Debate:American English v. British English

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This is a Teflpedia debate page started by a teacher. Debate pages are used for discussing issues in English language teaching. Please be civil. No matter how much you may disagree with another user, please criticize what has been said and not the person saying it.


Teaching and/or use of American English v. British English may depend not only on the mother tongue of the native speaker, but also on the attitudes of the vast majority of non-native English language teachers around the world. Although British English, and more specifically, Received Pronunciation, seemed to be the predominant model taught up until at least the last couple of decades of the 20th century, there is now evidence that the tide is turning, with General American becoming the model of choice.Reference needed


Pros & cons of teaching/using American English[edit]

People living in the Americas, particularly North America, may prefer to learn American English.

Pros & cons of teaching/using British English[edit]

People living in Europe, particularly the European Union, may prefer to learn British English.

Your opinion[edit]

  • Being British I default to teaching British English, but I sometimes write up both versions and always stress that neither version is 'correct'. I tell students that consistency is important - especially if they're taking Cambridge exams, but leave them to use what they're most comfortable with. Harpo 6 February 2013
  • It seems that differing English standards are preferred in different regions, British in Europe, American in Asia (India excepted) and Latin America. Interestingly, some languages distinguish between the English language and "American". Sprechen Sie Amerikanisch? --Ethan (talk) 12:10, 2 March 2013 (CST)
  • Being British I teach British English. Where I'm confident enough to talk about American I will, but I wouldn't pretend that I'm able to teach it. Somewhat worryingly I found myself writing using "gotten" the other day though. :-( Ethan's comment that some languages differentiate between the two was a new one on me. Interesting. Spanish (at least European Spanish) doesn't seem to do so regularly.--Bob M (talk) 13:55, 2 March 2013 (CST)
  • Both have good and bad things, but the best use is when one follows the phonetics tendencies respect in relation with the writing of a language. JAdP. 216.177.129.186 14 June 2015
  • I think teaching British or American English depends also on the teacher's background, because if he/she has studied one of them better he/ahe will be comfortable at the moment of the instruction. Besides, in my country (Colombia), people think that British is better than American but in my opinion both are the same language with differences in accent, vocabulary and other aspects, but it also happens between Spanish from Spain and Spanish in Colombia. Victor Prada. 186.144.132.231 3 February 2016

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References[edit]