Color or colour? Fall or autumn? Elevator or lift?
Oftentimes, when writing in English on the computer, we find ourselves doubting whether or not we have spelt a word correctly as soon as that red line pops up under that word. But the word is perfectly fine, so what can it be?
More often than not, it’s a question of American English vs British English. So just how different are they?
Some people claim that American English is actually easier to learn because it’s simpler without the ‘unnecessary letters’ , but on the other hand others claim that British English is actually more expressive and varied whilst describing American English as ‘an unnecessary evil’.
In this week’s Video Fix, we explore these differences and preferences and find out what happened when an American and a Brit asked people how they feel about the other language, and why they think that one form of the English language is better than the other. Some non-native speakers of English actually referred to American English as easier for them to understand, stating that the British English has a ‘much stronger accent’. However, others are pro-British English as they learned the language through the music they listened to.
But what happens when people used to American English are confronted with British slang words? Watch here to find out.
Similarly, there is also the claim that American English is in fact the more traditional version of English when compared to British English. In fact, in this video, author on the origins of the English language, Philip Gooden explains how this is the case giving some examples of how some of the forms and words used in American English were actually taken across the ocean as they were originally used in the United Kingdom. An example of this is the autumn season which in America is often referred to as fall.
- Business Insider (2017) “Why American English is more traditional than British English in many ways” Available here [Accessed 07/11/2017]
- VOA Learning English (2017) “Six Differences Between British and American English” Available here [Accessed 06/11/2017]
Written by Veronica Lynn Mizzi – Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg). Graduate in the Maltese Language and Communication, and Master’s graduate in Translation and Terminology Studies from the University of Malta. Former journalist