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American and British English - let's work together!!
« on: May 04, 2011, 09:46:38 am »
Hello Waygooks. The previous native speaker at my school was an American. I'm South African. The kids nearly have nervous breakdown every time I write colour, favourite and neighbour, etc. I always make a concerted effort to show the difference between both the American and then the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australian, South African and Canadian spelling and expressions. I'm sure many of the American teachers also make an effort here, but for the most part I don't think they do. Other things are also important - like what's the date today - I would say it's the 4th of May, two thousand and eleven. Americans would say it's May fourth, two thousand eleven. I happily teach American English along with British English. The time is now twenty to eleven for me, but an American may feel it's ten forty. Let's work together shall we? Especially considering how many more countries are using British English. P.S. This is NOT a debate about whose English is better or right. English is English - let's just be conscious that our Korean students may be spending the day with an American public school teacher and then go to their Australian Hagwon teacher in the afternoon, and we need to be sensitive to how difficult it is for them. Try to always illustrate the differences to ensure they are not confused.  ;D
« Last Edit: May 17, 2011, 02:08:45 pm by sepeterson211 »


  • flasyb
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1901

    • November 30, 2010, 12:10:03 pm
    • South Korea
Re: American and British Spelling - let's work together!!
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2011, 09:56:17 am »
I feel that Americans have a tendency to be less aware of British English than the British are of American English.

I'm not saying that they do it deliberately or because they want to impose American English dominance over British English. I think the main reason why the British and the rest of the English speaking world outside the USA are more aware of American English is because of films and TV shows. I would appreciate my American brethren making more of an effort to become aware of other English dialects, idioms, sayings, spelling and pronunciation too. If you see a kid writing "favourite", don't correct it because it IS correct.

The only time you should correct it is if the kid is writing in a combination of American and British English - ie writing something like, "My favourite color is green." They should be consistent in their writing and that means choosing one or the other whilst ideally being aware of both.
In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

We are not "guests" in Korea. Korea didn't invite us over for Pimms in the garden. We are paid employees.


  • ame
  • Super Waygook

    • 338

    • December 02, 2010, 02:58:32 pm
    • South Korea
Re: American and British Spelling - let's work together!!
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2011, 09:56:48 am »
I agree.  I was taught English spelling.  When I am making a worksheet or PowerPoint I usually use American spelling, since I know that is what the students are taught here.  However, when I am writing on the board I use either (often English).  I am very happy when my students question the spelling because it means they see it and know it's different to what they studied.  This allows me to write the UK and US versions and explain the difference.

I also have occasional issues with pronunciation.  I usually speak with a British accent (although there are some who say there is no such thing), but I will sometimes effect an American accent to demonstrate the difference in pronunciation (e.g. water, Saturday, etc.)


  • alanoc84
  • Explorer

    • 9

    • September 24, 2010, 11:16:38 am
    • Seoul
Re: American and British Spelling - let's work together!!
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2011, 10:02:36 am »
Good call man. My students always question my spelling when I include the 'u' in certain words and although I have explained to them on countless occasions that there are two spellings, it wasn't until I put up a poster that had the Korean translation on it that they fully understood. I usually mix them just to show that it's not a big deal and both are correct.

Sometimes we do a word quiz as a filler at the end of classes. I'll give them the American English word and they have to get the British English version. Like candy vs sweets or fall vs autumn. The higher level kids do enjoy it and even caught me out one day because I didn't know that plough was spelt plow in American English! Oops!


Re: American and British Spelling - let's work together!!
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2011, 10:06:33 am »
Other things are also important - like what's the date today - I would say it's the 4th of May, two thousand and eleven. Americans would say it's May fourth, two thousand eleven.

I (American) say twenty-eleven.

I do expect to be corrected if I'm wrong, but I believe all the standardized tests here use American spelling.

It would feel very unnatural for me to teach my low-level students "colour", unless it came up on its own (as part of a British-made ppt, for example)


  • astericks
  • Adventurer

    • 73

    • March 01, 2011, 09:25:06 am
    • Cheongju
Re: American and British Spelling - let's work together!!
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2011, 10:08:05 am »
English is English, yet it is not.
Whether it be spelling, idiom usage, or basic everyday phrases, there are differences between British English and American English.

Growing up in the U.S., if I spelled color, c-o-l-o-u-r, it would be marked as incorrect.

I know  Hakwons that differentiate between the two offering British or American English as a choice.

Neither one is correct but there are certainly preferences in use and teaching.



  • VizionMC
  • Veteran

    • 205

    • April 05, 2011, 12:21:52 pm
    • Gwangju, South Korea
Re: American and British Spelling - let's work together!!
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2011, 10:11:56 am »
I agree w/ Flasyb, I am an American and I am less likely to be aware of/ or think in terms of the spelling used by our British counterparts.  It is not meant to be disrespectful.


  • gmosborn
  • Veteran

    • 160

    • June 21, 2010, 03:42:47 pm
    • south Korea
Re: American and British Spelling - let's work together!!
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2011, 10:16:16 am »
My question is when did Z(zee) become Z(zet)?  Something strange I have seen is a dash over the i instead of a dot. Is this taught somewhere in the west?  I have seen this at every school I have taught in Korea which is now at last count 8.  Then there is the rubbish bin/trash can. 


  • Paul
  • Featured Contributor

    • 2055

    • September 21, 2010, 10:28:58 pm
    • Seoul
Re: American and British Spelling - let's work together!!
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2011, 10:19:54 am »
"Zed" is the standard in Australia; I always assumed that was the standard English way vs. "Zee" in American English. "Zet" is just a Korean mispronunciation. Try saying "Zed" and keeping your lips shut the second they touch - that's how the d becomes a t.

The dash seems like laziness to me. Remember that the little dashes in hangul mutated into dashes from dots originally. Otherwise, dots aren't rally common in any Asian script.
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  • ohherro
  • Veteran

    • 99

    • March 10, 2011, 07:43:35 am
    • Daegu, South Korea
Re: American and British Spelling - let's work together!!
« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2011, 10:20:25 am »
Good point because the 2nd reason why the government hired us is to expose the kids to other cultures.  Granted, I'm American and 40 minutes is usually not enough time to cover these lessons, I'll try to squeeze in these tid bits and show them the many other ways to say certain words and phrases.


  • flasyb
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1901

    • November 30, 2010, 12:10:03 pm
    • South Korea
Re: American and British Spelling - let's work together!!
« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2011, 10:22:11 am »
Quote
I (American) say twenty-eleven.

I do expect to be corrected if I'm wrong, but I believe all the standardized tests here use American spelling.

It would feel very unnatural for me to teach my low-level students "colour", unless it came up on its own (as part of a British-made ppt, for example)

I don't think it's necessary to teach a class on it to students unless you think it would be of some value and relevant to their level. I guess it's just a few small experiences I've had like picking up a class after an American teacher and the teacher had told the students that they should always call "football" soccer and that "football" meant American Football - it doesn't to the majority of the world. I've also followed teachers who obviously went through their student's work with a read pen, crossing out the letter u from much of their work and correcting perfectly acceptable British spelling. Then I have the students trying to correct me as if I'm wrong - both in spelling and in pronunciation! They're always so certain of themselves too (kids love proving teachers wrong) and insist on it.

I don't think that the OP is calling for people to start teaching British English in the classroom and constantly point out the differences - it would be a waste of time when exams in Korea are in American English. However, it would be nice if Americans stopped correcting English, which is perfectly fine, in the classroom and instead show the two as alternatives.

Quote
My question is when did Z(zee) become Z(zet)?  Something strange I have seen is a dash over the i instead of a dot. Is this taught somewhere in the west?  I have seen this at every school I have taught in Korea which is now at last count 8.  Then there is the rubbish bin/trash can.

Zee is how Americans say the letter z (Zed). Dash over the "i"? Never seen that in any English before.
In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

We are not "guests" in Korea. Korea didn't invite us over for Pimms in the garden. We are paid employees.


Re: American and British Spelling - let's work together!!
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2011, 10:25:28 am »
I am a Canadian that moved to the states (specifically the south) halfway through my education.  I know exactly what these students are going through.  There were countless times that points were deducted from my assignments for "misspelling" colour, cheque etc. 

Yeah, just be aware that both are correct, and make an effort to inform your students of both ways, whenever possible.  Someone made a good point about choosing one and sticking with it.  I second that.


  • thektulu7
  • Adventurer

    • 66

    • March 01, 2011, 10:39:02 pm
    • Gwangcheon, South Korea
Re: American and British Spelling - let's work together!!
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2011, 10:27:08 am »
I am also an American, and I also say twenty-eleven. And I have heard several Americans say twenty-to-eleven instead of ten-forty. I often say it myself. And I remember seeing another thread recently regarding the difference of saying dates. Until then, I wasn't even aware that there was a difference. I, and pretty much everyone I know, American or not, uses "May fourth" or "fourth of May" or even "May four" interchangeably.

In my mind, it's not an issue of teaching the students American v. Everyone else. It's speaking to them as much as possible and using all the expressions so that they will understand. If students hear me saying one day "the fourth of May" and then the next "May fifth," they will eventually learn it means the same thing. Getting our students to understand the thoughts behind words should be an important goal (has anyone ever noticed that the ONLY thing you can say to have students say what you say is "Repeat after me"? And this is in high school. Any other word combination, including words they know, just does not compute).

But regarding spelling, um, yeah, good point.


  • glaurung8
  • Waygookin

    • 11

    • September 20, 2010, 08:06:29 am
    • Busan
Re: American and British Spelling - let's work together!!
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2011, 10:30:34 am »
I came into the reverse situation - I'm an American whose predecessor was English.  I know he solely used British spelling in his PPTs, and that while he used the textbooks as a guide for what material he covered, he completely ignored the book activities and the CDs.  Now that I think about it, it may be because he felt uncomfortable with all the American English and felt more comfortable teaching within his linguistic/cultural comfort zone.

I don't think there's anything wrong with that, and my students certainly were not harmed by his decision.  While many choose to teach both, I certainly wouldn't expect it.  Most of us aren't even credentialed teachers, let alone qualified to educate students about a version of the language we don't speak.  I'm sure our students are more familiar with American English as a result of America's presence in Korea and close economic and political ties to the nation, and of course, because of the TV shows, movies, and culture exported by the U.S.A.  For those same reasons, English, Scottish, Irish, South African, Australian, and New Zealander English speakers are also familiar with American expressions, etc.

Regardless, I think you're real culprit here is that the textbooks employ American English.  Therefore, no American teacher is going to think anything of the language used in the textbook; however, English speakers from other countries will notice the difference everyday and have to code switch or present the content in a format that is comfortable for them.  If the textbooks used British English, an American poster would have likely started this post.  But these textbooks use conventions you're not very familiar with, so it chafes. 

I think people should just teach the version of English they're familiar with and most qualified to teach.  Students can fill in the blanks and ask questions when they arise. 


  • Yu_Bumsuk
  • The Legend

    • 2341

    • March 03, 2011, 02:10:36 pm
    • Hicksville, ROK
Re: American and British Spelling - let's work together!!
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2011, 10:31:51 am »
I use Yank English at school and the Queen's (Canuckleheaded) English everywhere else. I've got bigger fish to fry.


  • katrink2
  • Adventurer

    • 72

    • September 19, 2010, 03:39:27 pm
Re: American and British Spelling - let's work together!!
« Reply #15 on: May 04, 2011, 11:23:59 am »
Has anyone actually met an American teacher who was somehow unaware of English spelling variants or the use of different expressions? I mean, personally met one or worked with one?

If you have, I of course hope you corrected and then totally made fun of them--I just imagine these people would be extremely rare.


  • EPSK
  • Veteran

    • 140

    • September 07, 2010, 07:52:55 am
    • Daegu, South Korea
Re: American and British Spelling - let's work together!!
« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2011, 11:26:16 am »
With the whole "two thousand and eleven" thing, that's actually wrong. I'm pretty positive about this. It's mathmatical language, you don't put an "and" in numbers.


  • 7Suarez7
  • Adventurer

    • 53

    • November 01, 2010, 12:45:06 pm
    • korea
Re: American and British Spelling - let's work together!!
« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2011, 11:37:34 am »
With the whole "two thousand and eleven" thing, that's actually wrong. I'm pretty positive about this. It's mathmatical language, you don't put an "and" in numbers.

You may be positive but you are the one who is wrong, I don't think anybody including British, Americans, Canadians, South Africans etc....say 'one hundred one' do they?? It's 'one hundred and one' or 'Seven hundred and sixty four' not 'seven hundred sixty four'

Cheers


  • Yu_Bumsuk
  • The Legend

    • 2341

    • March 03, 2011, 02:10:36 pm
    • Hicksville, ROK
Re: American and British Spelling - let's work together!!
« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2011, 11:52:37 am »
Has anyone actually met an American teacher who was somehow unaware of English spelling variants or the use of different expressions? I mean, personally met one or worked with one?

If you have, I of course hope you corrected and then totally made fun of them--I just imagine these people would be extremely rare.

Yep, at our school district's English camp. He stole a bunch of lesson plans from an Englishwoman to turn in as his own not even noticing that they used a different spelling pattern. He was working on an on-line PhD.  ???


  • katrink2
  • Adventurer

    • 72

    • September 19, 2010, 03:39:27 pm
Re: American and British Spelling - let's work together!!
« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2011, 11:53:52 am »
He's not wrong. When you're using scientific language, you wouldn't use "and" when talking about numbers. Math and sciences have their own style. Newspapers have their own style. Fiction writers have their own style. People in different countries have their own style. English is used differently in different arenas, both geographical and situational. Freakin' A, people.

(That last part was colloquial, don't even try to bust me on it.)