International English

All over the world people veiw English as the most important spoken language in addition to their own. Most schools teach English to their pupils from an early age, and all the international schools around the world teach in English. There are many countries where English is not a first language, but still so important that most of the population speak it anyway. Examples of this are Jamaica, India and South Africa. Although English is an official language in these countries, not all of the population has it as their first language. There are so many different varieties of English, in India there are eleven varieties of English alone.

So let?s start with India. The history of Indian English dates back to the colonization, in the 1800?s. Naturally the British brought their language and made it official. India was the crown jewel of the British Empire and they of course wished for English to be the only spoken language. Instead the people of India developed different accents and ways of speaking English. English has through India?s economic growth become a lingua franca, a language used to make communication easier for those with different mother tongues. There is a difference between the modern British English and the English spoken in India, some grammatical and some pronunciation wise. Indians have preserved phrases from British English that other English speakers have stopped using, for example out of station is used instead of the common; not in, or out of town. Some words for numbers are also different, like one-hundred-thousand would become one lakh and one million would be ten lakh. One must be careful however when speaking with an Indian-English accent, there can be instances where the same English word can mean different things to different people in different parts of India.

In South Africa English is among the eleven official languages in the country. The main language of government is English even if South Africans often take pride in using indigenous languages for any purpose. The most spoken language in South Africa is English, because like in India it is used to communicate with people who don?t share the same mother tongue(s). The main differences between British and South African English lies in the pronunciation and slight grammatical differences. The first time I heard a South African speak I thought the accent sounded slightly Australian. The South Africans are also fond of adding words from indigenous tongues into their speech, so if they speak fast it may be hard to catch what they?re saying.

There is another variety of English many people think is hard to understand, and that is Jamaican English. Jamaica is a small island in the Caribbean Sea, a popular destination for both British and American tourists, but they will find that it?s not that easy to understand the language as they may think. Although Jamaicans use the same spelling as most words in British English, the pronunciation is completely different. For example if you wish to say beer can in Jamaican you can say bacon in a British accent and they will understand you want a drink and not breakfast. As in India some old British terms have stuck, even though no one in England uses them anymore. For example "sleeping policeman" is used, an alternative to the American term "speed bump?.

The different accents of English are many, but in the end they are all just from different pages of the same book.

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02.01.2014 kl.13:14

Sounds very complicated! Would not dare to say bacon and imagine I would get a can of beer! Intersting facts!

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