Which English is Best?

Which English is Best?

With English continuing to develop as a principal world language, a question that often arises among EFL learners is, “Which English is best?” It can be confusing to new learners of all ages as to which one of the “Englishes” should be learned or studied. While the answer to this may depend on your needs and location, one consideration is the many varieties of English that exist and are spoken worldwide.

Here are Seven of the Most Distinctive Varieties of English

o American English

This category of English actually consists of several variations. There are recognizable variations in the spoken English of the South, the Pennsylvania Dutch, the New England region of the U.S., the Midwestern U.S., and the West coast. There is also “Black English” spoken as a distinct racial community variety of English across the USA.

o Black English

You won’t have to go very far to hear this distinctive variety of English. Try the latest Rap or Hip Hop offerings or listen to interviews with black artists for the unique flair this English variety has. Grammar, lexis, idioms, expressions, and vocabulary are all impacted by this and other varieties of English.

o British English

The origin of English proper, there are “common” variations of English spoken throughout the UK. The “Upper Crust” as it were, used a particular variety of spoken English known as RP or “Received Pronunciation”. RP is what the royal family and those educated at Oxford, Cambridge, and other high-level universities were taught to use and speak.

o Australian English

No question here, Steve Irwin popularized Australia’s unique wildlife in a way like no other before his untimely, accidental death in 2006. Another character who brought Australian English to the forefront of public knowledge was “Crocodile Dundee” in a movie series bearing the same name.

o Jamaican English

Spoken English in Jamaica has always been an interesting variety for the many travelers, vacationers, and visitors to this island. It’s also used in movies, documentaries, and films set in Jamaica. Singer Bob Marley also contributed not only his music but interest in the culture and spoken English variety of Jamaica as having a number of other Reggae music artists.

o English Spoken in India

A distinctive variety of spoken English is used in India. The language is taught and applied there as a sort of “lingua franca” since there are hundreds of regionally and locally spoken languages and dialects across the Indian continent. Hundreds of movies, documentaries, and other media are readily available in this variety of English.

o Varieties of Pidgins and Patois Spoken in a Number of Locations

There are unique, local, or regional varieties of English spoken in a number of countries worldwide. Places like Belize, the Philippines, several West Indies (Caribbean) islands like Barbados, Trinidad, the Cayman Islands and both the U.S. and the British Virgin Islands, Guyana (formerly British) in South America and African countries where English is widely spoken, each have their own particular brand of spoken English.

English Language Needs and Location

The question, “which English is best?” usually depends on the needs and location of the EFL learner, especially when one considers the many varieties of English that exist and that are spoken worldwide.

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