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Feb 12, 2010

Do you ever go blank when you're trying to spell a word? It happens to me occasionally. When it comes to spelling, I have a problem. I have had to learn the Standard American English whilst living in the U.S. for the past 18 years, but, I'm English. That means that when I went to school I learned Standard English which has quite a few differences from that of the U.S. Some of the obvious ones are: color in American English and colour in British English, analyze in American English and analyse in British English, bank in American English and banque in British English. If you look through a list of the spelling differences, you will conclude that British English remains closer to its roots: Greek, Latin, French etc. The American English seems more phonetic, and I suppose, in some ways, is easier. Mind you, English is a bit of a pain anyway. My ten year old, who reads and writes well, still struggles on occasion with spelling. The silent 'e', the silent 'gh', the occasional silent 'p' (as in pneumonia or psychology), and the silent 'k'. "How am I supposed to know all of these spellings, Mum?" was his question. My answer was simply, "Learn the awkward words by heart." Both Standard American and British English share the same difficulties, I'm afraid. The only way to get around them is to consider them part of the beauty and interest of the language......I know, that's easy for me to say, I am English. Really, a language like Spanish is so much easier to learn because it is so phonetic. But, you know, English spelling is not always that easy for me because of this trans-Atlantic 'thing'. I have my own problems knowing when to double an 'l' when adding an 'ing', or whether to use an 's' or a 'z' (or I should say zed). A great web page to check out is: Susan Jone's American vs British spelling differences. I think I'll make a copy of them and stick it on the fridge.

Grammar notes:

Related expressions: to go blank, when it comes to ...., on occasion, I'm afraid.

1. In the middle of my exam, my mind just went blank.

2. When it comes to playing the piano, he is brilliant.

3. We will, on occasion, have breakfast in the French bakery.

4. They won't be coming to the party, I'm afraid. She called and said she was sick.

Seonah Jo
almost fourteen years ago

I am a Korean and studying English in the UK. I am a big fan of your podcast. Your podcast teaches British and Ameriacan English both of them.
But in this podcast, I found a strange word which is 'banque'. Bank is Bank in the UK not banque. I think you have confused with cheque and check. :)
Thanks for every of your podcast.
Hope you and your family have good times there.