Standard English (SE, also standardised English or standardized English) is the dialect of English language that is used as the national norm—the standard language—in an English-speaking country, especially as the language for public and formal usage. In England and Wales, the term standard English is associated with British English, the Received Pronunciation accent, and the United Kingdom Standard English (UKSE) grammar and vocabulary. In Scotland, the standard dialect is Scottish Standard English; in the United States, General American is the standard variety spoken; and in Australia, the national standard is called General Australian English.
Although a standard English is generally used in public and official settings, a range of registers (stylistic levels) exists within any standardized English, as is often seen when comparing a newspaper article with an academic paper, for example. A distinction also may be drawn between spoken and written forms of standard English, which tend to follow different norms of formality. Furthermore, vernacular dialects are looser than codified standards, and quicker to accept new grammatical forms and vocabulary. The various local standard varieties are characterized by a generally accepted set of rules, often those established by prescriptive grammarians of 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 various anglophone countries are very similar, often there are minor grammatical differences between them, as well as numerous vocabulary divergences. In American and Australian English, for example, "sunk" and "shrunk" as past tense forms of "sink" and "shrink" are beginning to become acceptable as standard forms, whereas standard British English still insists on "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 not accepted 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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