Should I Learn British or American English?
Posted on August 5, 2019
Something that people often ask is “Should I learn British or American English?” The first thing to say is that the answer depends entirely on you! That said, let’s look at some points to think about when choosing to learn British English or American English.
Where do you live?
If you live in an English speaking country, it makes sense to learn the English that’s spoken in that country. Additionally, where do you want to go on holiday in the future?
Where are your clients from?
You may want to choose to learn the variety of English that your clients speak, whether they speak English natively or non-natively. Have a look at this interesting map, which shows where people learn British English and American English.
Do you prefer the sound of British or American English?
Should I learn British or American English? Conclusion
Bear in mind that while there are several articles about the differences between British and American English, they are really very similar. Read a typical UK or US article and then consider the proportion of words that are identical. As you will see, it’s the vast majority. As a non-native speaker you are extremely unlikely to have problems due to speaking to someone who learned a different form of English to you.
In fact, some English students hold themselves back because they only want exposure to one type of English. It’s better to dive in and listen to lots of different varieties of English. If you only, for example, practise listening to standard American English, you will find it hard to understand other native and non-native accents of English.
Let’s return to your question, “Should I learn British or American English?” I recommend that you ask your English teacher for exposure to both British and American English through listening activities. As a result, you will be in the best position to understand and be understood by as many native and non-native speakers as possible.
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By Emily Stallard, owner of Orchid English