Different Varieties of The English Language

03 Mar Different Varieties of The English Language

English is the most widely-spoken language in the world, having the distinct status of being the official language of multiple countries. While the English language is uniform with major variations in spelling present between American English and British English, the dialect or accent is usually the factor that enables one to distinguish the various types of English out there.

From the thick Ugandan English to the French-themed Canadian English, the varieties of accents present are both diverse and beautiful. Apart from accents, there is a tendency for people to mix English with their local lingo to form a hybrid variety of English language that is as colorful as the culture in that country.

Read on to find out more about the various types of English language that are present in countries around the world.

British English

British English is the English language as spoken and written in the United Kingdom or, more broadly, throughout the British Isles. Slight regional variations exist in formal, written English in the United Kingdom.

English is a West Germanic language that originated from the Anglo-Frisian dialects brought to Britain by Germanic settlers from various parts of what is now northwest Germany and the northern Netherlands. The resident population at this time was generally speaking Common Brittonic—the insular variety of continental Celtic, which was influenced by the Roman occupation. This group of languages (Welsh, Cornish, Cumbric) cohabited alongside English into the modern period, but due to their remoteness from the Germanic languages, influence on English was notably limited.

American English

American English sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States and widely adopted in Canada. English is the most widely spoken language in the United States and is the common language used by the federal government, considered the de facto language of the country because of its widespread use. English has been given official status by 32 of the 50 state governments.

Australian English

Australian English is a major variety of the English language, used throughout Australia. Although English has no official status in the constitution, Australian English is the country’s national and de facto official language as it is the first language of the majority of the population.

Australian English began to diverge from British English after the founding of the Colony of New South Wales in 1788 and was recognized as being different from British English by 1820. It arose from the intermingling of early settlers from a great variety of mutually intelligible dialectal regions of the British Isles and quickly developed into a distinct variety of English.

Canadian English

Canadian English is the set of varieties of the English language native to Canada. According to the 2011 census, English was the first language of approximately 19 million Canadians (57% of the population) the remainder of the population were native speakers of Canadian French (22%) or other languages (allophones, 21%).

The term “Canadian English” is first attested in a speech by the Reverend A. Constable Geikie in an address to the Canadian Institute in 1857. Canadian English is the product of five waves of immigration and settlement over a period of more than two centuries. The first large wave of permanent English-speaking settlement in Canada, and linguistically the most important, was the influx of loyalists fleeing the American Revolution, chiefly from the Mid-Atlantic States – as such, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, and West Virginia. Canadian English is believed by some scholars to have derived from northern American English.

Indian English

English language public instruction began in India in the 1830s during the rule of the East India Company (India was then, and is today, one of the most linguistically diverse regions of the world). In 1835, English replaced Persian as the official language of the Company. Lord Macaulay played a major role in introducing English and western concepts to education in India. He supported the replacement of Persian by English as the official language, the use of English as the medium of instruction in all schools, and the training of English-speaking Indians as teachers.

The view of the English language among many Indians has gone from associating it with colonialism to associating it with economic progress, and English continues to be an official language of India, albeit with an Indian twist, popularly known as Indian English.

Philippine English

Philippine English is any variety of English (similar and related to American English) native to the Philippines, including those used by the media and the vast majority of educated Filipinos. English is taught in schools as one of the two official languages of the country, the other being Filipino (Tagalog).

Philippine English has evolved tremendously from where it began decades ago. Some decades before English was officially introduced, if not arguably forced, to the Philippines, the archipelagic nation has been subject to Spanish rule and thus Spanish was the language of power and influence. However, in 1898, when the Spanish gave the United States control of the nation, the English language, although initially not favored, became widely used in a matter of years, which was catalyzed by the coming of American teachers.

Ugandan English

Ugandan English, or Uglish (pronounced you-glish), is the dialect of English spoken in Uganda. As with similar dialects spoken elsewhere, Ugandan English has developed a strong local flavor. The speech patterns of Ugandan languages strongly influence spoken English. Uganda has a large variety of indigenous languages, and someone familiar with Uganda can readily identify the native language of a person speaking English. Ugandan speakers will alter foreign words to make them sound more euphonic.

South African English

South African English (SAE) is a vibrant and distinctive variety of English spoken in South Africa. Like other types of English, it has been influenced by the country’s diverse linguistic and cultural heritage. South African English includes elements borrowed from Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, and other local languages. It has unique vocabulary and pronunciation, which can vary significantly across the region. The influence of Dutch settlers and British colonizers has also left an indelible mark on South African English, making it a fascinating study of linguistic evolution and cultural integration.

New Zealand English

New Zealand English, often abbreviated as NZE, is another prominent variety of the English language. It shares many similarities with Australian English but has its own distinct characteristics, including pronunciation and vocabulary influenced by the Māori language. New Zealand English emerged as a unique variety in the early 20th century and continues to evolve. It reflects the rich cultural tapestry of New Zealand, blending indigenous Māori elements with the linguistic heritage brought by British settlers. This hybrid nature contributes to the distinctiveness of New Zealand English among the different types of English worldwide.

Caribbean English

Caribbean English encompasses the various dialects spoken in the Caribbean islands, each with its own unique flavor. These dialects are influenced by the region’s complex history of colonization, slavery, and migration. Countries like Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados have their own distinct versions of English, often characterized by vibrant patois and creole languages. These varieties of English reflect the blending of African, European, and indigenous languages and cultures, resulting in rich and diverse linguistic traditions. Caribbean English is a testament to the adaptability and resilience of language amidst cultural convergence and change.


The English language is an amalgamation of cultures, intricacies and experiences. A lot of the common words used have strange origins. The types of English spoken around the world are as varied as the regions and cultures they originate from. Each variety has its own unique features, shaped by historical, social, and cultural influences. Whether it’s the British English rooted in its rich literary tradition, the American English influenced by waves of immigration, or the Indian English that melds colonial history with modern aspirations, these varieties contribute to the global tapestry of the English language. Understanding these differences not only enriches our appreciation of English but also highlights the dynamic nature of language as it adapts and evolves.

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