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Which kind of English is the most different? British English American English Canadian English Audtralian English or other Englishes
Jan 15, 2016 3:55 PM
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I will go way out on a limb. I'll be interested to hear what others have to say. Imagine a ruler marked from 1 to 10. 1--U.S. English 2--Canadian English 3-- 4-- 5--Australian English 6-- 7-- 8-- 9-- 10--British English However, the distance between the English spoken by ABC News anchor David Muir and U.S. singer Miley Cyrus is about 3 or 4 units. The distance between David Muir and comedian Eddie Murphy is 3 or 4 units in a completely different direction. The distance between David Muir and a 60-year old Boston Irish-American man with a brogue is 3 or 4 units. The distance between Queen Elizabeth II and the way the Beatles spoke in "A Hard Day's Night" is 3 or 4 units.
January 15, 2016
There is much less difference between English dialects than between the dialects of Chinese, for example. The written language is 99.99% the same in all countries, with some minor differences in spelling in North American English. In the spoken language, the accent you hear in western US (like California, and what you hear in most movies) is closest to being a neutral accent, and any English speaker can understand it. Of course, there are regional accents within each country, so someone from Los Angeles might have a hard time understanding someone from Alabama. It used to be the case that "correct" English was called the "King's English" and is the accent heard in Oxford, England. I think the internet era has erased that idea. To my ears, the accent of Scotland is by far the most difficult to understand. Again, they're using exactly the same words but pronouncing them differently.
January 15, 2016
England, Australia, Canada, and the US speak 90% the same (I have coworkers from all of these countries). Canada and the US are similar; Australia and the UK are similar. We understand each other all pretty well. There are two differences to remember: sounds and words. A heavy Scottish or Irish accent can be very difficult to understand because of their sound and because they use unusual word choices (example: "I cannae mind" means "I can't remember"). There are others, too: a heavy "Cajun" American accent or a Liverpool or Birmingham accent in England can all be hard to understand.
January 15, 2016
And to emphasize what every native English speaker says--and foreign students have trouble believing--it's one language. The differences are small. I (U.S. native) listen to BBC World Service effortlessly and with complete understanding. We can joke about differences, and misunderstandings, and you can find examples of rapidly spoken, colloquial British English that I'd have trouble understanding, but I'd also have trouble understanding many kinds of U.S. regional English. The first time our software QA head said "This needs fixed," I couldn't figure it out. I said "Uh... do you mean... this needs to be fixed?" And she laughed, and said, "Oh, sorry. I'm from Western Pennsylvania." Actually just last month, just for fun, I posted examples of the same news story as reported in Australian, British, Canadian, and U.S. news and challenged people to identify which was which. Nobody could. See for yourself: http://www.italki.com/discussion/108426
January 15, 2016
All of them, they each have their own unique accent
January 15, 2016
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Liusu
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), Chinese (Cantonese), English
Learning Language
English