Very good ScottW. Just one point I observed: The English spoken outside the native English countries is more influenced by the American interpretation rather than the English one. You will not find many people who spell "programmme" with mme. And then another point. Many people say that the internet destroys the culture regarding languages. Well, it is up to us to prove them wrong.
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whs, your observation is interesting. I based my basic assumption about English use around the world on the influence of the old British Empire. So places such as India, Pakistan, and Hong Kong, among others, use a British English for the basics.
I also believe that the influence of American English is more prevalent in technology and academia. Thus program, being technology related, will be more likely to have an American spelling, but common words such as "colour" or "centre" are more likely to use the British spelling. Of course, I don't know for certain and would love to find a reliable source with the answers.
It has been my observation that non English speakers in Europe learn it from watching American films and TV series, whilst the rest of the world learn by listening to the BBC World service radio.
The words program and programme have 2 different meanings. I can programme a computer, and I can write programs
Lighthouse, that's an interesting observation. As the rest of the world gets more TV, will the language shift closer to American than British or will they all just watch BBC World News?
The dictionary I use, at bartleby.com, is the American Heritage Dictionary. It says programme is a "Chiefly British Variant of program". I would like to see what the Oxford English Dictionary says about programme, but I don't want to pay for a subscription.
Here's a British source, the Hutchinson Encyclopaedia, which says "Spell this word program when referring to computers or computing, and also in American English. Use programme for other senses such as 'television programme' or 'a programme of events'."
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