The English Language

I don’t know about you but it drives me a little insane to hear people saying they speak ‘American’. IMHO American is NOT a language. Americans speak ENGLISH. Anyway, this turned into a heated discussion via facebook on Sleepys page – she didn’t appreciate it and requested the end of the ‘snooty’ discussion (so apparently having a debate with substance makes you snooty?). Anyway, both sides had decent arguments, though I still think mine are more valid *shrugs*. What do you think? Is American a language, or do American’s speak English?

American Person: you know those are they type of people i feel i need a translation service for.. or to look at them and go ” i’m sorry.. but i speak american.. we don’t accept your ghetto talk her… Do us all a favor and pull a lemming and jump off a cliff”

Me (Australian): there is no such language as ‘American’ Americans just screw up English. (Seriously, replacing the letter S with Z does not make it a new language).

American Person: I hate to point it out to you miss but American’s do not put z’s in places of S.. those are ill educated people. We call it American because we have different terminology then the English. A boot of a car is the truck… you call a eraser a rubber.. we call it a condom. So.. next time do your research

Me (Australian): Using different terms does not make it a different language. And I’m Australian not British. Many English speaking nations have different colloquialisms. For example:

Thongs (Australia) vs Flipflops (New Zealand)
G-String (Australia) vs Thong (New Zealand)
Softdrink vs Pop vs Soda

When I mention the S vs Z situation this is in relation to words ending in -ise (as opposed to American spelling with -ize) such as realise, organise etc.

the -ize ending is used by Americans due to the suffix originating in greek which used the -ize ending. So technically if ‘American’ is a language (and this isn’t a large enough difference to be the case) that is due to promoting the historical Greek elements within English.

You’re justification of ‘We call it American because we have different terminology’ is incorrect as that is NOT the definition of a language, that is a the definition of a colloquialism.

Australians have many different colloquialisms to other English speaking countries, and only idiots say that ‘Australian’ is a language. There are culturally accepted slang terms. That is all.

Maybe you should do your research next time.

American Person: First off i have never Called Australian a language. All you do is have different termonoligy then most and that’s ok.

The variety of English spoken in the United States is known as American English; together with Canadian English it makes… up the group of dialects known as North American English.

English is the most common language in the United States. Though the U.S. federal government has no official language, English is the common language used by the federal government and is considered the de facto language of the United States because of its widespread use. English has been given official status by 28 of the 50 state governments.

The use of English in the United States was a result of British colonization. The first wave of English-speaking settlers arrived in North America in the 17th century. Since then, American English has been influenced by the languages of the Native American population, the languages of European and non-European colonists, immigrants and neighbors, and the languages of slaves from West Africa

Me (Australian): You seriously think American is the only nation that has been influenced by native population and immigrants? Australia is one of the must multicultural nations in the world. So if those same influences magically make ‘American’ a language wouldn’t that be the same for ‘Australian’. You still speak English otherwise we wouldn’t be able to communicate. Once the ‘American’ English evolves to the point where I have trouble understanding what you’re saying THEN I will agree it is a language.

American Person: Sorry But that won’t happen.. since English is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world.. Because of the United State and all the trading that we do… Anyone that wants to do business with American has to speak our laungage. An…d yes Australia is.. because you started off with a bunch of criminals.

Also.. America was known as the “Great American Melting pot” Becasue unlike other places.. we have more rights and freedoms then most. So no i know we are not the only ones influenced by immigrants and natives however we are the most accepting and adapting.

Me (Australian): There were approximately 165,000 convicts sent to Australia. Many of these died. Australian population 2 years ago: 21,874,900.

Yep, we are totes a country made of convicts *rolls eyes*. Though I will proudly say I am descended from both convicts and prison guards from the first fleet.

EDIT: I find this topic quite interesting. I am going to write another post which I will link to this about the differences between Language, Dialect and Colloquialism. I’ll see if I can find academic papers to use as references as these are always more credible then Wikipedia :).


13 Responses to “The English Language”

  1. 1 Mulan
    March 14, 2011 at 9:41 am

    oh man, the number of spelling mistakes in those post just totally defeats the whole purpose of thoses posts D:

    • March 14, 2011 at 10:12 am

      When you are in a ‘chat’ style communication typos and spelling mistakes happen. I don’t think it defeats the point of the discussion, you can still see what points the two parties are making.

  2. March 14, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    Hi Snow White,

    I agree with your points. Many Americans think that they are “first” in everything, including the first to use English. And, me being Canadian, I am tired of the software dictionaries only including English (US) as the only English option.


  3. 4 Rue
    March 14, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    I speak New Zealand. Can you understand me?

    • March 14, 2011 at 7:59 pm

      After 3 months in kiwi land when i was 14 I don’t think I’d have many problems. I was supprised how different the kiwi dialect was though. They did some funny things at the school I went to. There was this boy who kept coming up behind me and poking me in the sides, one day I yelled out ‘stop poking me’ and everyone burst out laughing. Turns out poking means… other less innocent things there. Took a while to live that one down.

  4. 8 Triton
    March 15, 2011 at 10:09 am

    There are so many things wrong here I don’t know where to begin:
    Let’s see:

    – The prominence of England has zero to do with USA’s foreign trading. Or USA’s anything, really. In fact, it’s possible to make the arguement that USA’s current strong trading position is owed partly to the fact that USA happened to operate in the most widespread language in the world, and it became that way because of Britain’s fiscal (the Guinea replacing the Piece of Eight as a dominant currency) and colonial (mainly because of India, although Australian and American colonies help) dominance.

    – “American” has as much validity as dialect as “Street”. Possibly less. The grammar is 99% standard British English. The spelling only significantly differs on two things: “-ise” vs “-ize” and “-ter” vs “-tre” (in litre, theatre). Some word usage differences, which are so few anyone can rattle them off. Seriously, you can find two areas of London with more differences in language that USA and Australia..

    – I also love this method of argument. 1) Pull point from arse. 2) Copypasta wall of text from wikipedia (make this the only thing in your thesis that is correctly spelled/punctuated) which doesn’t support your point 3) Claim you have proven your point.
    You can find it in every 6th grade essay…

  5. April 4, 2011 at 8:25 am

    As an American I apologi(z)e on behalf of American Person. We are not all that dumb. If you are interested in word derivations and tracing indo-european roots you should check out the American Heritage Dictionary. Its more linguistically oriented than the Oxford English Dictionary, and more useful for this sort of thing. First thing you should look up is “buccaneer”. It involves pirates and bbq. Its great.

    • April 4, 2011 at 8:43 am

      That sounds great, I’ve been needing to buy a new dictionary (I’ve been eying off one of the Oxford ones but its costs $100), I might check out this one as well. The evolution of language is fascinating, and I am the first to admit that my grasp of English could do with a refresher (curse you public school system!). Tracing the roots of English should also be helpful when studying other Latin/Greek based languages too.

      Thanks so much for your comment πŸ™‚

  6. 12 Shane
    April 15, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Haha. This debate is hilarious. What can I say? Some people will try and find any and every way to make themselves feel special. English is English, whether it is spoken by an American, Brit, Australian, or New Zealander (I may have missed some countries).

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