Talk:British English/Archive 2

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3

The Queen's English

When did "British English" become an official title? Being from England, the language is either known as simply English or The Queen's English. "British English" just sounds like something a foreign English speaker has used here. Our language is English or if we're talking about spelling, it is The Queen's English.

"British English" is fairly nonsense anyway, considering the language is ENGLISH, the Scottish and Welsh have their own native languages, and they also make up the island of Great Britain. The Commonwealth speaks English for the same reasons Scotland and Wales do, so the term "Commonwealth English" would make more sense, although still fairly pointless. Hence why we call it English or (for spelling) The Queen's English. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 17:21, 2 April 2007 (UTC).Reply[reply]

We are not bemused. Wahkeenah 00:05, 3 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As in the second paragraph: "The term "British English" is rarely used within Britain itself (just as Americans seldom use the term "American English")." Instructions: 1. Read article, 2. Comment on it :-) ChrisRed 08:25, 3 April 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That the language, wherever it is spoken, is simply called “English” is clear and not in dispute. No-one is suggesting the name of the language is or should be British-English, English-English etc. The term “British English” is a linguistic descriptor commonly used by linguists and others when there is a need to differentiate between English as it is written and/or spoken in different places. “British English” is in itself a pretty broad term, and might be further broken-down into “English-English”, “Welsh-English” etc., or even further into “Midlands-English” and so on, down to whatever level of specific distinction is required. At its most extreme, it can be specified down to the level of an idiolect, which is the language as used by one individual person. Petecollier (talk) 09:32, 6 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

English for the English

I'd love it if one of you Wikipedia nerds could explain the origin of this ghastly term. As far as I know it was invented by Microsoft or some other tekkie Yank company. I hardly think 'British English' has entered common parlance as yet. Do us a big favour and rename this article 'English as used in the United Kingdom', would you please?! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:02, 22 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well said. It is a completely meaningless term.

Yes, I know the name was coined to reflect the differences in the way the language is spoken in different countries, but only the modified versions need a 'tag' to differentiate them, not the original form as well.

French is spoken in various other countries besides France, but we don't hear continental French referred to as 'French French'. Same with Spanish, Dutch, whatever other language you care to pick - the original is not defined in the idiotic manner we see with 'British English'. People defending the use of this term should stop and think about how illogical they are being.

That the language, wherever it is spoken, is simply called “English” is clear and not in dispute. No-one is suggesting the name of the language is or should be British-English, English-English etc. The term “British English” is a linguistic descriptor commonly used by linguists and others when there is a need to differentiate between English as it is written and/or spoken in different places. “British English” is in itself a pretty broad term, and might be further broken-down into “English-English”, “Welsh-English” etc., or even further into “Midlands-English” and so on, down to whatever level of specific distinction is required. At its most extreme, it can be specified down to the level of an idiolect, which is the language as used by one individual person. Petecollier (talk) 09:31, 6 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Joining the Game

As an English speaker from England, from whence the name is derived, I take exception to the term British English; the term should in fact be International English. This is the language used by most English speaking countries around the world, you know the ones the English taught to read and write when America was virtually unheard of. In fact I believe International English is spoken more widely than the American slant on the language.

The problem with the term is further compounded by the fact that Northern Ireland is an English (that is, non-American) speaking sovereign state of the United Kingdom, not part of Britain, which only includes England, Scotland and Wales.

Therefore there is in fact no such thing as British English, just English (or International English, if you have to use something other than the place the language originated) and American English, which personally I’d rather have termed American due to the differences in the language. But hey (Americanism), since when did the US care about getting history right if it did not benefit them.

The Americans are very proud of their Independence, that is from England, of which they are/were just a colony of English settlers, which have been joined by settlers from around the world. They have corrupted the English Language for their own independent needs, now why not name it according to the country it is the native tongue.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:11, 18 August 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I hope the above is a joke. Canadian English, just as an example, is much, much closer to the English spoken in America than in England. Doug Weller (talk) 06:42, 19 August 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Furthermore, International English refers to a quite different animal. Not to mention that, for instance, American and British English are more similar to each other than either of them is to, say, West African English, East African English, or Pakistani English. Jack(Lumber) 19:55, 21 August 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That the language, wherever it is spoken, is simply called “English” is clear and not in dispute. No-one is suggesting the name of the language is or should be British-English, English-English etc. The term “British English” is a linguistic descriptor commonly used by linguists and others when there is a need to differentiate between English as it is written and/or spoken in different places. “British English” is in itself a pretty broad term, and might be further broken-down into “English-English”, “Welsh-English” etc., or even further into “Midlands-English” and so on, down to whatever level of specific distinction is required. At its most extreme, it can be specified down to the level of an idiolect, which is the language as used by one individual person. Petecollier (talk) 09:29, 6 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Standard English?

Is British English an official term? I have always been taught that it is called Standard English. —Preceding unsigned comment added by The cows want their milk back (talkcontribs) 19:49, 20 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The country-specific language code according to the ISO is "en-GB", hence "British". Conversely, Standard English applies internationally, wherever "educated speakers" use it. Any help? --Old Moonraker (talk) 07:30, 21 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There's a shed load of talk above this section that revolves around the use of "British English" and other "Englishes". It's big and strange enough already, and I don't want to revive it. But the way I see it, the general consensus seems to be that there are different ways of describing the written and the spoken language.
Additionally, the country-specific language code "en-GB" is a human construct, and only designed to identify one particular form of written language, with its keyboard layout, and perhaps spelling and grammar, from any other, for the purposes that are directly linked to fundamental computer usage. It would be a great mistake to hold it up to justify using the term "British English" outside of that narrow field.
However, a person might use the term "British English" to distinguish the written form of the language used in Great Britain from other written forms that are used in other countries, which might have different spellings, grammar, etc.
But the term does not describe a spoken form of English. From a distance, you might perceive one language that is most widely spoken in the British Isles, and that goes by the name of English. But if examined closely, that language is itself a collection of accents, each with complex colorings, that share elements of vocabulary and grammar. I believe that the people of the British Isles have the widest range of different spoken accents of English of any country. Perhaps that's because the language is rooted there. Although British people might refer to their language simply as "English", it does them a great disservice for someone to suggest that their different accents can be grouped together under the term "British English". They are much less likely to use the term to describe themselves than they are to refer to themselves as Scots, Welsh, English, or Irish (or even more specifically by region or county).--Twistlethrop (talk) 17:27, 30 March 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's right. The term “British English” is a linguistic descriptor, commonly and regularly used by linguists and others when there is a need to differentiate between English as it is written and/or spoken in different places. “British English” is in itself a pretty broad term that is only of real use when comparing to other large, general dialectal groupings (e.g. "American-English") and it can be further broken-down into “English-English”, “Welsh-English” etc., or even further into “Midlands-English” and so on, down to whatever level of specific distinction is required. At its most extreme, it can be specified down to the level of an idiolect, which is the language as used by one individual person. Petecollier (talk) 09:21, 6 October 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The last Cornish speaker

Given that Wikipedia has an article on the "last Cornish speaker", I have added a {{cn}} request to the statement "Cornish is also spoken by some people". While here, may I add that the phrase "I do go" for "I go" isn't restricted to Cornwall? As a Moonraker, I can attest that it is a feature of the Wiltshire dialect as well. --Old Moonraker (talk) 15:09, 8 June 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Use of phrase "British Isles" in English Wikipedia - straw poll

There has been a discussion for some time at Wikipedia:British_Isles_Terminology_task_force on the use of the phrase "British Isles".

A straw poll has now been called on the outcome of this project, please make your views known. The proposal being polled is shown below. Please vote here.

The straw poll is issued against a background of a number of editors systematically deleting all usage of "British Isles" throughout the site. The manual of style proposal attempts to set some rules to mediate this process.

  • The British Isles are Great Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Orkney, Shetland and, by tradition, the Channel Islands. Use on Wikipedia may or may not include the Channel Islands.
  • Use of British Isles is not prescribed in any context (i.e. there is no context in which British Isles has to be used).
  • Use of British Isles is appropriate in geographic contexts and (scientific) contexts related to geography such as distribution of flora and fauna, geology, weather patterns and archeology.
  • Don't mix "apples" and "pears" (e.g. if content lists states then list states, if content lists geographical units then list geographical units).
  • Use of British Isles in political contexts should be avoided after 1922.
  • Use of British Isles on articles that relate particularly to the Republic of Ireland or to the island of Ireland (including their geographic features) should be avoided except where the article relates more particularly to Northern Ireland.

Editors should respect verifiability and differences in terminology that appear in reliable sources where appropriate. Edit warring over use or non-use of British Isles is discouraged.

WHERE TO VOTE Jamesinderbyshire (talk) 06:27, 13 July 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

English used in every country except the United States

Hi guys, I just got rid of that sentence, since I think it is probably based on someone's opinion rather than on facts. Usually, Canadian English is more similar to American English, and so is the English learned by most non-English speakers. Hope this does't start a "war". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:07, 6 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I do not agree with the deletion of that sentence. English is the language of England, not America. Nor is it a baseless international language. British English IS English. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:26, 28 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

But then if we were to call our "separate" language American, you'd call foul for forgetting our roots, eh? Venku Tur'Mukan (talk) 21:10, 20 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Not at all: most English speaking people would probably be relieved to be distanced from the ever-increasing number of USofA corruptions of the language which seem, often, to derive from poor education in grammar or vocabulary. E.g. non-words such as 'nucular' which apparently resulted from a limited understanding of basic science, specifically the nucleus of an atom, from which the word, but not the corruption, often used by Dubbya, is derived. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:13, 3 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not everybody here says "nucular" (which I think you might be implying...). In fact, not everybody here thinks that AmE is better than BrE. If anything, these so-called "corruptions" have been worsened by the Internet. And yes, George W. Bush often messed up while speaking, but he wasn't necessarily stupid (and remember that he got over alcohol abuse, which, along with the accent developed over time from living in Texas, could have affected his speech). Venku Tur'Mukan (talk) 02:11, 23 November 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

English English ^2?

I'm not going down the route of 'American / Australian / Irish English is simply wrong', but British English? Come on...

Lots of people in the US are part Irish, do we call people from Ireland the Irish Irish? Or just the Irish? The Scottish Scots, who speak Scottish Scotch? The American Americans who speak American American?

Calling it British English is in some way implying it's a different variation on the others. The others are, by definition, a variation on English, from England. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Johnheritage (talkcontribs) 00:47, 20 September 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

>a variation on English, from England
>English, from England
So why the need for British? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:26, 12 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

So we stupid Americans know the difference. :P I don't know why it's such a big deal (maybe it's 'cause I'm not British). America has evolved (devolved to some people) in the English language. It's just different now. Venku Tur'Mukan (talk) 21:04, 20 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

American Accent ??

Here is the magic question. What British accent most resembles General American accent? By General American accent it is meant the kind used by most newscasters in America. It is sometimes called "accentless" or "midwestern" because it is neither southern or extreme northern. I could not find the answer to this question. Someone told me that Geordie is the closest accent to general American...but I have my doubts. Others said Yorkshire, others said Cornwall. Can you help? Any ideas? Thanks.

Having lived in the North East for many years, I'd argue against it being closest to the 'Amercian' accent. The majority of Geordie slang and pronunciation stems from Scandinavian languages. Persoanlly I hear little similarity to 'American'.

Well, my grandmother is from Sheffield and parts of her speech are quite american, even after almost 50 years after leaving england, so id say around there would be a fairly close match. And no, i wouldnt consider US to be accentless. If anyone is it would be the poms around london, england had english before the other english speaking countries, or my personal opinion, that us aussies are accentless. Aussies can do english and american accents quite easily, but ive never heard an american or englishman do anything other than their own (We are not AUSSSSSIES), and dont bring up that goose english actor posing as an aussie that was on JAG (Name slips me, but he commited suicide shortly after he was busted as not acutally being an australian. He didnt even sound remotely australian, he sounded like a South African, so im not even sure anyone outside of aus can tell the difference. Squad'nLeedah 23:11, 27 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

ahpook 14:03, 22 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The american accent isnt accentless, london area acsents are generaly the acsentless part of the english language, rember the name of the language 'english' if american was accentless it would be called american but its called english (talk) 01:13, 18 October 2008 (UTC) I would say a southern Irish accent is the closest, which would make sense if you think about the scale of historical migration from there to the US. MjoblingReply[reply]

Just so you know, I feel pretty certain that in the U.S., the "neutral" or "accentless" accent would not be called "midwestern." Georgraphically, this "neutral" accent predominates everywhere from the Rocky Mountains west (excepting Hawaii), whereas the Midwest of the U.S. ends at the eastern margin of the Rocky Mountains. Generally speaking, the American midwest has what many people consider a fairly strong accent, and the phrase "midwestern accent" would definitely refer in America to this accent. Most people would probably call "accentless" American speech the "neutral accent"; they might also perhaps go with "California accent" (not to be confused with the surfer accent or Valley girl accent) or "western accent." Ventifact 06:06, 14 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Excellent question. I'd agree that to my ear a 'neutral' American accent does sound quite like a soft Southern Irish accent as regards the 'rythym' and 'rise and fall' of the voice. With many Americans I can also often hear a trace of a mild 'West Country' accent (as spoken in an area inside, say Bristol, Gloucester, Swindon and Weymouth) in the use of some sounds (especially 'r'). Again, as Bristol was a major embarkation point for The New World, perhaps many emigrants were drawn from rural parts of the surrounding area, and it all got blended together. ChrisRed 10:09, 26 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
back in the 80s there was a woman on the local news whose west country accent was so pronounced that she was often mistaken for an american. The news programme covered Cornwall, Devon and the west of Somerset and Dorset, but I don't remember exactly where she lived. Totnesmartin 03:18, 15 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would agree with that, the American accent has always sounded like a cross between the south irish accent and the West Country, which corresponds nicely with Irish migrants and the Bristol area being the foundation upon which the North American New World was built.

Back to the British accent closet to the American accent... I think Emma Watson from the Harry Potter movies sounded just like an American. I believe she said she was from Oxfordshire. Also Bono from U2 and Northern Ireland sounds very American. I don't know if their speech accurately reflects their regional accents.

I've heard a Dorset accent called the 'American accent of England' back in England ... although never by any one in Dorset. After living in the USA most of my adult life, I would say the comparison is reasonable. UK English 'ou' & 'au' are generally not found in Dorset just as they are generally not found in American. Short 'o' & a flat short 'a' are also similar to American. A post vocalic 'r' can be found in both as well. It was suggested in an American documentary The Story of English that American speech was influenced by a great number of early American settlers from England who came from the south-west or 'west-country', case in point: the American Pilgrims of the Mayflower, who hailed & sailed from Plymouth in Devon.

--Christian Marion 07:20, 12 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"I think Emma Watson from the Harry Potter movies sounded just like an American." I disagree. I'm an American and I've always heard the difference between her and "us." Venku Tur'Mukan (talk) 21:09, 20 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

English Singing

Why is it that when peoples of the British Isles seem to 'lose' their accent and get a more American sounding accent when they sing? Kaiser Matias 03:08 4 July 2005 (UTC)

I agree (as a Brit): it's annoying. I don't lose my accent when I sing, but that's because I sing quite frequently; don't listen or sing along to pop music (the chief of sinners in this regard); and pay careful attention to my singing when I sing. Obviously when singing, you get a bit of accent shift (I tend to go more RP for clarity reasons), but all the same I fail to understand why people insist on sounding like some generic American pop artist when they sing. It causeth me to grind my teeth. Wooster 09:48, 30 July 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's probably down to their influences. If you learn that "that" is the way to sing that style of music then you mimic it, knowingly or not. violet/riga (t) 10:00, 30 July 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Anyone trying to argue such a point has obviously never been to a Welsh Rugby match and listened to the crowds sing "Bread of Heaven". Everyone sings songs in the accent the song is most often sung in. Jerusalem is sung in proper English not a US drawl everywhere. --BozMo 12:45, 14 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's gross generalisation to say the people from the British Isles lose there accent when singing. Take the Sex Pistols, Blur, The Jam, Oasis, Coldplay and numerous other band that sing with an "Brtish accent". In the early days of rock n'roll in Britain some bands imitated the recordings of American rock n'roll and blues (like The Rolling Stones) which was a novel and exotic sound to those brought up on Skiffle or whatever. Some British singers will always ape the "exotic" American sound, but plenty don't. Jooler 22:43, 14 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is racist and delusional rubbish. Do Americans "lose their accents" when they sing? Actually the answer to that is no, they usually adopt an exaggerated ghetto accent and slur their words. Apart from that bizarre practise, accents generally are less noticeable with any singing voice. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:32, 28 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

People might be interested in checking out this reference:

Trudgill Peter. 1983. "Acts of Conflicting Identity. The Sociolingistics of British Pop-Song Pronunciation" in Peter Trudgill, On Dialect. Social and Geographical Perspectives. Oxford: Blackwell. 141-160.

FrancisTyers 15:56, 28 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is terrible! I am very disappointed in all of you... I was looking for a guide on Britain's pronounciation/slang and all I got was arguments and extraneous capitalization. Really now, Wikipedia should be a more respectable medium than this. The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) .

Pronounciation and slang vary widely throughout Britain, that is why this article was broken into articles such as English English, Scottish English, and Welsh English. See the 'See also' section to find what you are looking for. JeremyA (talk) 01:43, 16 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Quite, the idea of there being such a thing as a "British" accent is silly as well as a little demeaning - what Americans probably mean is "RP accent", or "Posh" as northerners like myself would call it.

I'm very pleased that this page has been redone, there was clearly a lot of dissatisfaction with it. It seems that in general the issue of the way English is treated on Wikipedia is still not entirely satisfactory to many British people. Neither redirections from "Aubergine" to "Eggplant" nor "Rappalling" to Abseiling seem satisfactory; one wonders whether some more equanimious solutions might be proposed, such as: machine translation, and multiple headwords. I'm currently trying to help expand the American and British English differences sections, which I wonder might be better off presented in a different way, for a variety of reasons discussed on that page. Promsan

"...they usually adopt an exaggerated ghetto accent..." You are mistaken. Those are the rap "artists" that have forgotten how to speak properly. To us, it's silly that there's an "American" accent. Racist? Bah. That just makes you sound stuck-up. I find that a lot of people on here are quite... stuck up rude. We just haven't come up with a better word to differentiate between American and European English. It's just different. Venku Tur'Mukan (talk) 21:18, 20 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Proper usage in wikipedia.

Curious, I haven't found a definitive answer regarding whether or not Wikipedia is English (American) or English (British). Sure, wiki was founded in the US but it resides on the .org infrastructure... which could be anything. Things ranging from "color" vs 'colour" to "trousers" vs "pants", since there is no universal spelling, wording, whatever, I don't know if it is ok to RV someones British spelling or word..... what to do?... Binarypower 08:45, 8 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

See Wikipedia:Spelling. I'd say that the mixture of spellings etc. in Wikipedia is a good thing. It's an added educational bonus (seeing the variety, and realising that the different versions are equally "correct"), and it reflects the nature and origin of the project. No straitjacket, please - but do respect the spelling conventions of each article, and keep it in the version of English in which it started. Consistency within an article is desirable, consistency across the whole encyclopaedia is not. Snalwibma 08:49, 8 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"If an article's subject has a strong tie to a specific region/dialect, it should use that dialect." Thats one reference from the Wikipedia:Spelling policy that I use as a discriminator when I am trying to decide between which dialect to use consistently through an article. The other one is to "If all else fails, consider following the spelling style preferred by the first major contributor (that is, not a stub) to the article." Ansell 23:17, 5 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

English is English, American is wrong, plain and simple. 13:06, 13 October 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I second that. Im an Australian. I speak english. Colour is spelt with a U, HERBS has the H pronounced, in VEHICLES its SILENT. You cant bastardise a language to suit your own ends and then claim it as a world standard. Please, keep to proper english. Squad'nLeedah 23:17, 27 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Proper English" doesn't exist. You're thinking of French. What you call "bastardising" a language will one day just be called an "evolution" of the language. And why are you wasting your breath on how things are pronounced in an encyclopedia? No one is reading it to you. If the word "color" keeps you from understanding the article, perhaps editing its contents is beyond your reach. If not, and you are only being a grammar nazi, realize that grammar nazis exist on this side of the Pacific as well, and there is no point in a revert war. Best just to deal with it and follow the suggestions = match the spelling conventions of the article's first edit. (talk) 08:44, 24 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I am an American and I agree with the British. Theirs should be the world standard. However, I have a question for wikipedia: Why are we using American or mixed standard in articles? The football article is unnecessarily subtitled "soccer" despite it being a hated sport in our nation. Now my love calling footy by its proper name aside, doesn't it seem we should have an American English and British English version of wikipedia? Before anyone accuses me of nitpicking, these both have accepted standards in their respective countries, and there is a wikipedia in Simple English... I recognise it would be difficult to convert all English wikipedia articles into two articles, one of each dialect, but I think it would cause a lot less bickering over spelling, word choice, national bias, etc. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dsmccohen (talkcontribs) 05:25, 24 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

First off this is not a soapbox so stop preaching. Second, since we are still able to communicate, I find the idea of 2 separate sections American English and British English not only unnecessary but a ridiculous waste of space (what, a reprinting of each individual article, with either American or British colloquialisms and spellings thrown in for flavor?). One notices that none of the other language groups have decided to secede from each other, despite one imagines, the fact that they all have their own regional dialects as well with an equal if not greater amount of variation (ex. Spanish spoken by Spaniards, Spanish spoken by Mexicans). Thirdly, what makes one version more correct than the other when both have changed so greatly over the years? And if you say its because the British people have been speaking English longer with an intent of almost giving them a patent to the Language, then realize that that could be turned around, and instead be used to say that "British" English is obsolete with their empire long collapsed and ours (with some rocky bumps) still flourishing (U.S. citizen, by the way). That is not the intent of my writing, to make some kind of claim for American superiority, I simply dislike elitism and detected it in your writings. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Just trying to help (talkcontribs) 08:30, 30 January 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To the Australian Squadnleedah... It can't possibly matter that much to you. If I see "colour" in an article instead of "color," I just know that it means what it means. I might jokingly pronounce it as "cull-oor" at first, but I don't think it's despicable. "Herb" vs "'erb" is still widely varied in the US as far as I know. For the most part, people pronounce "vehicle" with a silent "h" except for some southern citizens. I know that TECHNICALLY American English is "wrong" but it's just evolved (or devolved in your perspective) from the past few centuries of having separated from Europe. I agree entirely with what Just trying to help said. American English is American English and British English is British English. Can't see why it's such a big deal. Just keep it consistent within an article and we're fine. I'm American, if you were wondering (I did have the opportunity to go to Australia as an academic trip and I would have loved to go, but unfortunately, I was unable to attend). I've never seen any attempts to standardize American English. In my opinion, proper English is just keeping it grammatically correct. Oy. People sometimes. Venku Tur'Mukan (talk) 16:58, 17 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Those who think that "American English" is dominant

Atlant: Your revert reintroduced the POV view about Americans. I removed the sentence, as a peace-making gesture. What people think about American English is not, in fact, relevant in that paragraph, and probably not in the article as a whole. (For the record, there is plenty of evidence that many non-Americans think American English is dominant, and plenty of evidence that many non-Americans think some other form is dominant. That issue can go in a different article.) Hyperborean 14:40, 6 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I had heard that because of the vastness of the commonwealth, more people speak and write in the world British English than American English, but because hollywood movies are so widespread, people assume American English is dominant; but I can't remember my source, it was probably TV (QI or something), so I wouldn't write it in an article. --KX36 20:16, 6 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is all part of someone's opinion. Because I am English and live in England, I wouldn't even dream of speaking American English as my primary accent. In my opinion, none of the accents are dominant, as American English originated from British English, as did all kinds of other english. Mil Falcon 17:59, 6 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually, I think one of these articles on American English or the differences between AmE and BrE or something says that when the puritans left for america, they were speaking (and writing, for whom could write) in AmE, as was everyone else in britain at the time and that BrE has evolved since then while AmE has remained as it was 300 years ago. This is probably oversimplified, but I think the point it's trying to make is that the 2 versions of English are homologous (from a common ancestor) rather than AmE is an alteration on BrE or vice versa. It's similar to a common inaccuracy in Evolution theory to say things like "man evolved from monkeys" when really the theory only states that they came from a common ancestor which was neither human or monkey. (It's also common to state this THEORY as fact). --KX36 20:16, 6 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Whether its dominant or not, its inherantly wrong owing to the fact that the language didnt come from there. I support americans changing the english language just as much as i support australians doing it. Not at all. (Ever heard an ocker aussie? They are an embarrasment and im damn glad i have the background i have.....) Squad'nLeedah 23:21, 27 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thankfully, your support isn't requisite. According to, two thirds of native speakers of English reside in America. (talk) 08:48, 24 September 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

British English?

British English IS English and therefore doesn't need to be labelled "British English. It is just English. It may be called ENGLISH. I thank you. ( 14:11, 15 February 2007 (UTC))Reply[reply]

This article is about the variety of English as spoken in the British Isles, as opposed to the varieties of English spoken elsewhere in the world. Of course English is a single language; this article is mainly about forms and dialects. Voretus 15:39, 15 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The writer suggests there is only one English spoken in England. I'll have to go up the apples and pears and think that one over. Wahkeenah 12:20, 17 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Someone says above "If an article's subject has a strong tie to a specific region/dialect, it should use that dialect." Well since, as can be clearly seen from this page, people from the UK do not use the term "British English", I propose this article be renamed English (British) or English (UK). What Americans and others need to understand is that Wikipedia is totally US-biased, everything ends up being writeen from a US POV. "British" can be offensive to Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish, that's something that people from the country that popularized political correctness ought to be able to understand.

Americans don't use "American English" either. The title is correct though. It's the variety of English spoken in America. I don't see how that is biased towards the U.S. at all. I don't see how this being called "British English" could be offensive; the article details the forms of English spoken in the British Isles. Voretus 05:00, 17 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Someone just looking around for it is more likely to find it under "British English" than to think of typing "English (UK)". But it doesn't matter what you call it, as long as this one and all the other variations have links from the main "English" page. Wahkeenah 12:19, 17 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

British English my backside just because you yanks decided to adapt our language beens that now we don't speak English??? I SPEAK ENGLISH NOT BRITISH ENGLISH

Do you? Perhaps you meant to say: "British English" my backside! Does the fact that the Americans decided to adopt our language mean that we now don't speak "English"? I speak "English" - not "British English".
Blimey! Wahkeenah 12:34, 22 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Whilst you are right that Wikipedia is US biased (although not as bad as conservapedia) I think that the article name is fine. Although what is the "Longman book of contemporary English" I have never heard of it? (Elephant53 00:19, 4 March 2007 (UTC))Reply[reply]

US biased, hah. Voretus 14:41, 5 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is a pointless circular argument. To whoever is speaking, their language is 'English', and anything else is '..(somewhere else)... English'. So the term 'British English' is largely meaningless to the British, who just speak 'English' with various dialects, but meaningful to Americans / Australians / South Africans and the good people of Upper Bangoolooland, who can pick a Brit out of a crowd of locals by sound alone. Likewise 'American English' means little to Americans, who (to their ears) just speak 'English', but a Brit / South African / Aussie etc will call it 'American English'. 'British English' is a name that non-Brits use for the difference between their language and the English language as spoken in Britain. I am English, so I cannot possibly describe what 'British English' is...only somebody else from the outside (who can hear the difference) can do that. Even then, there will be many different versions; one for each 'other' nationality. So 'British English' will mean totally different things to an American and a Pakistani. An American will say "In British English they say 'pavement' instead of 'sidewalk', but an Indian will say "In British English they say Bombay instead of Mumbai". ChrisRed 15:09, 5 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • 18:06, 24 March 2007 Philip Baird Shearer: No one speaks British English they write it, but there is no such thing as British English other than Received pronunciation which is not called British English In Britain
Although the vast majority of people in Britain speak English, either as their first or a second language, the term 'British English' is rarely used within Britain itself. The term is more commonly used by speakers of other dialects, such as 'American' and 'Australian' English, to describe the divergences that have developed over time between their own native dialect and that used in Britain.
  • 18:10, 24 March 2007 Wahkeenah: POV-pushing. Americans don't call American English 'American English' either.
Although the vast majority of people in Britain speak 'British English', either as their first or a second language, the term is rarely used within Britain itself. The term is more commonly used by speakers of other dialects, such as 'American' and 'Australian' English, to describe the divergences that have developed over time between their own native dialect and that used in Britain.

I think Wahkeenah you are missing the point. No one in Britain speaks 'British English' they write it. All British people speak English with an accent or dialect of English, a small minority speak received pronunciation English but there is no one accent or dialect of English in the British Isles which could be described as spoken British English. Until such time as you can provide an attributable source that claims that people speak British English, please do not revert the change again. --Philip Baird Shearer 18:25, 24 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

OK, do you say "lift" or "elevator"? Do you say "post" or "mail"? Do you say "lef-tenant" or "loo-tenant"? If you say the former in each case, there's a good chance you're speaking British English, whether you like to call it that or not. Wahkeenah 21:02, 24 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'd guess you have never been to Britain, or Australia, or New Zealand, or South Africa, because those words would not necessarily identify someone as an inhabitant of the UK and Ireland. If you had been to Britain you would realise that as the article says there are probably larger differences in the way English is spoken in Britain than in any other monoglot English speaking region. --Philip Baird Shearer 00:35, 25 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

According to the OED, draft rev. Dec. 2004, "The term mail (as distinguished from post) is currently dominant in North America and Australia, both for the [postal] system itself and the material carried. New Zealand retains post for the postal system, but mail otherwise. Britain favours post in both contexts." Furthermore, the Australian English article states that Australians use lift and elevator interchangeably---I don't vouch for it though. But that's beside the point. The OED definition of British English (footnote #2) is clear: "[T]he English language as spoken or written in the British Isles; esp[ecially] the forms of English usual in Great Britain, as contrasted with those characteristic of the U.S.A. or other English-speaking countries." (Emphasis added.) Examples from the OED: The influence of the vulgar London or ‘Cockney’ dialect is stronger in Australasian than in British English; These words do not mean in American..use what they mean in British English; This expression may be current in America, but it is not British English. In these examples, British English doesn't necessarily refer to written English. Corollary: the British speak British English. Of course this doesn't mean they all have the same accent. The very idea. Note the plural: "the forms of English..." We *all* _speak_ English---not just "write" English. The British speak various forms of British English. JackLumber. 13:34, 26 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you. In fact, we all speak and write English. English has a set of grammar rules which English speakers and writers strive to adhere to. And don't go lecturing me about not ending a sentence with a preposition. :) The differences between the various forms primarily have to do with spelling, vocabulary, pronunciation and accent. If that one writer insists that the British speak just plain "English", I'm going to have to insist that the same is also true for Americans, Australians, etc. And then why have separate articles? Well, to highlight those differences, that's why. And then the spoken as well as the written form called "British English" is back on the table. Wahkeenah 17:27, 26 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Note the the OED footnote #2 also inculdes the phrase "forms of English". Of course by definition the all the types of English spoken in Britian is British English (just as all the people in Britain are British), but it is more than one version of spoken English, and it is not just accents but dialects as well. However one would be had pressed to argue that there is more than one form of written English in Britain. --Philip Baird Shearer 17:42, 26 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, there are all sorts of variations in written "British English" (e.g. while/whilst, -ise/-ize, not to mention quite a large lexical range, as evidenced by wee/small, and a whole host of different idioms such as "this day week" vs. "a week today", etc.) - but can we not simply agree that it's all a matter of degree? There is certainly more uniformity in written than in spoken English as used in Britain/GB/UK/wherever, but nonetheless it is useful to consider the concept of "British English" applying to both written and spoken (to different degrees, maybe), because it helps us to distinguish the overall group of ways-of-saying-things and ways-of-writing-things in this corner of northwestern Europe from the way it's done elsewhere (USA, Australia, etc). Vague, slightly ambiguous, fuzzy at the edges maybe - but it does exist! And it seems to me that the lead section of the article has it about right just now. Snalwibma 17:58, 26 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think that part of the problem is to use the word British is to impose an area/state on four distinct nations. Just the same as saying that there is North American English, or Antipodean English. Further in England itself there are very marked regional variation which are much greater than between Estuary English and Australian or Received Pronunciation and Ivy League English. --Philip Baird Shearer 19:19, 26 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The original debate was over the sentence "Although the vast majority of people in Britain speak British English..." and if you take away the "British" there, the followup comment "although the term 'British English' is seldom used" doesn't make so much sense, since it was intended to restate the words "British English" from the previous phrase. What we've got here is just another example of a British editor who is offended by the term "British English" on the grounds that the only "real" English is British English, and that therefore "British English" is a redundancy; that only non-British English should be qualified with an adjective. Wahkeenah 18:04, 26 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wahkeenah It is your interpretation that I am offended. I am not. If I were writing this article about North America I could write that "Although the majority of people in North America speak English, either as their first or as a second language, the terms 'Canadian English' and 'American English' are rarely used within the respective groups about their dialects. In doing so I would not be claiming that the English of North America was the only real English. What it means is there is a language called English which is spoken by all English speakers and that the English spoken in Britain contains several verities of English but not that other verities of English are not also English. --Philip Baird Shearer 19:47, 26 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, I worked out that that what was going on (though it did take a while!). But it looks OK to me without "British" in that sentence, as "Although the vast majority of people in Britain speak English...". In other words, coming at it pretty cold (though I have been sort-of watching the article for a long time), it doesn't strike me as a non-sequitur or a nonsense. Looks like perfect sense, and explains the issues pretty well. Snalwibma 18:11, 26 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
How about this wording:
The vast majority of people in Britain speak English, either as their first or as a second language. The term "British English" is rarely used within Britain itself (just as Americans seldom use the term "American English") except to distinguish one variation of English from another. Wahkeenah 18:18, 26 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hey, but I *did* point out the plural: forms of English. JackLumber. 18:24, 26 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hmmm. A shame to lose the "although X, nonetheless Y" structure, IMHO. How about this:
The vast majority of people in Britain speak English, either as their first or as a second language. Although the term "British English" is rarely used within Britain itself (just as Americans seldom use the term "American English"), it is used, especially internationally, to distinguish the forms of English prevalent in the United Kingdom from those spoken elsewhere in the world. Snalwibma 18:42, 26 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Seems good to me, particularly if it clears up Wahkeenah concerns. Probably should add in the Republic Ireland if it is a gographic (as in IONA) description and not simply political description of an area under a state. --Philip Baird Shearer 19:51, 26 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ireland, eh? Tricky one! I think best leave it pretty vague. On reflection, I'd actually be inclined to say "Britain" rather than "United Kingdom" in this paragraph. Once you start going down the IONA route you can have fun offending a whole load more sensibilities! Snalwibma 20:01, 26 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree. --Philip Baird Shearer 20:03, 26 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Technically, for uniformity, you need a disclaimer like this in every one of the "____ English" articles. And I don't see why only foreigners to Britain would say "British English". No matter where you are, if you're doing a comparison among all languages, you're going to qualify each one, including the British variety. Wahkeenah 21:26, 26 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's why my draft says "especially internationally", meaning not just internationally, and that it is or can be used in GB too. Could just delete those words: "... it is used to distinguish the forms of English prevalent in Britain ..."? Snalwibma 21:45, 26 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No one in Scotland would say that they speak "British English". An English man might say it rather than say "English English" which just sounds odd, but they are much more likely to claim that they speak either "with an English accent" or their regional accent/dialect like "Scouse". I think you should include "... it is used to distinguish the forms of English prevalent in Britain ..." --Philip Baird Shearer 08:23, 27 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ah, but they might, if the intention is to ally oneself to eastern-Atlantic English as opposed to western-Atlantic English. Anyway, I'm going to bold and change that paragraph in the lead section [prepares to duck] Snalwibma 21:33, 27 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Your version seems straightforward and elegant. Kudos. Wahkeenah 23:28, 27 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And a very elegant and civilised debate too, gentlemen. A joy to read, unlike some of the things that you see on Wiki :-) ChrisRed 06:53, 28 March 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I find the term "British English" insulting. I understand the need for English speaking countries to define their own language as a variety of English (such as American English, which I prefer to call Americanish), but "British English" should not be classed as a term in its own right, only a description such as "German car" or "French table". It does not warrant its own page, just as "polish mirror" doesn't. English is English, any other versions of it should be defined, but in Britain we speak English, not "British English".Yevad (talk) 15:05, 19 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The article states erroneously that the most common form of English is RP. I quote:

"The most common form of English used by the British ruling class is that originating from southeast England (the area around the capital, London, and the ancient English university towns of Oxford and Cambridge). This form of the language is known as the "Received Standard", and its accent is called Received Pronunciation (RP), which is improperly regarded by many people outside the UK as "the British accent"."

It is anything but common! Suggest a wild hypothesis: change it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:38, 3 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"British riuling class" - obviously written by an American! Received standard is the English of East Anglia, not the "ruling class" (even if there was such a thing still). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:30, 28 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually, the article states that RP is the most common accent used *by the British ruling class*. Jack(Lumber) 19:07, 4 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually, I know that. 1. The word 'common' creates a bit of a muddle if the 'ruling classes' are being talked of as it has two different meanings. Try 'standard' or 'prevalent' or even 'traditional' instead. 2. 'The ruling class' is anachronistic and meaningless. What is meant by that term? The nobility? Everyone who went to a public school? Or maybe the Government? Who do rule and strangely do not all talk with RP. Listen to Gordon Brown for instance or John Prescott. I suppose Tony Benn has an RP accent but he would baulk at the idea of being included in 'the ruling class'.

Just think it's a generalisation which needs more thought. -- (talk) 17:42, 7 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think the whole paragraph would benefit from a little reworking. I particularly don't like 'Earlier [RP] was held as better than other accents', as, although it acts as a class marker, I suspect only those who spoke RP thought this and so were in the minority. I suggest we replace The most common form of English used by the British upper classes... has evolved quite markedly over the last 40 years with the following.
The form of English most commonly associated with educated speakers in the southern counties of England is called the "Received Standard", and its accent is called Received Pronunciation (RP). It is frequently used as a model for teaching English to foreign learners. Although educated speakers from elsewhere within the UK may not speak with an RP accent it is now a class-dialect more than a local dialect. [Its] best speakers... are those whose pronunciation, and language generally, least betray their locality (Henry Sweet, The Sounds of English (1908)). [Reference: Fowler's Modern English Usage] It may also be referred to as "the King's (or Queen's) English", "Public School English", or "BBC English" as this was originally the form of English used on radio and television, although a wider variety of accents can be heard these days. Only approximately two percent of Britons speak RP[1], and it has evolved quite markedly over the last 40 years. English spoken with a mild Scottish accent has a reputation for being especially easy to understand.[citation needed]
I would want to sort the references out properly before adding it. Fowler quotes Sweet so I'll see how easy it is to find the original source and reference them separately, or better suggestions are welcome... Potahto (talk) 09:00, 18 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I've updated it along the lines of the above. Potahto (talk) 07:30, 21 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The article says: The best speakers of Standard English are those whose pronunciation, and language generally, least betray their locality. I am not at all sure this is true - although "best" in this context is not defined. However if we define "Standard English" as being "A type of English whose speakers don't betray their locality" then the statment would be correct - but it would also be a tautology. I'd say take it out.--British cons (talk) 20:11, 13 September 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Solicitation of comments on an RfC

A Request for Comment (WP:RfC) was posted Sunday, 17 July 2011 at the Talk page of South Sudan. It concerns the use of the definite article ("the") citations in the InfoBox and elsewhere of what the long form is of the country's name. It is my hope to have responses from academically aware editors devoted to Africa, geography, coutries, and British English. Hurmata (talk) 23:29, 17 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

British English does not exsist.

The terms being used to describe English are in fact wrong. English is a language that developed in and around the British Isles, and should always be known as English. Other countries have decided to adopt the English language and use it as its own. If however a county wants to change the name English to suit its self then it must be completely entitled to do so, such as “American English”. In American English words and meanings differ very much and many times cause much confusion. Regarding the description of original English being called “British English” there is no such language. To try and change the language called “English” to another name is wrong and no one has the right to do so. Today although most English and Americans do understand each other, it is a different language as others have changed certain words away from the original meanings. The difference between English and American English is today also confusing, as many other countries take up learning English as a second language. So it is only correct that the word “British” (in the case of British English) should be removed from this article. It should only say “English” thus referring to original English. --Raytelford (talk) 12:31, 6 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Verifiability not truth. The term "British English" is widely used. "English" is spoken worldwide, and has developed many varieties, of which the variety now spoken in the UK and referred to as "British English" is but one. Your assertions are wrong on many counts, and not relevant to this article anyway. Regards, Ghmyrtle (talk) 12:45, 6 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Concur. The assertions are quite laughable in some cases, and most are historically incorrect. - BilCat (talk) 18:17, 6 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
British English is correct. British English = American English = Australian English = X English = English. All of them are English. Just varieties/dialects/accents of the same language. Xooon (talk) 19:46, 7 October 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

British Isles vs. UK vs. Britain

It seems like more care should be taken to differentiate different Englishes in the British Isles. For ex., do the Irish think of themselves as British? Hard to imagine that most of them would. I don't know enough about this topic to make the changes myself; just wanted to note the issue. Hyperborean 07:59, 28 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Have a look at the talk:British Isles archive! The answer is that many folk from Northern Ireland think of themselves as Irish and British, while even more from the other country in Ireland (which apparently prefers to call itself Ireland) are vehemently opposed to being called British or being thought of as in the British Isles. In Wikipedia minorities don't get outvoted on what they call themselves. ...dave souza, talk 08:53, 28 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks! An old fight indeed! As long as the (Republican) Irish refer to their English as British English -- which would seem odd to me -- there's no problem. But if those in that part of the British Isles do not refer to their English as British English, then the intro paragraph should probably be rewritten. (Having a nationality from a different region, I don't dare make any changes myself.) Hyperborean 09:27, 28 May 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There really is no need for Northern Ireland to be spelt out in the intro like that. There is being PC and then there is making the article look ridiculous. People in Northern Ireland understand that Ireland includes them for the sake of describing the geography of the language, the same way as people in the Republic understand that they speak a derivation of British English, where British refers to the Isles. I am changing it back to simply Ireland, (which links to the island) as this should not be a politically loaded article
I would have thought from the full title "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", it would be obvious that Britain is england, scotland and wales; and so Northern Ireland is part of UK, but not GB; and Republic of Ireland (Eire; the rest of Ireland) is a different country alltogether and neither British, not in the UK. Does Ireland (the island, not jsut Eire)count as a British Isle? Does northern Ireland? Again from the name U.K. of G.B. & N.I. I would have thought neither of them could possibly count as british isles like mainland britain, isle of man, isle of white etc.-- 20:00, 6 December 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
WRONG WRONG WRONG.... the term "Britain" is short hand for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland ...I'm from Northern ireland and I'm still just as British as anyone in England/Wales/Scotland also "Great Britain" is just Eng/wales/Scot...but "British" and Britain basically equals the United Kingdom according to the Government wesbite that says these terms are synonymous: Britain is the short form of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Used as adjectives, therefore, British and UK mean the same
— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:51, 16 April 2012‎ (UTC)Reply[reply]

Bad Map

The map on this page is misleading see Talk:Scottish_English#Inaccurate_map.

Misleading? I can't even read it! Totnesmartin 03:24, 15 November 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Is the map still misleading - i.e., do the above comments apply to the map in the article now or to some earlier version? For example, the map implies to me that people in the far south-west of England speak Cornish, but in fact almost nobody does. Probably more people in Cornwall speak French or Hindi than Cornish. If people agree it's misleading, then it should be removed. Comments please. --A bit iffy 05:51, 19 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Map removed: firstly, the Republic of Ireland uses a different flag to the Union Flag; also the flag is in the background and seems to be affecting the colours in parts of the map, rendering it unclear. Also there's no source for the accent names or boundaries. (talk) 19:53, 18 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree. If reliable sources cannot be provided, it should stay removed. Ghmyrtle (talk) 22:09, 22 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

NOTE: This thread continued in July 2012, down the page, as map (2)

File:English Dialects of the British Isles.png Nominated for Deletion

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This is Bot placed notification, another user has nominated/tagged the image --CommonsNotificationBot (talk) 20:46, 19 March 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Place names rendered into British English

I have recently come across an article headed:

"July 2009 Ürümqi riots"

I have no argument with the contents, but under what rules is the title permitted? A u with an umlaut is not Chinese, and it's not British English. It seems more to pander to somebody's desire to ensure we have the right phonetics. Or is defined as wikipedia PC? Or has the world decided that foreign place names should be in German?

Perhaps you should consider a new rule that any word which cannot be typed on a standard British Keyboard is, by definition, not "British English". It might be a word in a foreign language, a word in mathematical or phonetic notation or UN speak, but English it ain't. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Drg40 (talkcontribs) 16:40, 5 July 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thank you for displaying your ignorance, as u with an umlaut IS used in Chinese romanisation. However, the name Ürümqi actually comes not from Chinese nor German but Mongolian; which you would have known had you read the history section in the article Ürümqi. However; even if you type it without the umlauts it will redirect to the article, so your concern about the keyboard is invalid. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:30, 6 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Flag at head of article.

It makes sense to include the Union Flag at the head of an article on British English.

However, the flag in the illustration has been hoisted upside-down. Reversing the picture will not solve the problem. (talk) 15:26, 2 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To the edit warring reverter: THE FLAG IS UPSIDE-DOWN. (talk) 10:24, 3 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

He is absolutely right. The flag is upside down. The broad diagonal white stripes should be above the red stripes at the staff end of the flag. DieSwartzPunkt (talk) 10:33, 3 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've removed it - it adds nothing of value to this article anyway. Ghmyrtle (talk) 10:54, 3 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
PS: If people want to replace it, you could use this one - the Mall is hardly a "typical street" (!), but I suppose it is illustrative. Ghmyrtle (talk) 10:57, 3 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The article alreay includes a small icon sized flag at the top of the info box anyway which can be clicked on to get a larger (and correctly orientated) version so, as you note, why bother? (talk) 11:38, 3 May 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

map (2)

Dialects of the british isles.jpg

This is a continuation of a thread up above, but for ease of access I'll start a new thread on it here. This >>> is the map that an IP wants to add to the article. It may or may not (I don't know) be sourced from this random blog - Anyway, no other source has been provided, and that source is unreliable. I'll leave it to others, better informed, to comment on its copyright status. I have no idea what scholarly sources, if any, it's based on. Apart from omitting Shetland (and including Ireland - debatable, at least), it seems to show, very roughly, the boundaries of some of the old English regions used administratively by government (which bear no direct relationship to cultural boundaries in some areas), and also some of the county boundaries, with brief lists of some of the accents and/or dialects in each region. In some cases it is grossly misleading. "Welsh" is shown covering the whole of Wales. But the Welsh language has nothing to do with British English, has dialects and accents of its own, and is in any case only spoken by the majority in some parts (not shown) of Wales. The variety of English spoken in north east Wales is very similar to that of Liverpool, for instance - again, not shown - and very different to that spoken in, say, Cardiff. There are gradations of dialect and accent across all parts of England, Scotland and Wales, not lines - again, not shown or even suggested. I'm not a linguist, but the way the dialects and/or accents are shown and listed is confused. Are there really four dialects in the south west - "Anglo-Cornish" (a literary form), "Devonshire" (?!), "Bristolian" and "West Country"? No, there aren't. If there is a map with a scholarly basis showing accents and dialects, freely available, we should use it - but this hotchpotch of inaccurate crap certainly isn't usable here. Ghmyrtle (talk) 15:28, 23 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is the message from the original author, Mr John Hanes.
"I originally got it from Wikipedia commons. There is some controversy as to exactly where the borders lie but I’ve checked the chart with several British linguists and they’ve told me it’s fairly accurate..." John Hanes Blog, Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, G+
Also, if you search 'various accents of the british isles' on google image, you will be able to see that many of the images support this image. In addition to make sure, visit written by the linguist with a doctorate and if you refer to the map in the middle, you will be able to see that the map is correct.
In addition as for the Scottish, refer to and you'll be able to find that the border is correctly divided. I believe there's no 'perfectly' accurate borders for the accents since the language itself doesn't work that way. Still, this image is very acccurate compared with all the other maps in general. Thankyou — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 00:41, 24 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In addition a very reliable site with a scholarly basis which supports this image just has been found. Visit , which is provided by the official governmental website-British Library- and you will be able to see that the division of the accents in this map is accurate indeed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 00:57, 24 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I assume when you mention Lowland Scottish you are addressing me. The page you have linked to shows where the divide between the "Highlands" and the "Lowlands" is. It does not show where particular dialects/accents are spoken/used. Regardless of that though, my point isn't that the lowlands isn't correctly separated from the highlands, its that everything except for Highland and Glaswegian is labelled as the same thing: "Lowland Scottish". While I cannot speak for differences further south than the central belt, the dialect etc spoken in the north east (Moray, Aberdeenshire, Angus etc) is vastly different from that spoken in, say, Edinburgh, with far more influence from Doric Scots.
On a more general note, the problem with the map isn't so much the general areas used, but rather the specific divides between them. Generally, dialects of a language don't work in such a way that can really be plotted on a map like this. The best that can probably be done while remaining accurate is to, for example, plot the percentage speakers of a dialect in a particular settlement. Even then it doesn't really work because it's fairly difficult to define where one dialect/accent ends and another begins. Hence the concept of a dialect continuum.
Also, I fail to see how the second link you provided ([1]) backs up the data in the map.
Oh, and it's customary to put replies underneath the comment that they are in reply to.
Alphathon /'æɫ.fə.θɒn/ (talk) 01:22, 24 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As for the Scotland, although it may be lacking some information, the map is correct in broader terms. There is no doubt that this map will be a good reference to users rather than nothing. If you know more about it, why don't you try to edit and add more information? It doesn't take long to do so. In addition, the second link supports this since the image provided from the British Library is similar to this one in general. It seems like some particular users are casting doubt on this. Let's see how the other users view. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 01:28, 24 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There is no doubt from whom that it will be a good reference? It implies things which simply cannot be verified, such as specific borders between accents. Lets say for example, that someone looks at the map and assume that a particular place speaks a particular accent/dialect, when in actual fact they don't. How is that a good reference?
It also implies that some of the large areas, such as Scotland, ROI and Wales, are significantly more homogeneous than they actually are, so in that sense is also a bad reference.
The main problem is that plotting a border on a map implies that one area is all one thing, and one area is all another, which simply isn't true. This map, which you linked to, is kinda better in that respect, since it uses boundaries that very few people are likely to assume to be accurate (of course if they did think they were accurate, it'd be worse). This issue is easily remedied in prose simply by wording it appropriately (e.g. "much of county X speak with Y accent, with some southern regions speaking Z"). On a map however, a place more or less has to be one thing or another.
Honestly, for something as fluid as accents/dialects I don't think a reasonable map can be made, and if it were it would likely have to be a lot more in-depth than this one (showing specific differences in pronunciation etc) and would show much less distinct areas.
As such, I think a description in the prose (i.e. no map at all) is the only real way to do this accurately (assuming no "deeper" map as mentioned before exists).
Alphathon /'æɫ.fə.θɒn/ (talk) 02:17, 24 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oh, and the second link (to the British Library) does not support the use of this map. It does not define distinct areas like this map does (presumably for the reasons outlined above: dialects/accents aren't that cut-and-dry), which is its primary problem. In fact, it doesn't even distinguish between specific accents, but merely plots the differences between the pronunciation of the letter "a" across England (it doesn't even show examples for Scotland, Ireland or Wales on that page). Alphathon /'æɫ.fə.θɒn/ (talk) 02:39, 24 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with User:Alphathon. As well as being contrary to WP:RS, WP:OR, WP:SYNTH and no doubt other WP policies, the map is simply misleading and unhelpful to readers. If we can find a better map or maps to include in the article, that would be great, but this one isn't it. Ghmyrtle (talk) 08:19, 24 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with the author of this map. I believe the map is quite correct considering various maps showing accents in general. Also i can see that particular 2to3 users are insisting toe delete the picture. let the discussion be open to more people; and it sure is good to grasp the idea of distribution of dialects and accents. I personally would like the picture to remain. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 09:33, 24 July 2012‎
This map is strange because it cites a blog as the source, but the blog cites this very Wikipedia page as its source. I assume from the quote provided above from the blog's author that the map is a product of research original to Wikipedia. The two sources provided by the anonymous editor that presumably back up the map do not. The first uses straight lines and perfect circles as boundaries, which not only contradicts the map under dispute here but must be cartoonishly inaccurate. The second map provides an isogloss for a single feature, which isn't in the same league as fully backing up this map.
Although I'm not an expert in dialectology, I'm familiar with it enough to know some of the problems in creating dialectal boundaries. Technically, Alphathon is correct that no map can accurately portray the dialect boundaries of the British Isles. This is also true of any other language, though, and that hasn't stopped us from putting up dialect maps. We have two options going forward:
  1. Keep the map until someone constructs a well-sourced, accurate map consistent with the standards of the objectors to this map.
  2. Delete the map. Someone should still construct a better map, but it's better to not inform than misinform. FYI, Wikimedia commons has this (uncited) map, though I'm not sure how accurate it is it could be a better interim map.
Either way, we should really prioritize an accurate well-sourced map. We can also do one of the above but design multiple maps showing the most important isoglosses or even showing some of the scholarly disputes (as I suspect there are) of dialect boundaries. Wikimedia commons already has a few such isoglosses. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 13:57, 24 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If the blog is based on wikipedia, then we have a circular sourcing problem too. bobrayner (talk) 15:00, 24 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I unhesitatingly vote for ditching the map and coming up with a better (and better sourced) one. garik (talk) 16:23, 24 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've removed the map, per the discussion here. Now, what is the best process for including a new and better map (or maps)? Do we have reliable sources, on or offline, that can be used so that WP:GRAPHLAB can draw something encyclopedia-worthy? Ghmyrtle (talk) 19:35, 24 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Probably the best thing to do is pick a handful of isogloses that do the best to mark dialect boundaries. I've got access to Wells (1982) Accents of English, so I can give a quick summary of which isoglosses he thinks are the most important later on today. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 19:47, 24 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well people, as the uploader of this map, I take your views. However, I do hope a better map (or maps) to be added. I think the one I mentioned earlier is a good one as well. It is a very official and reliable information provided from the official website of the British Library. It also doesn't seperate accents by boundaries-which seems to be problemetic as many people pointed out-but rather shows the distribution of different 'a' sound. I will try to edit it and upload this one too. Anyway, it is happy to see that more peeople are trying to make this page better.. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:17, 25 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The nice thing about that website is that it lists three features that it considers three other important distinctions between the dialects of England: The Foot-strut split, rhoticity, and l-vocalization. Below are the images I've found at Wikimedia commons that we might be able to use. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 01:01, 25 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Dreadfully Anglo-centric article/non-sensical RP in "Regional" section/innacurate glottal stop/RP is an accent not a dialect!

The article seems to start from the premise that English is the language of England. It even displays a map that shows only variation in England. Add to this a total lack of explicit comment on Scots (yes it's English too!) being (still) heavily influenced by Old West Norse.

RP is an accent an not a dialect and for that is widely regarded as mostly regionless in its nature, so why it shoudl appear in a section headed Regional is bizarre.

The section on glottal stop flies totally in the face of Scottish phonology, and I'd be somewhat surprised if that is an accurate quote of Trudgill within the context of British Isles phonology, but rather more specific to SE England varieties?

This entire article need sto be rewritten by someone who has some real understadning of the subject! (talk) 10:55, 12 August 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Scottish English (not to be confused with the Scots language)" makes the questionable assumption that there is or was a Scots language wholly distinct from British, or Scottish, English. This is controversial because it involves regional politics as much as, if not more than, linguistics. It is true/untrue depending on ones point of view and the definition of 'language' one wishes to use. Another view would be that Scottish English IS 'the Scots language', but that it in turn contains within it several dialects unique to Scotland. It is noticeable that enthusiasts have been working hard to insert references to the 'Scots language' into most Wiki pages which mention Scotland. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:17, 15 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


User:Lfdder, what is the problem? See Help:Infobox#What should an infobox contain.3F. I'm not going to list the obvious reasons for including an infobox. Rob (talk) 15:33, 12 September 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Let's see....
  • an imaginary 58 mil figure for an umbrella/convenience term
  • an imaginary official status for an umbrella/convenience term
  • listing every British overseas territory and dependency
    • twice
  • and with the two "imaginaries" gone, there's nothing left to put in the box
Lfdder (talk) 18:24, 12 September 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Rounded to the nearest million, 58 million people in the UK and BOT spoke English as there native language in 2003 according to a accurate source, I have no idea how you can even contend this. British English is used officially by the government of the UK and BOT and by the European Union, thus how is it not an official language of these entities? Also, I have not listed anything twice. Being the language of a region is completely different to being an official language of a region, so why would I not list accordingly? Lastly, where is the inconvenience of listing the BOT? They are in an infobox, almost all language articles list countries, territories and international organisations which use the language so why shouldn't an article about a form of a language do the same? Rob (talk) 18:36, 12 September 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just pointing out that, officially, English is not the "official" language of the UK, Britain or England. It is the language in official and common use, but it has no formal status in legislation. This is unlike the situation in many other countries where a language is given formal written official status. Ghmyrtle (talk) 19:15, 12 September 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Officially English is the official language of the UK according to official sources. This fact was stated on the government website here. The government website is an official source. Law does not define official, although law is official. The law doesn't say that the UK population is 62 million, but its still an official fact. Rob (talk) 20:01, 12 September 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Saying that BrE is spoken in region X is like saying English the way it's spoken in region X is spoken in region X. Same goes for official the way you've interpreted it. Have you even read the lead to this article? — Lfdder (talk) 21:44, 12 September 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
But listing the regions in which the English which is spoken in region X is spoken, without listing region X is contradicting. Rob (talk) 22:09, 12 September 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've reverted it again. It seems entirely unsourced, unhelpful and unnecessary. Where is the evidence for BritEng being spoken in those territories, to that extent, but not elsewhere? Where are the other dialects, not mentioned here? etc. etc. It's unnecessary and misleading. Ghmyrtle (talk) 18:30, 14 October 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Hi, I’m Andrew Clark and I work at the Office for National Statistics in the UK.

We publish lots of infographics and I wonder if these ones would be of interest for British_English

FYI, the full gallery, updated weekly, is here <>

All the best

Andrew Clark (smanders1982) 10 Dec 2013

Smanders1982 (talk) 11:48, 11 December 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]