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Thread: English English or American English?

  1. #1
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    Default English English or American English?

    Just a quickie....

    I'm British, but I've heard somewhere that we should teach American English in Japan....is this true?

    Thanks

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    I think this can be true in some language schools but I've had no problem teaching British English in Japan. The purpose of JET seems to be for each person to teach the English he or she is most familiar with, so theoretically we should all be teaching our own version of English.

    This doesn't apply to Scousers or Brummies, however, as they will be required to teach actual English in class.
    "If you've got [a penis], or access to one, take a good look at it this evening and ask yourself: how can this possibly be the work of a sane God?"

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    I tend to end up sounding like some sort of British-Australian-American hybrid when I annunciate as clearly as possible.

    But that's just accent. As for grammar, you won't finding me teaching American syntax. I'll stick with English. :x

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    Yes, and I'll be spelling it 'colour', thank you very much!
    "If you've got [a penis], or access to one, take a good look at it this evening and ask yourself: how can this possibly be the work of a sane God?"

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    Lol....well I'm not from Brummie so that'll be ok!

    Its good to hear that I don't have to learn a whole new set of rules and spellings....knowing one set is enough!!

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    As superior as British English is, sadly the rest of the world uses simplified English (otherwise known as American English). I use British english when i teach, but its only fair to point out any differences, as their textbooks and previous learning will almost certainly be in the aforementioned "dumbed down" English dialect.



    Matt :twisted: :P 8)
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    Matt makes a good point. I've always told my students when there is a difference between American and British English. To be honest, American English is probably a lot more useful to them than British. Not that they'll be able to speak any of them, of course.
    "If you've got [a penis], or access to one, take a good look at it this evening and ask yourself: how can this possibly be the work of a sane God?"

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    when I was an ALT in Germany the kids had to learn both British and American English. The rule was that they could use either as long as they didn't mix! I think that American (semi)English will be more important to the Japanese though - Nevertheless I shall be teaching kids to pronounce 'route' etc correctly!

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    Default Benefits of Native Speakers

    In college, all our foreign language courses were broken down into two components: grammar and conversation. The grammar classes were sometimes taught by non-native speakers (for example graduate-level linguistics students) but most of them had achieved some sort of bench-marked fluency and had spent some time abroad. Most could tell us the regional variations in advanced idioms and expressions but they stuck to the textbook mostly.

    Conversation classes on the other hand were always taught by native speakers. I took a year of Spanish under this structure and part of the fun of learning was sampling the various ways that the language can be spoken/expressed. My instructors came from places such as Madrid, Columbia, Peru, etc... this added color (colour) to my lessons. I'd imagine that English Language programs in Japan have similar intentions when they recruit from the many English speaking countries around the world.

    For this reason I support you and think you should teach the language in the way that you know it best. Keep in mind however that your students may have questions about expressions and idioms that are not entirely British in origin. Keep your mind open :wink: . Just as the members and readers of this forum aren't all from the U.K. you can be sure that Japanese students will have a background in English that isn't entirely Brit-centric.

    I suppose I'll let the comment slide about American English being the "dumb cousin" of the language. :x After all, it's just an opinion. Spelling differences seem to weakly support an otherwise trollish remark.

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    Ah, I apologise to my much loved American cousins. I had no intention to troll, but old habits (ripping the piss out of Americans) die hard. Feel free to do the same to me, but perhaps we should take our mutually enjoyable insulting to PMs ?

    Matt
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    ah yes, the great debate. I for one will be speaking the mother tongue (british english) and then saying about the difference's between the two. however I will spell colour and say route (root!) properly although part of me wonders if Americans are more true to it's original form...hmm...

    to be honest though English is a weird language wherever you come from...and us native speakers from english countries can understand each other and laugh at differences. so the kids should be able to too.

    shoto.
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    You absolutely should speak your native brand of English. Your entire job won't be teaching English, but also "internationalization." I think that as long as you point out differences, you're fine. I speak American English, but when teaching the kids the word for "cell phone" I point out that other countries call it "mobile" and point out the "u" spelling debate (colour, favourite).

    In fact, there was a big ado this year about an Irish JET who was asked (compelled) by her JTEs to speak "American English." The consensus among most ALTs was that it was an unfair and ignorant request.

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    Well, here something I was told by the JET people in Washington DC. Each BOE can request (and most do) people from specific countries or regions. So, just guessing, but if a school system requests a Brit, I doubt they do so to hear them speak "Americanese"

    I would say the idea is to expose kids to as many accents and dialects as possible over the years, hoping at least one will stick

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    I've always been told by friends from Japan and Europe that British English is the standard of what is taught in Europe, but American English is the standard of what is taught in Japan. There is also the influence of Hollywood. However, I really don't think this applies for the JET program. If a specific accent or 'type' of English was desired, ALT's wouldn't hail from 40 different countries throughout the world- they would come solely from the US or the UK. Of course there are numerous varying accents within the US and the UK as well. Our purpose as ALT's is being representatives of our respective countries as well as helping with English conversation in whatever accent we have. I personally wish I had a New Zealander accent- they're so hot!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave
    when I was an ALT in Germany...

    How did you get to be an alt in Germany? Is there some website I can look into?

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    Default Re: Benefits of Native Speakers

    Quote Originally Posted by feenix
    I took a year of Spanish under this structure and part of the fun of learning was sampling the various ways that the language can be spoken/expressed. My instructors came from places such as Madrid, Columbia, Peru, etc... this added color (colour) to my lessons. I'd imagine that English Language programs in Japan have similar intentions when they recruit from the many English speaking countries around the world.
    Likewise, the Spanish classes I've taken have been taught by instructors from multiple countries that have different dialects ( ie: Spain Spanish versus Mexico Spanish), yet learned words, colloquilaisms, and respectful forms for each dialect.

    From my experience, most of my Japanese friends learn American/U.S. English. However, I've read a number of Japanese books translated into English that use British/"Proper" English spelling. It probably depends on where you are located as to what dialects the people are USED to hearing/ expect to hear.

    Regarding teaching the Queen's English, I'm from the U.S. and know some British phrases, slang, spelling and within the context of a lesson (and depending on the level of understanding) I would not hesitate to share similarities and differences that arise amongst English dialects.

    But I would never try to pass off teaching with a horribly fake accent. It would not be a pleasant sound to the ears.

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    All mine are going to speak like true Yorkshiremen/Geordies by the time I leave

    'Where's m'ipod, a left t'damn thing oot in t'landing. I were just aboot t'leave as well.'

    That's more or less how I speak as well

    I think I will make some effort to make myself more understandable and teach the more used pronunciations of words, but everything will be done with an English slant no doubt. I'm pretty familar with a lot of the differences between, American English and Queen's English anyway.

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    Dulcinea,

    I was an ALT in Germany too, me and Dave went through the same people, the British Council. You could check out their website, www.britishcouncil.co.uk but i dunno what the deal is concerning non-brits. There were Americans who did the assistantship (as they call it) but they had a totally different recruitment process.

    It's an easy gig-- 12 hours a week, one day off a week, but the pay's pretty crap, around 700 euro a month..but that's not bad if you're rent isn't too high. Good thing is, they're begging for ALTs over there, and, unlike JET, you almost always get where you want, even Berlin or Munich.

    But, you have to have an advanced level of German to do it!

    I'd definitely do it again, it was a blast, and the kids love you! Instant celebrity, oh yes!

    dunno how helpful that was!!

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    We are asked to teach American English. I could go into detail about the why's and all that jazz about "native speaker models" opposed to non-"native speaker models" but I won't....

    suffice to say there are many varieties of English, (Singaporean English and Indian English for example) and you should stick to your own variety when teaching (unless you are comfortable/capable of using another variety).

    Japan decided American English was the variety that they preferred to learn. Probably to do with economics.. possibly to do with ease of understanding? I don't know the exact reason. Anyway, I can't remember what the hell I was trying to say, so I'll stop.

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    Default Different English accents

    Hey all,

    Interesting discussion here. Since I'm not yet over in Japan teaching, I'll hold my comments about which brand of English we are expected to teach.
    However, my personal experience is with my Japanese fiance and she really enjoys when I explain to her about different dialects and different ways of pronouncing English. Remember, English has hundreds of different accents, depending on the culture it is being spoken in. I like to entertain her with American South talk, "y'alls" and such, and I really don't think it's going to harm the students in Japan to comprehend how multi-faceted English is.
    Maybe because I'm a typical American mutt, with Scandanivian, British, Irish and German ancestry, but it's my opinion that there is no RIGHT way to speak English except for one: clarity. If a person can't understand what you are saying, it doesn't matter how properly you are saying it.

    My two cents,

    Bryan

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