I didnt explicity say that American English is better or that we are the best. here is the article which i think illustrates the domination of American English throughout the world:
American English an oxymoron?
Why is "American English" supposed to be an oxymoron --- or at least more so than, say, Australian English, Latin American Spanish or Quebecois French? Perhaps a better word for American English would be majority English. After all, most English speakers worldwide speak and write a variety from North America. This comment strikes me as non-NPOV, and an attempt to portray some social-class-bound insular dialect as normative, an attitude which ever has been and remains a jaw-dropping pretension. -- IHCOYC 11:47 25 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Most? Since when?
Population of the USA: around 280 millions. Canada adds 85% of 31 millions. Population of the UK is 58 millions, add 19 millions for Australia, 8m for New Zealand and maybe 4m for the native English speaking population of South Africa. No matter how you slice the pie, the center of gravity for the English language is in North America and not in any of the outlying islands. -- IHCOYC 13:40 25 Jul 2003 (UTC)
In India English is the language in which most university courses are taught. It is also the language used in most areas of administration, and they have many English language newspapers. Out of a total population of 1 billion potential speakers, some 40 million plus Indians speak British English there. The situation is similar in countries like Pakistan, Ghana, Nigeria and Singapore etc. etc. When English is taught as a foreign language in Europe and elsewhere it is very often taught as British English through organizations like the British Council.
When I was in Sweden in the mid-1970s, the saying there was that people over 35 had learned British English in school, and that people under 30 learned American English. -- IHCOYC 15:10 25 Jul 2003 (UTC)
IHCOYC is correct, at least regarding number of speakers. There are 341 million first language speakers of English, 210 million of those are in the United States (228 million in North America). There are 508 million including second language speakers, and 240 million of those are in the United States (260 million in North America). I'm not even accounting for some English usage being American rather than British (or another Commonwealth country) in origin outside of North America. It is also worrisome that some Wikipedia editors feel obliged to move pages and alter spelling on the basis that Commonwealth English is not only more correct, but is also more common than either American English or North American English. (My United States figures are actually a bit low since they date from 1984 and most of the other figures are from the late 1990s.) I believe the US probably has the most influence on the English language today, although only partially due to the influence of numbers. More of the influence is through movies, television, books, the internet, and other media. More immediately, I think Wikipedia would benefit from a clearer definition and analysis of the various types of English, including different orthographies. My figures are primarily from http://www.ethnologue.com/
Daniel Quinlan 08:21, Aug 3, 2003 (UTC)
The main thing that concerns me is when British English is taken as a familiar norm in descriptions of other languages. I've seen pronunciation guides that say to pronounce Goethe as "Gertie," for example. Reference to the variety of broad A and O sounds in British English are other frequent sources of confusion; most North Americans don't even hear the sounds as separate phonemes. Since the introduction of the IPA this sort of thing is seen less often, but there's still a lot of it in older reference books; and older reference books have a way of being perpetuated here.
Some writers on British English treat American English with profound condescension. This annoys especially when you realize that the prestige dialect of British English is strongly bound to social class --- you had to have gone to a handful of the "right" boarding schools to get it exactly right --- and a dialect spoken by a much smaller percentage of the population of the British Isles than Standard American is in North America. There's a passage in Fowler's The King's English that mocks American place names like Indianapolis and Memphis, as if Bognor Regis or Stow-on-the-Wold were superior in euphony or dignity. This tradition is not wholly dead among the prescriptive usage writers, and I think that some North Americans are still cowed by it. -- IHCOYC 13:58, 4 Aug 2003 (UTC)
"Proper" British English is not simply the preserve of the public school elite - whilst it may be true that those from the public schools may be more likely to use RP in their everyday speech, most across the nation know how to use the correct form and do so for official documents etc., even if they revert to their local dialect for normal usage. Even though I was comprehensive-schooled (in Scotland nonetheless) I still know how to correctly use the English Language and so do those around me. This appears to be in contrast with the situation in the USA. 184.108.40.206 10:34, 4 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Oh the superiority of everything American! Hah! Considering the linguistic inabilities of your president, the hilarity of watching winners of Oscars trying to construct sentences and the sheer inability of an astonishing number of American students to communicate in any even moderately articulate manner (which is why a number of European universities in the last five years have been forced to start summer courses for visiting American students with special 'basic english' grinds explaining such things as use of verbs, definite and indefinite articles, how to use the past tense!!!) America can hardly brag about its skill or knowledge of english. The lame excuse about comparing population numbers is a nonsense. American english (well at least the lliterate variety) is found on the American continent. The result of the world uses British english or a nativised version of British english, in which some aspects of American english may make an appearance. In no sense can American english claim the right to be the international brand of english and it is a particularly ludicrous form of arrogance to think it can, based on the fact that there are more people in America that in Britain, Ireland, Australia. But the worst form of 'so called' english has got to be MTV english, which consists of nothing more than a string of empty-headed, poorly constructed cliches with all the substance of a quarter pounder and fries. :-) FearÉIREANN 14:41, 4 Aug 2003 (UTC)
I'm not sure of the point of this discussion. Whoever added "oxymoron" to this article was obviously aiming tickle a few ribs with some humour. I am given to understand from the couple of business trips I've made to Sweden that they very sensibly take courses in Business English (which leans towards British English as much of Sweden's business is centred on the EU) and Technical English (which leans towards American English for spellings like 'program' and 'color' extensively used in software). Whatever the figures say (and I dispute the validity of your source Daniel which quotes only 11 million speakers of English in India from a 1960s survey) there's no denying that a significant number of people prefer to read and write in British English. It's just the same with American English of course; only the vast majority of British English speakers don't live in the state of technical bliss that is the USA. On Wikipedia we quite rightly have a policy at http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/NPOV#A..._point_of_view
decrying Americo-centrism in view of the fact that this is an international encyclopaedia. It's a shame that attempts to roll-back Americo-centrism as sometimes paranoiacally(sic) seen anti-Americanism by certain individuals. Let the status quo survive. Mintguy 15:13, 4 Aug 2003 (UTC)
The two points I actually sought to make was that calling American English an "oxymoron" struck me as a violation of NPOV; and that assuming easy familiarity with the phonemic structure of British English is not a good idea in explaining the pronunciation of non-English words. I do admit to being somewhat ornery about the Brits presuming to judge "Americanisms," and the supposed pre-eminence and universality of the British boarding-school dialect. I went to grade school in Canada, and learned a subset of the British spellings myself. I'm not on a tear to remove them.
I cheerfully agree that Dubya is no Churchill. -- IHCOYC 19:05, 4 Aug 2003 (UTC)
You are a bit behind the times as regards english dialects. The days when Oxbridge english was viewed as the correct version have long long since gone. Right now, a BBC programme is on using scouse (a dialect I hate, BTW. It sounds to me like a cat chewing a wasp.) But BBC Four seems to require it. 'Proper english', ie, Oxbridge, has been out of fashion for decades, with Estuary English, Scouse etc far more popular. BTW 2 (sounds like a TV station that!:-) I came across a US student's history essay that has down in my university's history as one of the worst attempt at communication ever witnessed. (You'll enjoy this!) Writing about the Irish Easter Rising, an American woman (allegedly a history major, though I find it hard to believe!) wrote:
It is like the Irish don't like the english and their rules. So they like rebel in Easter. Patrik (sic) Pierce (sic) leads the rebells (sic) and they take a big post office in Oconnel (sic) street, and they gang up on the British. And they tell them like 'no queen here'. But the english don't like it and send in their soldiers from the first world war in France or somewhere to stop them. And the english like arrest Pierce and devillera (sic) and lock them in a big prisom (sic) but the Irish keep rebelling and rebelling and get their new republic with devillera as president and Michael Collin's (sic) becomes his right hand man. And then they fight a war of independents. And the Irish throws the english out and then have a civil war, where Collin's is killed at Bale na Bla (sic) and Northern Ireland joins england and the queen.
AAAAAGH! And that is only one paragraph. The strange thing was that the woman could not understand when she got a fail mark for the paper! She said she had never failed anything before in her life. The question on all our lips was, how could she have possibly passed a single exam in her life, let alone make it to college? But she was the worst. Nobody else has ever quite hit that level of awfulness, though every year some try and come close! :-) FearÉIREANN 20:03, 4 Aug 2003 (UTC)
One doesn't want to belabor a point or anything, and perhaps this effusion should be passed over in silence; but would you mind explaining just what in the bloody Hell that has to do with the article that this page supposedly exists to improve? Dandrake 02:03, Mar 17, 2004 (UTC)
I expexct she'll get a job as a Hollywood screenwriter. Andy G 20:29, 4 Aug 2003 (UTC)
Anti-intellectualism (zeech! that page needs a real article) is a major feature of the culture of the USA. One of the many ways this trait manifests is in a certain impatience with usage norms. Reading is a solitary vice to most Americans, and it gives you no fresh air and exercise. There are indeed many US high schools who would look at that paper and see that the student had learned where the event took place, who the combatants were, and kept in mind enough proper nouns to make small talk about the Uprising. And that would in the minds of many teachers be enough. Spelling and grammar is another department.
Now if you want to hear ugly English, let me send you to Tennessee. The speech of that state, especially in the female mouth, sounds like a cat being tortured.
You haven't heard an Ozark dialect then. Then again there are both Western and Eastern accents within the Dialects. I'm always shocked by a lot of these studies on phonology and dialects within the US... When they get to MO, Southern Il, and Arkansas they don't tend to do enough studies, especially as the demographic centor of the US is in MO. I can't find the article, or perhaps it was this one, but there was one a few days ago which listed the differences in the Saint Louis Metro Area from Midwestern English. The blurb wasn't quite right but it was right in the fact that the Peoples inside Saint Louis City and in parts of the county talk different than lets say 30 miles away in Franklin and Jeffereson counties and that the dialect is unique to St. Louis. It was wrong becuase it grouped accents in the saint louis area which are actually in deep Franklin Counties and Jeff Counties. The accent in Tennessee is actually pleasent compared to that of your typical Ozarkian.
But most of this seems to be leaving behind the main business of embellishing the article on American English. -- IHCOYC 01:01, 5 Aug 2003 (UTC)