Previously, the world was highly influenced by British English, as England was the superpower. Speaking English was considered to be a posh affair. As a result, English quickly came to be known as a major language in most parts of the world. In India too, the emergence and spread of colonization led to the acceptance of English as a prominent language in India. America on the other hand, ended up speaking English as the early settlers who migrated to the new land were largely British. They took the language with them to the new land and made numerous changes in the language, further creating a new variation of English popularly known as American English.
The popularity of courseware design in India has increased and it is crucial to create the best quality content. Let us not deny that while designing courseware the correct usage of the required English is essential and it is very common to see individuals get confused between the two. It is not about one being better than the other, both the versions are popular, however, the major concern here is the quality. One has to make sure that there are no inconsistencies while designing courseware, if American English is needed then the entire courseware should follow the same. The courseware cannot contain parts of British English. The same rule should be followed vice versa. To tackle this issue, courseware designing companies in Mumbai like Stylus Solutions can provide assistance while avoiding any irregularities in the language to be used.
Here are some examples that might provide a glance over the vast dissimilarities between British English and American English:
- Use of Vocabulary
The major and highly noticeable difference between American English and British English is the vocabulary. There are many words that are prominent in everyday usage and have completely different meanings in both British as well as American English. For instance, Americans ‘use an elevator’ while the British ‘take the lift.’ French fries are referred to as ‘chips’ in England and Americans call it ‘fries’. The British ‘wear trousers’ but ‘Americans’ wear pants. ‘Vacation’ in American English is termed as ‘holiday’ in British English.
- Use of Spellings
American English have converted British spellings to generate differences. The use of spellings is another source to spot numerous differences. American English focuses more on how the word looks rather than changing sounds unlike, British English. The British spelling of colour is color in American English. Similarly, words like honour, labour, and favour are spelled as honor, labor, and favor in American English. American English removes the letter ‘u’ to spell the word as it sounds. The ending of verb forms of some words are also changed around in American English. In British English the word organise ends with ‘ise’ while in American English the same word ends with ‘ize’, Other examples of such words are analyse and realise which are written as analyze and realize.
- Use of collective nouns
Collective nouns are generally used to address a group. In American English collective nouns are always singular unlike British English where collective nouns are used both in singular and plural forms depending on the usage. One such example is, Americans will say, “The band is performing exceptionally today” but in British English one can say “The Band is performing exceptionally today,” or “The band are performing exceptionally today”.
- Use of Past tense
British English commonly uses past perfect tense, for instance, “I have just given him some chocolates”. Contrary to British English, American English uses simple past along with ‘just’, for example “I just gave him some chocolates.”
- Use of Prepositions
Prepositions are also used differently in BRITISH and American English. The British say “They will travel in a train“, while Americans say “They will travel on a train”. When addressing time or a specific day, British English uses the preposition ‘at’, for instance, “She’ll be home at Christmas” The same sentence is framed as “She’ll be home on Christmas” in American English
- Use of Question tags
Question tags are questions that originate from an existing sentence. The tag follows the statement with the auxiliary verb in the sentence, changing its meaning from positive to negative, for example, ‘The night is chilly, isn’t it?’ or ‘You don’t want the last slice of pizza, do you?’ Including question tags while speaking is very common in British English, it is one kind of validation that the British use. It is not entirely wrong to use question tags in American English, but it is less common and is not commonly used in everyday conversations.
American and British English have differences in the way time structure is vocalized. In American English, time is specified as “quarter after eight” for 8:15. In British English, time is indicated as “quarter past eight”. Variation also exists in the manner of writing time. The Americans always use a decimal point or period while writing time digitally, it is written as 8.00, however, the British use a colon, they write 8:00. In courseware designing, it is essential to address such minor variations.
While addressing dates too, British and American English follow dissimilar ways. The British say, “John’s wedding anniversary is the 10 of October,” whereas the Americans say “John’s wedding anniversary is on October 10th.” Even when date is written, the format varies, the Americans write “March 16, 2012” and the British write, “16 March 2012”, the comma is not added in the British version.
These are the crucial factors in deciding how much the usage of British English or American English matters. Differences are numerous, but both the variants are correct if consistency is maintained and there is nothing wrong in using either of the versions. The problem arises when both the variants are mixed together, especially in courseware development. The courseware will be considered incorrect. To avoid such instances, contact one of the highly skilled courseware development companies in India such as Stylus Solutions, to design a consistent, informative and engaging courseware.