Should you learn UK or US English?

Lots of students ask me whether they should learn American or British English.

In this video, I give my opinion.

What do you think?

Here is the full transcript:

Hi, I’m Paul Urwin from businessenglishcommunity.com. First of all, don’t forget to subscribe. We’ve got some really, really awesome videos on the way, and also, if you do like this video, then please give me a thumbs up below. I would really appreciate it. Should you learn American or British English? Find out in just a second.

Okay, well I do get this question a lot. “Should I learn British English, or should I learn American English?” Well, as I’m sure you can tell from my accent, I’m from the UK, I’m from England, and therefore, you might expect me to suggest that you should learn British English. Well, that’s not what I’m going to recommend today. I think the most important issue here is communication. Are you able to communicate effectively in English? Whether that’s British English, American English, or International English. It’s about communication. It’s about getting your message across and understanding other people’s messages.

Let me tell you an interesting fact. In the world today, there are some 400 million native speakers of English. People from the UK, the US, Australia, and other countries as well. There are also, interestingly, the same number of people, another 400 million, who are non-native speakers of English. People from Germany, from China, from Brazil, and so on. I expect you are one of those non-native speakers of English.

Now what is even more interesting is that the people in that second group, the non-native speakers of English, that group is growing faster than the group of native speakers. So over time, we are going to have even more non-native speakers of English compared to native speakers of English. Well, what does that mean for you? That means that in today’s business environment, it’s just as likely, and over time even more likely, that you will be speaking to someone from another country, such as Germany, Brazil, Italy, Japan, you will be speaking to someone from one of those countries in English, rather than necessarily talking to a native speaker in English.

So actually, all this idea of “Should I learn British, or should I learn American English?” Well, it’s about International English. It’s about communication. It’s about getting your message across and understanding someone else’s message. Yes there are differences, there are some differences in spelling. There are some differences in accent. There are some different phrases. There are some different styles. But really, I don’t have any trouble understanding American English, and I would hope that all Americans would understand my English. Again, it goes back to getting your message across. It’s as simple as that.

And don’t forget, many of those differences, such as different expressions, and different styles, can even be seen within countries, so even if you decided to learn let’s say, American English, you are still going to encounter different words, different expressions and different styles. It’s part of what makes up this amazing thing called the English Language. And I’m sure you have these differences in your own language as well. So it’s nothing to worry about, but focus on communication.

What is important, what is really important, is that if you are at an intermediate level at the moment, if you can take your English to an advanced level, that is going to have a huge impact on your career, and potentially on your life. Similarly, if you have a pretty advanced level already and you can take that even higher to a near native level, that again, is going to have a much bigger impact on your career and on your life than whether you learn British English or American English.

So that’s my take on it. I like to use the term International English. That’s what we teach here at the Business English Community. And I would encourage you to focus on that. So thanks for watching. My name is Paul Urwin, businessenglishcommunity.com. Don’t forget to subscribe, and I’d really appreciate a big thumbs up! All the best, bye for now.

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