I live in Europe (duh). And the closest country whose primary language is English…is England (double duh). And they have much better English textbooks than America. And they also kinda have a different language. And this different language is the standard for English-learning individuals…aka students.
There was this dude who wrote a dictionary a century or two ago and he wanted American English to be very different from British English so he changed everything. Jerk. Flavor not flavoured. Color not coloured. Elevator not lift. Oven not cooker. Theater not theatre. Apartment building not block of flats. Neighborhood not neighbourhood. Cookie/cracker not biscuit. Oh, and biscuit is going to mean something completely different. It’s great. If that dude was alive, I would smack that quill out of his hand.
Because pretty much every one of my students are learning or wanting to learn British English, I have taken it upon myself to adapt their language…mainly their vocabulary. If I tried to speak with a British accent, I am 100% positive I would sound like a cross between Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle in the first half of My Fair Lady and an American trying to impersonate a Brit.
Thankfully, most of the textbooks are written in British English, making learning the vocabulary a little easier. While lesson planning, I learned that braces are suspenders and boiler suit are overalls. It is literally like learning another language except it is not impressive if I put it on my resume. It will also make moving back to the States pretty weird as I will be thinking in British English by the time we move back.
Overall, I think British English is better. With a few exceptions – Why is a thermos bottle called a vacuum flask? “Touch wood” instead of “knock on wood” (what? do they stroke the wood instead of knocking on it)? That little dot at the end of this sentence is called a “full stop”. And sprinkles (or as I like to call them jimmies) are referred to as “hundreds and thousands” (how many jimmies do they put on their ice cream?). Also ladybird instead of ladybug – Why? It’s a bug not a bird. I think one of the best ones I have encountered is hope chest (a chest that holds linens, heirlooms, and clothing stored by a woman in preparation for her marriage) which is “bottom drawer” in British English. Okay…maybe more than a few. Cooker makes sense…cause you cook in there. I would make learning a new British word a week a goal but I am already doing that inadvertently with teaching these words to my students…
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