What is usually ignored in discussion of this topic is that language is spoken at varying levels of sophistication, education, etc., such that in any country in which any language is spoken you find a continuum that runs from unintelligibility to crystal-clear perfection. Add to that another dimension of emotionality and rhetorical richness.

I remember an occasion in Italy in which an Italian asked three English English speakers which of them spoke the best English. Each of the three immediately responded, "I do!" The first spoke something not far from cockney, one spoke fairly well, and the third was a youth of aristocratic extraction who spoke so well that you could listen to him all day long.

Listen to speakers from England, the US, Jamaica, and India, and you will find that when people "speak well the English" they speak in much the same way, no matter where they come from.

The result of being separate from England for a couple hundred years, and the natural change that occurs in language. The form of English spoken by people in England, and the form spoken by people in America has diverged a bit. And different accents have arisen in the two areas - there are accents in both England and American that don't sound like English.

(I saw a comedian once on TV that had such a thick British accent that I swore she was speaking gibberish)

Try talking to a Glaswegian :-)(that is actually the first time I've written that word - I very much doubt there's a node at the other end of the link. especially as I've probably misspelt (misspelled?) it).

The point about English, and indeed language in general (IMHO - some officious French people are of the opposite opinion) is that it evolves. Like genetic variation in a crop, this only serves to strengthen a language - and, by extension, the ideas of those who speak it. I'm not implying a cultural superiority here; I'm sure many languages are flexible, despite attempts to simplify or standardise. Rule mongers (gaming term:) who insist on the intact virtue of infinitives are missing the point.

So long as a language remains understandable, change (even rapid or transient change, like slang) is useful and natural. If American English is guilty of anything it is simplification for its own sake, especially in spelling. However, I rarely criticize anymore after reading Mother Tongue, which made me a modicum more humble.

Eddie Izzard has a very funny take on this whole issue. At a gig in San Francisco, he was musing on the differences in spelling and pronunciation between American and European English, and said something along these lines:

"You say "Tomayto", and we say "Tomahto". You say Aluminum, we say Aluminium. And you say 'erbs, and we say herbs... because there's a fucking 'H' in it!"

Excuse me, but if I had never mentioned that I'm an American in any of my previous nodes, and never given any hint otherwise besides my spelling of the word "color", would you be able to tell what my nationality was? No, you wouldn't. If I were to go to England, I would have no problems communicating. Of course, they would be able to discern that I was an American, but seriously. Every language has some regional difference in pronunciation. That doesn't make them separate languages.

And really, enough with the "We're from England, we invented the language,". No nationality invented English. English is a conglomeration of Old Norse, French, and Latin, among others. If you're talking about a country like Japan, whose language developed in relative isolation compared to historical Europe, then maybe. But no Indo-European language is without its peers and influences. So, you didn't invent the language. Neither did I. If you want to argue with Hänor the Viking about how to spell "color", be my guest.

Americans speak English. Any official demographic study will confirm this. There have been times where a language has splintered off entirely different offspring - as Latin to French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, etc. However, remember that this happened in a time when there was no mass media, no international travel. It was the dark ages, where people lived in isolation from the rest of te world, and isolation always breeds evolution of language. Isolation is something quite lacking from today's world. Thus, it is unlikely that the English spoken in America will ever be different enough from the English spoken in Europe to be considered a different language (while any of us are alive).

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