Dan Smith
Can YOU tell the difference between Australian, British, Canadian and U.S. English?

This was fun the last time, so I'm going to try it again. Here are four versions of the same news story, published in Australia, Canada, the U.S., and the United Kingdom. Can you identify which is which from differences in the language? I haven't changed anything--I was slightly surprised to see that the U.S. source uses the spelling <em>catalogue</em>, but both <em>catalog</em> and <em>catalogue</em> are used in the the U.S.

By the way, I don't think <em>I</em> could tell the difference if I hadn't found them myself. I didn't pick them to illustrate some subtlety. I just did a straightforward search to find versions of the same story from four countries. The whole point is that there isn't much difference. 

a) Beatles to stream online - finally

The Beatles' back catalogue of music will launch on a range of streaming services on Christmas Eve.

The band's tracks will be available on nine different streaming services, including Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal and Google Play Music.

The band - John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr - which split in 1970, have remained hugely popular and influential after clocking up 17 UK number one singles as a group.

Solo material from the Fab Four is already available on Spotify.

The Beatles have a history of embracing technology later than most, with the band's music not appearing on iTunes until 2010, some seven years after the service was first launched. Streaming services such as Spotify have been on the rise since 2007.

b) The Beatles Songs Were Streamed 50 Million Times in 48 Hours

<em>And the majority of listeners were under the age of 34</em>

The Beatles’ back catalogue of hits was played 50 million times in its first 48 hours of release to online music platforms.

After a delay over rights and contracts, all 224 songs from the band’s studio albums were made made available on Christmas Eve to nine online streaming sites, including Amazon Prime, Spotify and Tidal.

The Daily Mail reports that 65% of the Beatles’ online listeners were under the age of 34.

Analytics company Brandwatch identified the track ‘Come Together’ as the most popular Beatles song, which was streamed 1.8 million times.

c) Starting Christmas Eve, the Beatles finally let it stream on digital services

Come together, right now, in the stream: After years of holding back, legendary pop architects the Beatles will offer their full catalogue on streaming music services on Christmas Eve.

The band has been famously reluctant to offer its music on new digital technology, even holding off from the iTunes store for seven years before offering its songs there in 2010. But band representatives announced Wednesday that they would finally let it be, making their songs available on most popular streaming services, including Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and Tidal.

The Recording Industry Association of America estimates the Beatles have sold 178 million records in the United States, making them the top-selling artists of all time there, and likely worldwide. So their music has long been a glaring omission from streaming services, causing some fans to twist and shout their opposition to the technology.

Filling in that hole, then, is a major sign of confidence in the future of streaming.

d) Here, there and everywhere: Beatles songs to be streamed for first time

<em>Fab Four’s full catalogue will make Christmas Eve debut on Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play and Amazon Prime, ending long streaming site holdout</em>

As a band, the Beatles were famed for their adoption of new recording technology, everything from tape-looped studio effects to double-tracked vocals. But in more recent years their songs have been absent from that most modern of ways to consume music: streaming websites. Until now, that is.

From Christmas Eve the full Beatles catalogue will become available on nine separate music streaming sites, including Spotify, Google Play and Amazon Prime. It will even be on Apple Music, eight years after the end of a long and brutal legal battle between the technology company and the Beatles’ Apple record label over the use of the Apple logo in the music business.

It will all happen at 12.01am local time “here, there and everywhere”, according to a heavily Beatles song-referencing statement on the band’s official website, which ends: “Happy Crimble, with love from us to you.”

The world’s most celebrated popular music group had long left a conspicuous gap in the offerings of streaming sites, which have become increasingly mainstream despite some acts’ concerns over royalties and other issues.


Dec 30, 2015 12:20 AM
Comments · 12

A is from Canada because Canadians often refer to UK achievements rather than American.

B is from the UK because of the reference to the Daily Mail

C is from the US, for the reference to the RIAA and has an American feel to it. 

D is Australia because of the reference to local time, and Crimble.


But, I could be completely wrong :-)

December 30, 2015

I think the answer is 'No'.

When you did this last time, the only give-aways were measurements such as miles v kilometers v kilometres. This time we don't even those clues.

I presume that (a) is the British one because of the reference to 'UK number one singles'.

At first I thought that (c) was the one from the US, given the US focus of the text and also the capital letter after the colon in the first line. But then I noticed that (c) doesn't have the typical US capitalisation of the initial letters in the title. Based on the capitalisations in the title alone, I'd guess that (b) is either the US or Canadian article, although the reference to the Daily Mail threw me slightly. I was expecting some spelling differences (such as catalogue/catalog), but there don't seem to be any.

Thank you for setting this up again, Dan, and for showing everyone that English really doesn't vary as much as people imagine.



December 30, 2015

LOL, I was completely and utterly wrong. That just shows how similar the four areas are.

December 30, 2015

I think the reference to the Daily Mail is a big red herring. I'm not convinced a British publication would name drop or reference it like that, given the paper has a reputation for sensationalised and low quality news.

I think a) is the British one because of the reference to UK hit singles, and overall the style just feels most familiar.


December 30, 2015

That's impossible! The only deductions I can make are :


- that the use of "likely" as an adverb in c) is wrong in the UK, probably wrong in Aus, but acceptable in the US and probably also in Can. 


d) perhaps is not Can or US because the reference to "Crimble" might be obscure or odd for them.


b) refers to the Daily Mail which is a British publication.  People from other countries would not necessarily know this in which case their media would mention this. So I go for b) as the UK one.


Am I getting closer?

December 30, 2015
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