got a job in one. That level of language mastery is admirable.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I speak American English but rather like the sound of British English. They originated the language so you have to give them the nod for the most correct form. My wife has a very difficult time with British English. When we visited London I was asked on numerous occasions to translate from British to American.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Whenever possible, I prefer the original Oxford English as it has been tried to be taught at my school. It’s very ‘stylish’ and sounds real noble and British. And if I need something to enjoy or funny, I like to listen to the English variant spoken in India, as it can be heard in their news or in those IT learning videos. Very nice, and it’s a great fun to copy or imitate. Anyway, there are so many English language variants out there, most of them even most natives wouldn’t understand immediately, something spoken in urban London, by a fisherman at the Eastern coast of England, Cornish English, that in Kentucky , Kansas, Scotland’s Edinburgh, or in an Australian village, for example. There isn’t a clear British or American English in my opinion, but you can guess from the sound or if something is written with o instead of ou and of course the most famous, tomatoes, potatoes or trucks and lorries. lol

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hearing Asian people speak with an American accent is excruciating. However hearing them speak with a lovely British accent is like music to my ears.

That would depend on the person you're speaking with or what appeals to them, I have heard the opposite British English hundreds of times.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

The royal family learns British English.

Japan drives on the left,.

Doesn't change hands when using a knife and fork.

Adopted a parliamentary monarchy.

Japan went out in the world in the 1800's to study how to best thrive in the new world and decided England should be the model. It was a small island nation, with a monarchy, the largest empire that came from the strength of simply claiming land and controlling populations by force if necessary. And it did that by developing a powerful navy. That's what Japan did. Be proud, arrogant and superior...

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Members of the imperial family study at UK universities.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Doesn't matter to anyone, Japanese still says 'Rabu', when it is actually "Love"

0 ( +2 / -2 )

'loo' is actually derived from the French phrase 'guardez l'eau', which means 'watch out for the water'.

@zichi - I believe that this is an urban myth. The etymology for 'loo' is unknown.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I speak American English but rather like the sound of British English. They originated the language so you have to give them the nod for the most correct form.

I don't think that there is a correct form. The accent has changed radically since America was first inhabited on both sides of the Atlantic.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

SvenAsai - agree with you post.

'cept in Australia there are no "Villages".

There are towns, small towns and wide spots in the road.

No one uses the word village - well almost no one.

Recently the term has crept into the local vernacular as part of the "boutiquification of society".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Folk can choose. Do they want to speak like Colin Firth or Donald Trump?

Hehe.

How about Morgan Freeman or Richard Burton?

Here’s Richard Burton doing the verb ‘to be’:

https://youtu.be/fDNCEp8Utjo

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As most Japanese are going to do business in Asia or be tourists there then that is the English that should be ‘familiar’

Learning dialects spoken thousands of miles away or fretting over the stress in words is not going to be of much use…

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The most important aspect of any language is the ability to communicate which does not always need 100% proficiency. Sometimes you can communicate even without speaking a word. Loved the facial expression on the face of Greta Bundaberg when Trump walked into the UN building.

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/b1f737e386ed60b0787a688283383e5200c3a79c/17_309_1588_952/master/1588.jpg?width=620&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=79613b2d6d13e6022de40e6e0a55c8d5

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I only ever really hear Japlish...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There's No such thing as American English.

Perhaps the article is referring to USA version of the English language.

Japanese seem to be constantly unaware that America is a continent not a country.

USA version of English language is not as descriptive as British english and comparably lazy in its pronunciation.

Ive found that Japanese find it easier to understand British English but find it easier to speak USA English.

Depending on the regional dialects of course.

Conversational dialogue verses formal or informal or slang and the situational requirements for using the language can be easily misunderstood .

For Japanese to initially learn British English and then the other versions is best in my opinion.

I don't consider any form of pigeon English to be actual English language but rather a form of slang adopted to be made easier for the speaker.

After 5000 yrs as the oldest country in the world Japan still doesn't have its own national language whereas British English is a national language.

There's no mandatory second language in the USA whereas most European countries do have mandatory second.

Japan most certainly has its traditions but culturally most is introduced from Korea, China and European.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

japlish

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Are you including grammar because American lack grammar, EG. I have two gaols in our district. Compared to American. I have 2 jails in our area. When using numbers in a sentence, one to ten is written in word form but from 11 on numbers are written in number form. There are other example also were grammar or the lack often appear in American.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

As an ESL student, American English seems more relaxed yet, British English sometimes seems more formal and business-like.

*@John-San 6:46pm, *perhaps we should be more open to it all and less condemning of one or the other? One poster, *@zichi *recommended the “Grammerly” app for assistance and “Spellcheck” before posting that You may want to review. For example:

“*Are you including grammar, because American’s lack grammar, EG. I have two gaols [goals] in our district. Compared to American. I have 2 jails [??] in our area. When using numbers in a sentence, one to ten is written in word form but from 11 on numbers are written in number form. There are other example also were grammar or the lack often appear in American [English?]” -*

Best Wishes in all your continued studies.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I would urge everyone to read O'Brien's comment, which is very funny and which also has the ring of truth...I am somewhat bi-dialectal in English and can thus claim neutrality. What I dislike is chauvinism from whichever quarter. ..It should not be forgotten that there are dialects within both British English and American English, especially the former. I have a good friend who, though of Irish origin, speaks "standard" Southern British English. When she lived in Japan and taught English, she was falsely regarded as a snob by colleagues who spoke with northern accents...I loathe English-speaking contests, though years ago I was pressured into attending a few and even once served as a judge in one...One young lady came to me with a speech written in dreadful English, all about how sad it is that foreign words have polluted the Japanese language. (That's another standard topic.) I corrected the grammar and spelling and tried to change the more idiotic claims. Later I was castigated by a student, the young lady's senpai. He told me that I had dared to alter one of the club's oldest and most sacred speeches. The silly girl hadn't even come up with her own silly ideas. After that, I had nothing further to do with any of that utter absurdity.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Are you including grammar, because American’s lack grammar, EG. I have two gaols [goals] in our district. Compared to American. I have 2 jails [??] in our area. When using numbers in a sentence, one to ten is written in word form but from 11 on numbers are written in number form. There are other example also were grammar or the lack often appear in American [English?]” -

Best Wishes in all your continued studies.

Again, it all depends on what you are used to. There are differences between the two and that was not by accident, it was intentional to differentiate and for Americans to create their own identity and that is perfectly fine, we are NOT British and that was the entire purpose of gaining our independence. We streamlined it made it easier to communicate and disposed of all the unnecessary vowels and consonants that we thought weren't phonetically ideal to simplify it. American English evolved and has become in theory its own unique language, some might find it appalling, but that goes both ways and although our English evolved from the Brits, we do not strive to sound or to emulate their language. They have Oxford dictionary, we have Webster's. Personally, I could care less where a person is from and what version of English they speak, but the Brits do not hold the monopoly of the language, nor can they claim that they speak the correct or proper version of English of standardized English and thanks to them through migration, colonization as well as evolution, and demographics there are many versions and dialects of the English lanuage.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I'ts not really British English anymore anyway its United kingdom English or United states of America English.

Which is best to learn depends entirely on the individuals choice or availability.

There are some spelling differences between the various styles of English that may be problematic for some.

USA people may think that they simplified the English language but then they need to use too many words to describe something complex. Becoming less efficient.

Similar to putting smaller wheels on a car and calling it more efficient because its easier for short people but takes more repetitions to travel the distance.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

it was intentional to differentiate and for Americans to create their own identity and that is perfectly fine

Absolute guff. When people went from Britain to America, they spoke with various dialects. Naturally these evolved just as dialects back in Britain evolved.

We should also remember that English, Scots, Ebonics, Jamaican, Californian, etc. are all dialects or sub-dialects of Geordie.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

There are other example also were grammar or the lack often appear in American [English?

Nuff said. Less is more.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We should also remember that English, Scots, Ebonics, Jamaican, Californian, etc. are all dialects or sub-dialects of Geordie.

I thought it all started at a party with Germans and Vikings.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If everyone spoke Canadian English the world would be far better off.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

JimizoAug. 23 09:33 pm JST

As an American I find British English to be uptight, condescending and prudish.

Also, people have ‘problems’. Saying they have ‘issues’ doesn’t make them any better. Be honest and direct.

This is because of political correctness.  One does not want to hurt someone's feelings, do we?   Here’s another example.  The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program used to be called “Food stamps”.  But that was supposedly too demeaning.  People may need food stamps for a certain amount of time, and that is fine, but not continuous generations of the same family. Maybe a little embarrassment may propel them to find employment.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I’m partial to Indian English myself.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Gaol is correct. Goal is a score. My attempt a English is always incorrect. But I have never had a person say WTF are you trying to say. What usually happens is the person understands the sentence but has to tell me of my mistake. So why the do they bother to reply if they understand and agree. Like I am going to go back to school to better my English. Don’t think so. And thank for pointing out my mistakes like I give a.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We don't say 'gotten' in the UK.

Or gonna, wanna, .... or many other lazy words or phrases

0 ( +0 / -0 )

John-San You do realise these words have different meanings?

Don't you think explaining context is important when teaching vocabulary?

Gaol is correct. Goal is a score

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Gaol is correct.

Both gaol and jail come from different kinds of French, so it isn't really yours anyway. As long as you only put the bad people there, what difference does it make that US and British spelling and pronunciation is different? One way isn't more right. It's just the one you use.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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