The United States and England seem to have always been (at least since the USA became a country) trying to establish supremacy over both their own continents and ostensibly, the world. The Brits dominated for quite a while, conquering new lands both in the Americas and Africa, (and Oceania, the West Indies, Southeast Asia, the Middle East… “The sun never sets on the British Empire”) where British influence is still evident. If we fast-forward to modern day, things seem to be as they were a couple of centuries ago; both countries dominate in business, technology and economic matters. But what about the language? Has one “version” of the English language dominated the other?

Logically, if we look at Europe, people who learn English as a second language will learn , which is not much of a surprise given the UK’s geographical proximity and the political ties it maintains with the rest of Europe. If we look outside of Europe, we can also find British influence on other continents, actually on all six of them, specifically in countries and States that belong to the Commonwealth (comprised of over 50 countries) such as India, Pakistan and Hong Kong, just to mention a few. Other countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica, where English is the native and official language, are examples of the dominance of around the globe.

And what about American English? We all know that the “American influence” is due to its superpower status in terms of economic and technological achievements, not to mention the massive global influence of media (e.g., the entertainment industry and Hollywood); after all, American movies and TV shows have reached the entire globe. Latin-American countries are more influenced by when it comes to learning English as a second language, once again, as a result of the geographical location in the continent. However, this influence is not just limited to language. American culture has also influenced Latin America’s way of life, creating a collective desire to attain “the American Dream”—the possibility to achieve anything you set out to achieve. In the case that culture and language are interconnected, would this mean that American English is the more influential of the two? Including countries where British influence seems to have already been established? As languages are ever-changing, living entities, perpetually evolving and expanding, we might see a significant shift in the balance of influence that, up to now, British English seems to have dominated.

Tagged with: