News / Asia

American English Becoming More Popular in Former British Colony

American English Becoming More Popular in Former British Colonyi
X
October 30, 2013 4:50 AM
Hong Kong was a British colony for 156 years before reverting to Chinese control in 1997. In this city where English is still widely spoken and taught, many are now opting to learn American English.
American English Becoming More Popular in Former British Colony
Zlatica Hoke
Hong Kong was a British colony for 156 years before reverting to Chinese control in 1997. English is still widely spoken and taught today, but many are now opting to learn American English instead of the British variety.
 
Hong Kong resident Victor Chan’s children, who attend an English class on weekends, are learning to pronounce words the American way. Chan feels this is most advantageous for their future.
 
“I intend to send my sons to America for further study, so I choose American accent. American accent is better for their employment in Western countries,” explained Chan.
 
Nature EQ is one of a growing number of schools in Hong Kong offering American English classes.  When Frankie Ng opened the school 17 years ago, he had only 40 students. Today, the school works at maximum capacity with 350 attending.
 
“The sound of American English is so defined and clear, and easy to teach and to be understood,” said Ng.
 
However, the pupils seem to be less concerned with what is clear and more so with which style will be more useful.  
 
"I think [American English] is getting more and more important, and is maybe taking over the dominance of British English, so I'm willing to learn," said Sam Yu, a student at Nature EQ.
 
In Hong Kong's Tseung Kwan O district, the "American English Workshop" has grown from 20 students a week when it opened a year ago to more than 180 today.
 
Public schools still primarily teach British English, but private language schools offering American English are growing in the former British colony.
 
Observers say American English is taking over across the world as the language of international business. The rise of American idiomatic expressions and the American accent in other areas is often ascribed to the world's increased exposure to American culture, especially through movies, videos, computer games and the Internet.
 
Language teachers in Hong Kong say wealthy Chinese mainlanders also help fuel the demand, crossing into Hong Kong for a wider choice of educational opportunities.  
 
But in the streets of Hong Kong, traditional British English still prevails.
 
"We can understand both, but for what we speak, we speak [with] the British accent," said one local woman.
 
"The British is better I think," commented a local man.
 
Meanwhile, as young people decide which style to study, a growing number want to learn American English.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yuki from: Japan
November 04, 2013 8:29 AM
Nowadays most people recognize English is worldwide language. So respecting each accent would be a key to communicate well, I think. For us Japanese, we usually learn American English at school but British pronunciation is way easier for Japanese than American one.(Personally, American one is easier for me)

Here's some detail:If you pronounce R sound with British accent, you don't have to roll up your tongue. We don't have the way of pronouncing in Japanese too. British people speak each word sharply, we also speak like that. We usually open up mouth wider to pronounce clearly. By contrast, American English is unnecessary to use cheek muscle not so strongly... After all, pick whichever you pronounce learn easier, more interesting, that would be important.
In Response

by: sok chanyuth from: Cambodia
November 24, 2013 8:52 PM
But I think American English is easier to pronounce than British.

by: Nguyễn from: US
November 01, 2013 8:17 PM
It's $$$$$.
People go where the money is. Better chance to land a job !

by: yanrui from: China
November 01, 2013 10:29 AM
I absolutely agree with you,for my part,american english is easier to learn.Maybe just because I am accustomed to it.

by: Hannah Lee from: CHINA
October 31, 2013 1:50 AM
It is true that American English becomes more and more popular. But for us , we feel American speak English so fast. However, British people speak slowly.In universities ,we have American teachers, they teach us English. After graduation, I work in a foreign trade company, Indian speak British English!

by: keen from: new york
October 30, 2013 10:56 PM
no matter which accent these "brit former colony" kids learn, they will end up with their unique accent of that specific region. I am from Hong Kong and I know the situation there. We were taught british accent from day one but we still speak with unique Hong Kong accent after all. so I just wonder what the point is of this article?
In Response

by: Chrisgao from: china mainland
October 31, 2013 11:38 PM
I agree what u said. but the accent of British english is really harder than american english for understanding . so i guess it is not convenient for communication that is why many people choose speak english in an American way...... as for my self, i just try to speak every word clearly and make the sentence simple and short.. anyway it is all for effective communication, right ?

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
October 30, 2013 3:53 AM
I guess these children are native speakers of British English. But is the difference between British and American English so large that they should learn the differences in school ?
In Response

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
October 30, 2013 11:26 PM
Mr. Simon, thank you for your answer. I understand it. ^-^
In Response

by: Simon Kaweesa from: Arizona
October 30, 2013 10:58 AM
American English is easier as it avoids the rules especially among the less educated Americans. You will hear:"There`s five people" and "My car drives good" and nobody complains. So long as the message goes across. Lazy students who don`t want to be bothered by grammar will look for shortcuts by learning American English.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More