Types of English Language: Differences and Variations
English language has become the third most spoken language next to Chinese and Hindi. It reigns in culture, business, diplomacy, communication, science, and the Internet. However, though as the global lingua franca, English varies on how it is used, either written or spoken. As there is no official or standard type of English to be used, either American or British English, it is best and advisable to adhere to using one specific type for clarity, quality, and consistency, especially in written form. Such use of any type is subjective and one's preference, unless of course if mandated.
With over 500 million speakers, the English language has become the third most spoken language next to Chinese and Hindi (first and second language speakers combined). Its widespread use and prominence around the world are attributed to the colonization and expansion of the British Empire that ruled in many parts in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the political influence and economic dominance of USA from the late nineteenth century to the present day.
Today, English reigns in culture, business, diplomacy, communication, science, and the Internet, and is one of the six official languages of the United Nations. However, though as the global lingua franca, English varies on how it is used, either written or spoken.
The English language has two types: British English and American English. Other variations such as Oxford English, Standard English, or other variants are mere adaptations of the two types (especially for consistency or reference use, e.g., in media or publication).
British English (or UK English) is the term used by Americans in referring to versions of English used in the UK and outside America. This term is used to distinguish the quality of written English language used in the UK from other varieties. However, Commonwealth English is the more appropriate term and universally known. In the UK, as being taught in schools, the formal form of written language, referred to as British English, has a slight emphasis on a few words that are localized, but the form is consistent, especially the essential features.
Furthermore, Americans also used the term British English in referring to the spoken versions of English language used in England, whereas the British people claim that they speak "real" English and the rest of the world does not, having different or nonstandard accents. However, on the contrary, dialects and different variants are evident within the UK. In parts of England especially, spoken language has varied dialects. One area has one specific dialect, and another has its own group language or variant. The substantial differences and variations can be found mostly in the way the language is spoken particularly in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.
(or US English) is the most prominent form of English language used
today all over the world. It is characterized by archaisms (words that
changed meaning in the UK, but remained in the colonies) and innovations
in vocabulary (borrowing from the French and Spanish who were also
settling in North America). Its widespread distribution and high
acceptance are due to the popularity of USA in part through its
products, books, films, and music.
In the USA, American English and its regional variations not only have persisted but also actually have intensified. These variations have rooted from the elements of the original language of immigrant groups, especially in terms of pronunciation and vernacular vocabulary.
English is the mother tongue in South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, etc., and in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Bangladesh, and many other countries, it is the second language. In India, Australia, Singapore, South Africa, and Hong Kong, British English is used especially in teaching of English in schools, whereas American English has made impact in schools of China, Japan, and other Asian nations.
In some other countries, varieties and subvarieties of English are used. Among these varieties, none is considered "correct" or "incorrect", except in terms of the expectations of the particular audience to which the language is directed.
In conclusion, written forms of American and British English, as found in newspapers, textbooks, and publications, vary in their essential features (e.g., spelling, grammar), with only occasional noticeable differences in comparable media, etc. On the other hand, spoken forms vary in dialects and variants particularly with respect to pronunciation, idioms, and vocabulary. As there is no official or standard type of English to be used, either American or British English, it is best and advisable to adhere to using one specific type for clarity, quality, and consistency, especially in written form. Such use of any type is subjective and one's preference, unless of course if mandated.
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