Variety of the English language

english language

One of the most spoken languages on the planet is English. About 1200 million of people are able to communicate in English. It makes this language be the second spoken language in the world. The English language is the official language in more than 50 countries and it is widely taught as the second language. Because of this variety and number of speakers on different continents, English has its dialects and diversity that makes it be one of the unusual languages.

In this article I’m going to speak about New Zealand, American, Canadian, Australian and Indian English.

Indian English.

In India there are two official languages : Hindi and English. The English language is taught at schools, Universities, can be used at work and it has different dialects depending on the part of India. Although English keeps its lexical, grammatical and phonetical structure, the idiomatic expressions and colloquial speech has taken from Indian. Let’s see some words and expressions that have different from British English meaning.

« Don’t eat my brains » – this expression was taken from Hindi. The English variant is « to chew someone out ». We can say « don’t eat my brains » to someone who bugs you all the time about something.

« To be out of station » – it is the way to say that you’re not in a country/town right now. When for example during a phone call you say « Hey, can we meet now ? », a person can respond « No, I’m out of station »

Talkies – cinema

Hotel – restaurant

« My coffe is too light » means that there is too much water in coffe.

Metro – a large city ; apparently came from « metropolitan »

Bogie – a railway carriage

Cooling glass – sunglasses

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Australian English.

This variant of English is different for its unique pronunciation. It is more similar to New Zealand English, that was took from British variant. However, a lot of words are different, sometimes we even can’t understand the meaning because of the phonological and lexical variations. We even can hear the « Cockney » influence. For example, the sound /ei/ they pronounce like /ai/, the sound /ai/ it is /oi/, and we should mention the popular endings -ie, -y, -o. For example, cossie – swimsuit, lippie – lipstick, mossie – mosquito, chockie – chocolate.

Bluger – lazy person

Hard yakka – hard work

Sanga – a sandwich or sausage.

Big smoke – the city.

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New Zealand English.

During the 19th some English people established in New Zealand. The British, Australian, American ships came to the island to trade with the habitants. At that period they were speaking just Māori. With the time Australian people settled in New Zealand. It was mainly traders and sailors. Since then, New Zealand English has taken its path. Since 1839 it was announced about the establishing colonies, so people from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland were setttled in New Zealand. The Māori language took a lot from English, with the time it was transformed and now we have New Zealand English with the special accent and lexics. In general it is similar to Australian and British English.

Look at some phrases in the Māori language:

Nau mai – Welcome!

Kia ora – Hi! G’day!

Hei konā rā  – Goodbye

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Canadian English.

It is an official language of Canada, as well as French (less than 8 % of Canadians use French as the first language). Canadian English is influenced by American, British English and French.

Some endings like -que, -gue are not used in American variant : cheque – check, dialogue – dialog, Also in Canadian (and British English) there is double « l » in opposition to American English, like jeweller – jeweler, cancelled – canceled.

We also can notice the difference in pronunciation, words like « pique » are pronounced on the French manner /pi:k/, and words like « either » – /’aiðər/.

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American English.

About American English we can speak a lot, because in the USA there are different dialects. We can divide them into western, northen, southern, midland. To explain all the differences and peculiarities of American English we need to write another article. Let’s see it briefly.

From the 17th century people from the south, north, west of England started to settle down in different parts of America. This event gave the birth of dialects that we can hear now in the USA. The very bright example is American pronunciation of the letter « r ». In the northern part, where the Scotish, Irish and Germans were settled they keep the strong pronunciation of this letter, in opposition to New York and its close cities, like Boston the letter « r » is dropped.

From the 18th century a lot of immigrants came to the USA and it also left the traces in American English.

Look at the differences of pronunciation of American words :

wash – /wosh/ /worsh/ /wa:sh/

cow – /kau/ /kæu/

human – /hu:man/ /yum’n/

owl – /oul/ /aul/ /al/

sure – /shu:r/ /shor/

We also should mention about American slang :

Ya wanna go home ? = Do you want to go home ?

I dunno. = I don’t know

I gonna be there. = I am going to be there.

Have ya gotta car ? = Have you got a car ?

Lemme know ! = Let me know !

Whatcha gonna do tonight ? = What are you going to do tonight ?

It’s kinda nice ! = It’s kind of nice !

Gimme that ! = Give me that !

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Here you can see the comparative table of some words:

New Zealand English
American English
Canadian English
Australian English
British English
traffic cone pylon    
  colored pencil pencil crayon    
  take a test write a test    
to ring to call to phone   to call
toilet, bog, dunny bathroom washroom toilet, loo, crappa toilet
  couch chesterfield   sofa
car park parking garage parkade carpark parking lot
  football   footy soccer
lift elevator elevator lift lift
  sunglasses   sunnies sunglasses
  teacher   chalky teacher
lolly candy   lolly sweets
hot chips french fries     chips
jersey sweater   jumper jumper
bonnet hood tuque   bonnet, toque
  vacation     holiday
  fall     autumn
running shoes sneakers runners   trainers
footpath sidewalk   footpath pavement
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13 Comments

  1. “My coffee is too light” – this is a great example on how our mind reflects in the language we speak. Saying about coffee “too light” – it’s just so Asian.

    Are you planning on talking more on those English-like creatures? Maybe Singlish?

  2. Wow! What a fascinating post! I had no idea there were so many variations of the English language. “Don’t eat my brains…” It sounds horrifying but not literal. 🙂 Thank you for sharing! #ibabloggers

  3. Informative post, it’s so cool to learn about the different variations. Yes, the “Don’t eat my brains” sounds like a zombie moment, hehe.. thanks for writing this!

  4. I belong to a photo a day group with many Aussies and others throughout the world. Sometimes we have to translate our English for each other. It took me awhile to realize that when they say “cuppa” they mean “tea” (as in a cup of tea).
    #ibabloggers

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