Anyone know how much of the world uses British versus American English?
closed as off topic by TimLymington, FumbleFingers, simchona, kiamlaluno, user2683 Mar 20 '12 at 2:11
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It depends to a large extent on how you define the terms, but the United States has over 200 million people who speak English as a first language and over 30 million who speak it as a second language. The figures for the UK are 57 million and 1 million. (Source: ‘The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language’.) It’s difficult to know to what extent the same proportions exist in the wider world, particularly since there are parts of the English-speaking world that speak neither, but I would guess that American English predominates.
How people speak sometimes depends on who they are talking to. I used to think my English is more American because of the books I read and television influence, since I enjoy more American authors and TV programs than British ones. Nowadays in Singapore I believe we speak a number of variations of English and switch between them quite unconsciously; like someone who reads lips and is hard of hearing will (I believe) have to adjust how she reads, depending who is speaking to her. Otherwise there will be more misreadings.
As Singaporeans, we find many friends switching to another accent, or even different sentence structures, just because the person they are talking to is Caucasian, or Japanese; but with Singaporeans it depends. If it were at the supermarket or a street open air food court, I think its global multi-English. Not only Singlish but a sensitivity towards different speakers makes me a multi-English speaker. When I write I use different styles if it's for different publications.