About LLS:

Throughout my career, I have received thousands of questions regarding languages and I have finally decided to answer them objectively with no strings attached. If you have any questions or feedback, please leave your comments below.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Learn American English, don't complicate your life with British English.

For people who want to reach proficiency in English, I personally recommend to stick to America English. Whether you love the "British Pronunciation" or not, has little impact on the learning rate because deep down inside its pretty much all the same. I doubt that anyone attempting to master the British, Scottish or Irish accent from the very beginning will be most likely to succeed. People don't realize that accents are something you learn at the very end of your education rather than in the beginning.

Why would you bother sounding exactly like a Native Speaker before you can even arrange your sentences? This is why I don't understand such people. Learn to communicate and then lean towards improving pronunciation, eloquence and style.

Learn the language before attemping to learn the accent. Enough said!

A bit of history:

American English has the advantage of being very neutral and this perhaps due to the many immigrants who came to America after the colonial era. Foreigners such as, Italians, Poles and slaves all participated in the making process of American English to sound more mixed and universal. British immigration only occurred many years later after the First World War around 1922. A Strong British society was already established whereas, on the other hand, Americans required the aid of foreigners to build their newly acquired one.

A Polish-American family.

An interesting article about British Immigration:

And on American Immigration:

Before I continue further with more explanations and guidelines, I would like to cover some of the main differences between American and British English.

A quick overview of the grammatical differences:

Generally, Brits tend to use more of "The Perfect" rather than "Simple". Americans often use doesn’t and didn't in the majority of their constructions;

An American would say: Didn't you hear?
A Brit would say: Haven't you heard?

Other minor differences regarding prepositions can also be found. I have noticed the most confusion revolving around "in", "on" and "at".

An American would say: He lives on this street.
A Brit would say: He lives in this street.

Americans usually don't use "Needn't and mustn’t" but instead they tend to go for "Must not" and "don't need to" which reflect a higher degree of simplicity.

The most obvious difference would be in the regular and irregular verbs. Since Brits cannot pronounce "ed" the way Americans do, they have adopted the letter "t" in some of their past simple and past participle forms. A good example would be "burnt" instead of "burned" and "spoilt" instead of "spoiled".

Since we both share the same literature, we can assume that the average American unconsciously knows all the variations of possible English words and structures whether they are British, American, Australian and vice versa

For a full comparison of the two, please visit:

Is Spoken British English harder to speak and to understand?

For anyone starting his adventure with English, the fact that Brits pronounce some of their words without actually covering all the lettering can be difficult to manage.

A word such as "whatever" would be pronounced "whaeva" in British English skipping all the consonants.

Another example: "dirty" would be pronounced "dir - y".

American pronunciation goes according to the way the word is written. Apart from some minor dilemmas whether to pronounce the "I" in "Iraq" as in a regular "I" (I am) or as in "I" in "Italian”, I would say that it’s much easier for beginners.

House M.D an American hit tv show actually played by British actor Hugh Laurie. 

As you can see, Brits can also quickly transition from one dialect to the other. More info about this actor at:



If you have a fetish for the British pronunciation, start by learning the American one. Once you have reached a sufficient level of proficiency in speaking and writing, begin to practice pronouncing the "British Way" or as a matter of fact any other way which suits your desires.


Creative Commons License
LanguageLearningShortcuts! by Peter Masalski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://languagelearningshortcuts.blogspot.com/.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available athttp://www.pmls.pl/Disclaimereng.htm.

No comments:

Post a Comment