According to the school reform lately approved by the Italian government, the so-called Gelmini reform, the way in which foreign languages, and in particular the English language, will be studied in Italian schools in the next years will change radically. As the Italian Ministry of Education reports, Italian students are not sufficiently trained in the audio-oral abilities necessary to interact with British speakers and/or American speakers. Indeed, the differences between British and American English, apart from their pronunciation, are so many that both could really be considered two different languages and studied separately. Moreover, in a survey carried out by Trades Inc. about managerial abilities in foreign languages, the Japanese managers have come first for their ability to understand and interact in either British or American English, followed by managers from Finland, Germany, Sweden and France. Italian managers rank only in 20th place. “Something must be done”, are the words of the spokesman of the Ministry of Education, “this situation is no longer acceptable”.
Therefore, according to the new school reform, from the year 2011 Italian students will have to decide if they want to study British English or American English at school. While the study of British English will consider also the variations of Irish, Scottish and Welsh pronunciation, American English syllabuses will include the range of accents of Canada, Australia and New Zealand. All textbooks will have to be re-written and also teachers will have to be trained to specialize in one of the two, British or American English, but this will not take much time, the Ministry hopes.
But what about you? Do you prefer British or American English? And which of the two will you choose in 2011, British English or American English? Why?