Home Page

Euro-English terms

Euro-English spelling

Important differences

Steve Edwards' website

European English

"British" only in Britain

"How typically American that you have the gall to refer to English as European English, and your own bastardised version as US English. It is simply English. The official and correct English of the British Isle is commonly referred to as the Queens English."

— From my guestbook, March '05.

There are at least a couple of reasons why I call "British-English"
European English.

The first is a matter of justice. I live in Ireland.* British English? Maybe one could refer to the continental English language as "British English;" I don't know. In Ireland, the idiom is close, but it's not the same — it's not British.

The second reason that I use the term "European English" is a matter of my own cultural pride. Obstinate, defensive American pride. It's not patriotism — this is personal. It goes a little bit like this: just as American intellectuals used to bow to a pathetic sense of inferiority to French (or Classical, or "European") academic cultchah, so have American users of the English language long kowtowed to the "propah" fastidiousness of the language of their former colonizer — the Queen's English, and all the prim stiff-upper-lipped, disembodied torture of its restrictions. Like a mouthfull of cotton balls. Ptew!

We don't really think about British English or even know anything about it in America, and yet in some prodigal way think of the British as custodians of the language. So — in a wild-colonial subset of thought — I rebel.

But all that aside, and logically speaking, I think the term "European English" is more accurate.

Some people object. And I respect that. The term is not perfect. But I think it works.


* I lived in the Republic of Ireland between June 2001 and September 2003, and between January 2005 and May 2011.