chapter  15
Coping or Groping? Psycholinguistic Problems in the Acquisition of Receptive and Productive Competence Across Dialects
Pages 18

Despite a certain amount of good-natured complaining about the differences between British and American English, perhaps best illustrated by the variously phrased and attributed witticism that England and America are divided by a common language, it is nevertheless possible for Americans and Britons to follow even fairly rapid discourse in each other’s dialects with relative ease and apparent accuracy.1 This is undoubtedly most true just so long as standard varieties of British or American English are involved, but with that qualification the same international ease of comprehension would extend to standard Irish, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and South African English as well, and to only a slightly lesser extent to the standard English of India, Hong Kong, Sin­ gapore, and those African and Caribbean states having English as their official language.2