About 50 countries around the world have English as their native language. It is estimated that about 375 million people speak English as their first language. Do all these people speak a standard English? Absolutely not! So what is 'correct' English and what should we as teachers and students be promoting?
Obviously we have all heard of British and American English. But really what is 'British English' and what exactly is 'American' English? Britain is made up of three countries (Scotland, Wales and England) The amount of dialects and accents is incredible for such a small country. And then what is 'American' English? If this refers to the U.S.A and no other country in the Americas it is still problematic. The U.S.A is about forty times the size of the U.K. and has a population of about 325 million compared to 63 million in the United Kingdom. Do the people in Dallas Texas speak the same English as the people in New York? And do the People in India speak the same English as those in South Africa or Singapore or the Philippines? The vast majority of these people do however manage to communicate with each other in their English. Can we therefore say that the 'correct' English is the one which achieves the task we are trying to achieve?
Would you use the same type of English to socialize with your work colleagues as you would in a job interview? And how far should we adapt out accents and to what end? What´s ´correct´English? Mid-western American English, BBC English, The Queens English (RP English), Cockney or a Texan drawl?
Well, let me know what you think!