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Commonwealth English

"Commonwealth English" is intended as a collective term for the perceived standard English language used in the Commonwealth of Nations1, applying in theory to Australian English, British English, Caribbean English, Canadian English, Hiberno-English (Irish English)2, Hong Kong English3, Indian English (includes Pakistani English), New Zealand English, formal Singapore English (but not colloquial Singlish) and South African English. But Canadian English in particular does not fit well with the others. The term is little used, and when used is most often synonymous with British English in its narrower sense or with International English in a specialised sense which excludes American English.

Rationale for the term "Commonwealth English"

The term perhaps comes from a desire to recognise that "Standard English" of Britain, distinguished from American English, is just as much owned by those who use it in Australia or New Zealand or India or South Africa as by those who use it in the land of its origin and from a feeling that this use in multiple countries should appear in its name, that this kind of English is no longer ''only'' British.

Canadian English's unique position

Words and idioms
Canada, the Commonwealth country with the largest native-born native-English-speaking population outside of Britain, is unique in that its standard vocabulary, idiom, and accent tend to coincide with that of neighbouring speakers in the United States far more than with those of Britain or the rest of the Commonwealth.  Most of the distinctive terms Britons identify as ''[[American English]]'' are used by Canadians as well, such as ''[[diaper]]'', ''[[gasoline]]'', ''[[elevator]]'', and ''[[apartment]]''. See also [[North American English]].

Canadian spelling
There is no universally accepted standard of Canadian spelling, and standards differ from one area of English-speaking Canada to another.

Historical ties with Britain tend to pull Canadian spelling in that direction; physical proximity with the United States has tended to pull it towards the American standard. As a result, Canadian spelling has tended to waver between the two, taking some of each.

Most authorities, such as the Canadian Government's style manual, ''The Canadian Style'', the [[Canadian Press]] style guide, the [[Gage Canadian Dictionary]] and the [[Canadian Oxford Dictionary]], propose certain standards:
* the use of the "-our" ending in words such as ''neighbour'' and ''colour'';
* the use of the "-ce" ending for nouns and the "-se" ending for the equivalent verbs, such as ''licence'' (noun), ''to license'' (verb) and ''practice'' (noun), ''to practise'' (verb);
* the use of double letters in words such as ''travelled'', ''leveller'', etc.
Certain American spellings remain common. The spelling ''program'' is more usual than ''programme'', ''airplane'' is universally favoured over ''aeroplane'', ''tire'' is used rather than ''tyre'', etc.

Published on: 2005-09-07 (8978 reads)

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