Sunday, 3 October 2010

On Friday there was an article in The Star about American and British English, that I found pretty interesting.

In terms of vocabulary, it is clear that confusion can occur in some cases if we mix the two variants of English. For instance, we use petrol for our cars while the Americans use gas for theirs. To us, gas would be of the cooking kind, as in gas cooker. Car-related vocabulary throws up quite a few more differences. So before going on a road tour, we will put our luggage into the car boot and check under the bonnet while Americans will stash their baggage into the trunk and pop the hood for a last look under it before they depart.

Of course, officially Malaysia uses British English, but because of the influences of popular culture I guess we don't really do that anymore. Thing is, the difference is not stressed upon; most teachers simply accept both versions.

Currently, my university only accepts Australian English. Some tutors would let you get away with British English, but not American. That's why I now try to write in Australian English whenever I can. Of course, with technology this becomes easier. I just need to set my language settings and then I'll know if I spelled a word wrongly. But it would definitely be harder if it's written. For example, in school I used to spell words ending with '-our' instead of '-or'. So I spelled colour instead of color. But I also spelled words ending with '-ize' instead of '-ise'. So it would be realize instead of realise. So really, I used a mixture of American and British English.

Beautiful Sydney!

I didn't realise just how unaware I was about it. I mean, back home, nobody cared how you spelled it, but here, there is an emphasis on using Australian spelling, probably because of the large number of international students. So I had to adjust it to the accepted form.

But I still think it's important to educate children on the different forms of English. Nowadays so many of us watch TV shows and movies from America that we are really accepting their use of English. And children might just get confused when someone says the car has ran out of gas. Or if someone says faucet instead of tap.

Being here has definitely made me notice the differences between the two. Granted, I'm using Australian English, but it really isn't much different from British English.

Anyway, I'm out of words now, so I'll just end this post with a video from Failblog, and a video of Grey's Anatomy's gag reel:

Have a nice week!
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