England enjoys a wide variety of accents and pronunciations for such a small country. America, on the other hand, is massive and is home to an equally massive variety of accents and pronunciations. They have even developed a new way of speaking English, known as American English. Some words are pronounced so differently in American English that they sound strange and funny to those of us who grew up speaking English English, or I should say, British English (this is the name of the official variety of English that people from Britain speak). In this video I use specific examples to show how a few centuries of separation and three thousand miles can change the way two countries pronounce the same words with the same meanings. Although we share a common language and ancestry, sometimes it doesn’t feel that way.

To illustrate this point I use the example of herbs common in English and American cooking- basil, oregano and parsley. For some reason, the difference between the way English English and American English speakers pronounce the names of these herbs is very noticeable: this is something that is often mentioned in conversation in England. Even the word ‘herb’ itself is pronounced differently! (In American English, the ‘h’ is silent).

I am interested with the way people from all parts of the world speak English and people’s perceptions of different accents. Coaching English on Skype to students from all over the world, I come into contact with all types of mistakes and differences in pronunciation. Through this video and others I intend to explore and offer my opinion on the different ways we speak to each other and expose you to these subtleties. This way, in the future, you won’t be confused if someone talks to you in a different way. You can also decide which pronunciations and accents you prefer and use when you speak English.

It surprises me that people react so strongly to this video (there are many negative comments and dislikes on YouTube) when my intent was just to make a comparison video to highlight some pronunciation differences. This shows me that accent is a highly sensitive topic for many people. Just remember, no offence was intended. Can you think of any pronunciation differences between American English and British English that sound funny (as in unusual) to you?

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