The English language is the universal language, there is no denying that. Well, at least if you are a pragmatic person. There will always be people who would assert that English is not THAT widely spoken. For the sake of this discussion, though, I would like to consider the English language as being used so widely that it would be ok to consider it as a universal language.
We all know the existence of a dichotomy when it comes to the American version of the language and the British version of the language. Let us dub them US English and British English. The discussion about this dichotomy has long been in existence and people far more experienced in this field than I have had their say. I just thought that it would be interesting to share something that I read from the Times Online. In it, the author strongly presents his views on how US English is quickly permeating the world of British English – and he is NOT liking this one bit.
The assertion is that the British should make a decision to disallow the influx of these Americanisms. He writes:
I would like Britain to decide to stop allowing US English to permeate, pervade and pollute British English. (I am acutely aware that the term “British English” has more than a little of the oxymoron about it.)
I believe in the frank and fair exchange of ideas, philosophy and words. When the US takes of some our new language on board I’d be a great deal more relaxed about the transplanting of US English into our way of life. The newly elected leader of America, and consequently the Free World, has oft spoken about change. If he is willing to say “Yes We Can” to change, then perhaps he will say “Yes We Can” to US English changing to adopt the odd British English word. Even he might concede that that would be a jolly good show.
I suppose his idea suggestion is fair enough, don’t you think?
Practically the entire world is aware that English is known to be the primary and perhaps universal dialect and language known worldwide. This can be traced to the influence created by the British Empire. It is usually a known second language to other countries who have their own primary language such as China and France. With the influence of its widespread familiarity, the English language has bee known to be one of the easier, if not better used means of establishing communication and ties today.
All over the world, English is known to be a requirement. Being familiar with the universal language is an important tool especially in professions. This can be attributed to the fact that people will always resort to English if people coming from different countries are different from one another. This way, areas such as business and social interactions can be at a stand-off, meaning that people can communicate freely and understandably.
[tags]english, universal, jobs, writing[/tags]
When a word is indicated by a ‘*’ it means that it is not in common usage nowadays in England, but once was.
Oftentimes, slang comes around in phases so one word might not be used now but in future it may be.
This often depends on popular media such as movies and newspapers who have been responsible for the use of mane slang phrases over the years.
The first word is the slang word, then the proper English word closest to it, followed by an example of how to use it.
Airy-fairy – lacking in strength, weak. ‘Don’t give me that airy-fairy excuse! Hand your homework in on time! ‘
Aggro – Aggressive behaviour, troublemaking. ‘Don’t be so aggro, we can work this out.’
Airhead – A silly person, someone who doesn’t think well. ‘Why did she get that question wrong? She is such an airhead! ‘
Alky / alkie – An alcoholic . ‘My uncle is such an old alky – he never stops drinking!’
Ace! – Brilliant, really good. ‘This food is ace!’
Action man – someone who does alot of macho things, someone trying to be tough. ‘Peter is a real action man, look at him trying to impress the ladies. ‘
All-nighter – an event which takes place all night or at least for longer than most events of the same type. . ‘Are you going to the club tonight? I fancy doing an all-nighter ‘
All to pot – messed up, everything went wrong. ‘The trip was ace until I broke my leg, and then it all went to pot. ‘
Ankle-biters – young children, babies . ‘What a cute little ankle-biter he is!’
(going) Apeshit – angry, being very aggressive, violent. ‘Someone told Jon he was fat, so Jon went apeshit and punched him on the nose!’
Most English people do not know the full range and function of the English language – using it is as natural to them as breathing!
One all too common complaint made by people attempting to learn English is that there are too many slang words and other types of word that cannot be understood or even found in the dictionary.
Without further ado then, here is our first in what will be a series of English Slang blogs and articles.
The first word is the slang word, then the proper English word closest to it, followed by an example of how to use it.
- Bottle – fortitude, courage. ‘Do you have the bottle to tell her you like her?
- Chucking it down – heavy or annoying rain. ‘Oh no! It’s chucking it down outside and I have to walk home!’
- Chuffed – pleased, happy, proud. ‘I feel chuffed to have passed my exam’
- Cheesed Off – annoyed, fed up, angry. ‘She was so cheesed off when she found out I had eaten all her chocolate!’
- Gobsmacked – very surprised, astounded. ‘When she told me I was fired I was gobsmacked.’
- Gutted – Unhappily surprised, negatively affected. ‘I feel so gutted to have lost the fight – I thought I was going to win.’
I saw this article (How Gay Became Children’s Insult Of Choice) on BBC last week and I couldn’t help but be curious and sad at the same time. The article starts with:
The word “gay” is now the most frequently used term of abuse in schools, says a report. How did it get to be so prevalent and why do children use homophobic insults to get at each other?
I never even really realised that “gay” is the insult of choice these days. The fact that we have to have a label such as “insult of choice” is in itself saddening. Has our society become so critical and disrespectful of others that we have to have an insult of choice for each generation? The BBC article, however, does have some significant points. It is true that even in the older generations, there were terms and words that were commonly used to bring children in the playgrounds down. It just so happens that today, “gay” is the choice word.
So what happened? Why has it reached the status that it has? BBC reports:
One reason for this increase in use could be because “gay” has partly lost its sexual connotations among young people, he says. While still pejorative, for the majority of youngsters it has replaced words such as “lame”.
Still, the article has pointed out something equally valid:
But while “gay” may have changed for some, it is still being used as a means of bullying, as are many other homophobic insults (see table, above). Last year, the Westminster government announced the first guidelines for schools on how to deal with homophobic bullying.
I don’t think that this issue is limited to the UK, though. We might very well hear of similar goings on in other countries.
Anyone who has tried learning English and not knowing that there is a difference between the variations of English used around the world would know how confusing it could sometimes be. The mere fact that there is what we call American English and British English provides for some confusion in itself. Add to that the numerous colloquialisms that result in slang and you would be in for a fun ride!
If you grew up in the UK or at least have lived there for many years, then the chances are that you would recognise a lot of British slang. Yet what if you are new to the language (British English)? I bet that learning British slang would prove to be a totally new learning experience. I came across a site called The Very Best of British (The American’s guide to speaking British) and I really had a grand time browsing through the extensive list of slang.
Here’s a sneak peek:
All right? – This is used a lot around London and the south to mean, “Hello, how are you”? You would say it to a complete stranger or someone you knew. The normal response would be for them to say “All right”? back to you. It is said as a question. Sometimes it might get expanded to “all right mate”? Mostly used by blue collar workers but also common among younger people.
Any road – Up north (where they talk funny!!) instead of saying anyway, they say “any road”! Weird huh?
Belt up - For some reason I heard this quite a lot as a kid. It’s the British for shut up.
Those are just few of what I thought I could start using – and be laughed at for not being understood outside of Britain!
This is another area wherein there are marked differences between American and British English. You would normally hear an American say “I don’t have much time.” while an Briton would say “I haven’t got much time.” For the question form, Americans would ask “Do you have a minute?” while Britons would say “Have you got a minute?” Both forms are correct but different speakers would prefer different ways of showing possession.
Perhaps one of the most obvious differences between written American and British English would be the spelling. Take these examples:
Color vs. colour
Recognize vs. recognize
Center vs. centre.
Which spelling is the right one? It depends – if you’re leaning towards British English then the second version is for you. The first version is American.
Another very obvious difference between British and American English is in the choice of words. It is basically the same language but with different word usage. Here are some examples:
Apartment (Am.) – flat (Brit.)
Truck (Am.) – lorry (Brit.)
Elevator (Am.) – lift (Brit.)
These are only a few of the differences between the two varieties of the same language. Despite these differences, though, there really is no problem communicating with one another. There should be no debate as to who is right or wrong as both are right in their own way. The important thing is to be consistent as to which variety you are using. If you are more comfortable with British English then by all means speak it.
For quite a long time now, English has informally been considered as the official language of the world. There are many considerations before any language can be deemed the official means of communication for all countries, of course, and as such there has not been a formal declaration of this but for anyone who has had dealings with various countries worldwide, it is quite obvious that English is the main language by which you can communicate with other nationalities. Where did English come from? Why is it spoken so prevalently? The answers to these questions entail a long and arduous journey, which unfortunately cannot be covered in one blog post.
However, there is one aspect of the English language that we can take a look at today – the differences between American and British English. I cannot count the many times that I have heard quips about both “versions” of the language from Americans and British alike. Indeed, there are marked differences between the two varieties. However, who is to say that one is more correct than the other?
Here are some typical differences between American English and British English.
Use of the Present Perfect Tense
For those who are not familiar with their grammar tags, the present perfect is basically the form which makes use of has/have + past participle. An example would be: have eaten, have gone, and so on.
We could say that in British English, the use of this tense is “stricter” as opposed to American English. For example, the sentence “I already saw that movie.” would be accepted in American English but in British English, it should be “I have already seen that movie.” would be the proper way of saying it.
(to be continued)
For students, the desire to be able to study in England is among the dreams that would be a good investment for their future. Rich in culture, history and customs, prestigious colleges, garnering the level of education from England is world-renowned and achieving such a feat shall surely be a good feather in the cap of successful students.
England is best related to the works of Shakespeare, one of the famous writers that people know and whose works have been portrayed in different plays all throughout the world.
A lot of the educational focus would be focused on their artistic and theatrical knowledge, tagged as being unique and unlike that of others in the whole world. With its rich pool of resources in castles and religious beliefs, it is not hard to notice why England has gained much headway into one of the more famous destination points to which people would visit or perhaps rant for educational opportunities today.
[tags]england education, career, arts, shakespeare, sciences, diploma[/tags]