In an English-speaking country, Standard English (SE) is the variety of English that has undergone regularization and is associated with formal schooling, language assessment, and official print publications, such as public-service announcements and newspapers of record, etc. The countries of the Anglosphere identify their variety of standard English in different ways: in England and Wales, the term Standard English identifies British English, the Received Pronunciation accent, and the grammar and vocabulary of United Kingdom Standard English (UKSE). In Scotland, the variety is Scottish Standard English; in the United States the General American variety is the spoken standard; and in Australia, the standard English is General Australian. Sociologically, the national variety of Standard English is generally associated with education and prestige, although it has no inherent linguistic merit over other dialects of English used in a given society.
Although a standard English is generally used in public and official settings, there exists a range of registers (stylistic levels), such as those used for journalism (print, television, internet) and for academic publishing (monographs, academic papers, internet). The distinction of registers also exists between the spoken and the written forms of SE, which are characterised by different degrees of formality; therefore, SE is distinct from formal English, because it features stylistic variations, ranging from casual to formal. Furthermore, the usage codes of nonstandard dialects (vernacular language) are less stabilized than the codifications of Standard English, and thus more readily accept and integrate new vocabulary and grammatical forms. Functionally, the national varieties of SE are characterized by generally accepted rules, often grammars established by linguistic prescription in the 18th century.
English originated in England during the Anglo-Saxon period, and is now spoken as a first or second language in many countries of the world, many of which have developed one or more "national standards" (though this does not refer to published standards documents, but to frequency of consistent usage). English is the first language of the majority of the population in a number of countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Republic of Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, the Bahamas and Barbados and is an official language in many others, including; India, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Africa and Nigeria. The English that is widely accepted as "standard" in many of these countries will have a number of unique rules with regards to spelling, pronunciation and grammar.
As the result of colonisation and historical migrations of English-speaking populations, and the predominant use of English as the international language of trade and commerce (a lingua franca), English has also become the most widely used second language. In countries where English is neither a native language nor widely spoken, a non-native[clarification needed] variant (typically English English or North American English) might be considered "standard" for teaching purposes.  Typically, English English is taught as standard across Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia and North American English is taught as standard across Latin America and East Asia. This does, however, vary between regions and individual teachers. In some areas a pidgin or creole language, blends English with one or more native languages.
Although the standard Englishes of the anglophone countries are similar, there are minor grammatical differences and divergences of vocabulary among the varieties. In American and Australian English, for example, "sunk" and "shrunk" as past-tense forms of "sink" and "shrink" are acceptable as standard forms, whereas standard British English retains the past-tense forms of "sank" and "shrank". In South African English, the deletion of verbal complements is becoming common. This phenomenon sees the objects of transitive verbs being omitted: "Did you get?", "You can put in the box". This kind of construction is infrequent in most other standardized varieties of English.
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With rare exceptions, Standard Englishes use either American or British spelling systems, or a mixture of the two (such as in Australian English, Canadian English, and Indian English spelling). British spellings usually dominate in Commonwealth countries.
- Comparison of American and British English
- International English
- Internet linguistics
- Modern English
- World Englishes
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