An International English?

A friend recently went to a training session conducted by a young American teacher. She picked up a few new ideas and was generally pleased with the content except for one strange piece of advice. The teacher told the group ” Don’t teach ‘have got’ as it’s not international English. Teach ‘have’.”

I was amazed that any teacher or trainer would spout such nonsense. Although, I might occasionally tease American friends about something they say that is strange to me ( and vice versa) I firmly believe that both languages have the same value. It’s true that in some countries learners prefer to learn American English and others British English. I have no problem with that. In fact, I can see no reason why all forms of native speaker English shouldn’t be assigned the same value.

There are 54 independent states in the Commonwealth of Nations (previously the British Commonwealth) most of which use English as a first or second language. It seems logical that the native English speakers  in many of those states, which includes Australia, are influenced by the UK. I would also argue that Indian English or Singapore English is also a authentic form of the language. Of course, there may be some colloquialisms in the English used throughout the Commonwealth but just spend a little time in the UK and you soon notice that the language has been bent in many different ways across the country.

Language is about communication and although there may be preferences from learners about the accent they want or the style of English they need (depending on the contexts where they need to use their English) it’s good to remind them of this fact. As long as we all understand each other what’s the problem?

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