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Linguaholic

Are dialects confusing?


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I have been reading written work from a lot of British people lately and have noticed some major differences in the way we spell and pronounce words. I was just curious if this creates confusion amongst those who are trying to learn English. One example is that Americans say "while" and people from the UK say "Whilst".

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I think that between those 2 countries, I'm not really inclined to say that their dialects are confusing, because it still conveys the general message. Like the English people are inclined to say "I reckon" than "I think", which is how the Americans say it.

In my country though, our local dialects are like a different language. You really must take language lessons to be fluent in one.

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For me personally English being my first language and that is British English, wouldn't say that dialects are confusing! However I think for someone trying to learn the English language from scratch it could prove very frustrating and difficult...for example I have a friend who says with the different dialects she can't grasp the core fundamentals of the language as quick as she would had it been straight forward.

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Dialects and different versions of English can be confusing, yes. I speak and write British English, and sometimes American English is like a slightly different language! I recently sat English test for an online job, and I flunked it. It was a grammar test, which I usually excel at. As it was American English, sometimes I didn't even understand what they were on about, I wasted time and in the end scored 80%. Not a bad score; but I was very disappointed as it was a very basic test and English grammar is usually my forte!. I definitely would have scored a lot better had it been British English!

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I guess where it gets confusing is where the different words come into play. I'm sure there are looks of words that one group would use that would mean another in some other region. For example, I know fanñy is a very dirty word in England whereas in the states it is just as tame as saying butt.

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I think it makes it more confusing to learn english, but at the same time, almost everyone already understands this because most languages have similar things.    Spanish from Spain and spanish from latin america are very different, so it wouldn´t surprise anyone from either of those places that UK and USA speak different versions of english.

Even in central america, Mexico and say Panama have different pronunciations.  Mexico rolls their RRs much stronger than most other countries in latin america.

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I grew up in a country that uses a combination of British and American English so while I sometimes use one over the other, it doesn't really confuse me.

With the proliferation of American and British tv shows that are watched around the world though -- not to mention the popularity of English writers -- I think more people are getting the differences between the two and less confusion is had.

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I guess where it gets confusing is where the different words come into play. I'm sure there are looks of words that one group would use that would mean another in some other region. For example, I know fanñy is a very dirty word in England whereas in the states it is just as tame as saying butt.

This is so funny because we were discussing this very topic only yesterday! My husband is English and he has some American cousins. His mum and dad often go over to visit the American relatives and the stories they come back with, around confusion brought about by the differences you find in British and American English....hilarious!

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