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

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.

American English

American English
(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.

Article Tags:
English Language Used, English Language, British English, American English, Language Used