Is Canadian English considered more as American English or as British English or neither? I always thought that there are only British English and American English but recently I realized that there are also Australian English and Canadian English.

For example, If someone wants to live in Canada or Australia, on which English would you recommend him to focus, AmE or BrE?

In addition, a lot of times I see the same books (especially professional books) in two different editions: one edition for British and the other one for American, with minor differences of the language. What edition Australian or Canadian normally prefer among these two?

  • 1
    Your question is possibly a little too broad to be on-topic. Wikipedia (Canadian English) gives a lot of useful information.
    – Mick
    Nov 19, 2016 at 16:02
  • Canadian and American English accents are quite close, especially on opposite sides of the border, and the two dialects are very close in other respects as well, far closer than American English and British English or American English and Australian English.
    – TimR
    Nov 19, 2016 at 18:23
  • 4
    In general (very broad brush) Canadian and American accents are closer, Australian and British accents are closer, but it depends where in each country you are referring to. In Quebec, there is a strong French influence and in Minnesota there is a strong Scandinavian influence. An interesting opinion here. Either way, relocating to any of the four will require some adjusting.
    – Peter
    Nov 19, 2016 at 18:32
  • Canadian English By Stefan Dollinger, Director of the Canadian English Lab, University of British Columbia at Vancouver - public.oed.com/aspects-of-english/english-in-use/…
    – user5267
    Nov 22, 2016 at 21:01

2 Answers 2


Most widespread languages show a variety of dialects: In Germany there is High and Low German, not to mention distinct Swiss and Austrian dialects. French has significant variation between the North and South; Brittany, Alsace and Quebec also have distinct regional dialects

English is no different in this regard. There are significant differences between the English spoken in London, in Manchester and in Glasgow, yet all could claim to be "British English" (d'ye ken). There are also class differences.

Similarly, in North America, there are many dialects: The language of the West coast, the South, New England are all clearly different. The dialects in Canada (there are several) are generally closer to other American dialects than to British dialects.

Australian English is split mostly by class, into a "broad", "general" and "cultivated" accent, though they tend to be closer to British English.

Books tend to be split into American and British because there are differences in spelling. They might make some small changes in vocabulary, but almost no changes in grammar are needed.

However, these difference are at the level of dialect. Speaker of southern English accents have no trouble understanding American speakers. As a learner, if you are a competent speaker of American English, you will have no difficulty being understood by Britons, and will not find it so difficult to adapt to a new accent if you need to.


Canadian English is very close to American English perceptually. There are pronunciation differences, but they don't correspond perfectly to the border between the US and Canada and are subtle.

There are also minor spelling differences (wherein Canadian English agrees with British and not American standards), but all in all Canadian English is much closer to American English than to British English.

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