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Ask Doctor English
Your ESL and English language learning specialist. Ask Dr. English whatever you like about the English language.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


One of the challenges of learning English is that the language changes depending on the English-speaking country in which you are in. Whether you are in Canada, the United States, England, Australia, or any of the many other countries in which English is the primary language, you will find the language changes. Not only are there distinctions in vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation, but there are also many cultural differences which affect how we use the language.

There are many differences in conversation styles depending on cultural background. When in a conversation in Canada, one person introduces a topic and it is expected that the second person will respond and then add something additional to the topic. They can agree or disagree, but they should continue bouncing the discussion back and forth, like in a tennis game. If there are more than two people, they do not wait for their turn, they simply jump into the conversation whenever they have a point to make.

This is very different from some other cultures, such as Japan, where you wait for your turn to speak and there is an order to who speaks when. It is important to be aware of the differences in conversation styles in other cultures to be sure that you don’t unintentionally offend anyone.

If you would like more information on CANADIAN, EH?, please email Doctor English with your questions at drenglish@vec.ca.


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