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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs