Teach English in Renhe Diqu - Beijing

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British English vs American English British English and American English are the forms of English used in the united kingdom and the united states, respectively. In an article written by Walt Wolfram and Natalie Schilling-Estes explain that Americans look on British English more favourably than American English, implying that one form is more important than the other (Wolfram, Schilling-Estes). However, in this article, I am going to discuss the importance of both forms and whether we do infact need just one form or whether both should be taught. David Crystal claims that English affects communications, motion pictures, travel and education and that English is being learned by roughly a billion people in the world (Crystal, 1999). The uses of both forms of English are taught in many schools and academies, depending on the teacher and the establishment. British and American English affect our everyday lives whether we are aware of it or not, through music, popular culture, our everyday language etc. Many Latin Americans who immigrate to the United States speak American English and Asians who immigrate to the united kingdom end up speaking and learning British English. However, when teaching it as a foreign language, this can be difficult as countries such as france and spain often establish in language academies what they believe to be ?Standard English? (Wolfram, Schilling-Estes, 1998). In ?written? terms, there is not much difference (Ferguson et al, 2004) but orally there are many grammatical differences that can cause confusion and miscommunication. ?Suck on a dummy? in British English means for a baby to suck on what Americans call a ?pacifier?. However, this sentence in American English would be very vulgar. Therefore, if a student says this abroad in the United States or another place where they speak American English, this will leave a student feeling rather embarrassed. This, of course, depends on their level but can be unfair if they are not aware of this difference in language. The Harry Potter book, which is an English book, had to be ?translated? and replace British English words such as ?Cor? and ?blimey? with more American vocabulary so that it fits in with the context and language that Americans can familiarise themselves with (Ferguson et al, 2004). There are many tefl teachers from countries such as the united kingdom, United States of America, Australia etc. Therefore, can we expect a teacher from the United States to teach ?British English?? They will not only be unfamiliar with the grammar and vocabulary but also the idea of learning British and American English is to make students familiar with cultural diversity and that other forms of English do exist. There are exams, such as TOEFL, that specialise in foreign students learning American English to be able to enter American universities (ets.org). However, there are other exams which do specialise in British English, such as the ?Cambridge Assessment?. These exams offer coursebooks to children, which specialise in the Cambridge Assessment exams such as ?Starers?, ?Movers? and ?Flyers? (cambridgeesol.org). Therefore, this demonstrates that both types of English are important and in demand and that both can be useful depending on the purpose. Although, there are exams that do not give much importance to the type of English such as TOEIC and IELTS. Coursebooks such as ?Starters?, ?Movers? and ?Flyers?, however, do recommend teachers to teach the American English words as well as British English words (Robinson et al, 2010). This is to make the children aware that other types of English do exist, which in my experience, makes the children more culturally aware. Children often capture ideas very quickly so they are able to conform to the appropriate language according to their teacher. Wolfram and Schilling-Estes say that ?Language differences are unavoidable? as we live in a society where there are many cultural groups and societies (Wolfram, Schilling-Estes, 1998). This allows me to draw the conclusion that English is developing into many types all over the world, including Canada, Australia, India etc. This then raises the question again on whether we should teach both forms of English and in my opinion, the only thing we can do, as teachers, is to make children as fully aware as possible that British and American English do exist and expose them to it as much as possible. Word Count: 708 References 1. Crystal, David, The Past, Present and Future World English 2. Ferguson, Charles Albert, Finegan, Edward, Heath, Shirley, Language in the USA: themes for the 21st Century 3. Wolfram, Walt, Schilling-Estes, Natalie, American: Dialects and Variation 4. Robinson, Anne, Saxby, Karen, Fun For Starters: Teacher?s Book, 2nd edition 5. 2011, www.cambridgeesol.org 6. 2011, www.ets.org 7. 2007, [Print], available online: http://www.google.es/imgres?q=british+english+vs+american+english&um=1&hl=es&sa=N&rls=com.microsoft:en-gb:IE-SearchBox&rlz=1I7SVEA_enGB359GB362&biw=1366&bih=503&tbm=isch&tbnid=9ZKoiCJk5ySZWM:&imgrefurl=http://www.networkmilan.com/archives/61&docid=hD5JUSvCOUbe6M&imgurl=http://www.networkmilan.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/UKUSA.jpg&w=420&h=300&ei=I7y_ToSUDMzb8QOR7qWzDA&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=78&sig=100281303074876181294&page=1&tbnh=141&tbnw=197&start=0&ndsp=13&ved=1t:429,r:11,s:0&tx=74&ty=63