Textbook English vs REAL English. What's up?

So, you have diligently studied 3 textbooks from cover to cover. Have reached intermediate level and are now ready to speak English. You have found a real, live American somewhere to communicate, plucked up courage and prepared to answer “Hi! How are you? " And, suddenly, you hear hits: "What's up?" 

"What? .. Up?" You are frustratedly wandering over the next tutorial, believing that you haven't done it yet, and you need the next level textbook. But this, and much more will not be there.

As you may have guessed, in this article, we will talk about the difference between English, which you can write well for a test in school, and English, which is spoken in real life. Don't switch =).

 1. Pronunciation

In audio recordings for textbooks, speakers speak slowly and very clearly, in everyday life, native English speakers speak much faster, and they also merge words in the speech stream in such a way that it is not clear where one ends and another begins.

To learn to understand real speech, watch videos and films in which native speakers speak. First with subtitles - then without. So, over time, you will learn to understand more and more dialects, which we will now talk about.

2. Dialects

It is generally accepted that there are 2 main English pronunciations - British and American. The differences in these pronunciations, and not only we talked about in the article “British vs. American English tastes best + cherry on top. "

However, even if other English-speaking countries are not taken into account, this division is very simplistic. Both in the UK and in the USA there are many different, sometimes significantly different, dialects.

In schools, as well as in most textbooks, it is usually taken for the norm "Received Pronunciation", the pronunciation that is considered standard in the UK. The thing is that in reality less than 5% of the population speaks pure "Received Pronunciation" in the United Kingdom. Do you know how it happened? You can check your knowledge in our article Differences Between American and British English - A Quiz.

 Therefore, when you arrive in London, do not be surprised if you hear English, which is not at all similar to the speech of announcers from textbooks or the BBC channel.

 "How many dialects of English are there?" - you may ask. Well, there are many, 160. There are many different accents in predominantly English speaking countries such as the US and England, and there are also many foreign English accents.

 For example, this video features 17 British accents: https://youtu.be/FyyT2jmVPAk 

And here is a selection of movies and TV shows with American accents: https://youtu.be/jOltf7rS-mM 

And for dessert - a video on how to answer the question "What's up?": https://youtu.be/ToueRSBmDg4

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more articles as in the next article in this series we'll talk about other differences between Textbook English and REAL English. To be continued… 

Author: Andrew Shapovalov

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