When we embrace English LANGUAGE should we embrace English CULTURE too?

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I’m personally not English but I’m a native speaker. At our school we have 12 teachers of which only 2 are English however everyone is a native speaker. So when we embrace English is the culture of the English something we should consider too?

I’m going to jump right out there and say – well there was a time when that would have been true, because a lot of the ‘native speakers’ who were not from English certainly grew up in an English colony and therefore had embraced quite a lot of the English culture through that. But these days that isn’t necessarily true.  The connection to the English culture and the language is very distant now and often (though worth mentioning from time to time) isn’t really worth going into a lot of depth about because it is less relevant today than it was even 25 years ago.

This is because English is now become a language by itself that holds all the twists and turns of phrase from any cultures, not just the British culture.  Therefore when the new ESL student takes on the English language it is considered something separate from the United Kingdom itself.

There is of course the ‘Queens English’, or ‘BBC British English’, which probably still today stand as the benchmarks of high level English, but that’s only in terms of accent and word usage, it doesn’t have anything much to do with the language itself.

Today there are so many versions of English around the world, and each are becoming increasingly acceptable versions too. Once it is known as acceptable, the link to the British origin becomes less important.

So I’d say the British culture is something of interest by itself but really doesn’t need to be included in the understanding of the day to day usage of English for the average ESL student.

What do you think?

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3 thoughts on “When we embrace English LANGUAGE should we embrace English CULTURE too?

  1. Thanks for this post, aiyshah2014. You’re absolutely right – there are many Englishes, each with their own variations. I think it’s important for learners of any language to embrace the culture surrounding it, in order to connect with the language more fully. However, in ESL it need not be British culture specifically, unless one is learning English in England.

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