Spoken English and Written English are the two forms of the English Language that differ from each other in many ways. When it comes to ‘Spoken English’ there are different forms in which the language is spoken; the pronunciation of the British is different from that of the Americans. As English is the mother tongue of the ‘British’ an opinion prevails that ‘British English’ is the actual form of ‘English’ language be it spoken or be it written, though in real life we are acquainted with two distinctly different forms of both ‘Spoken’ and ‘Written’ English.
Almost all or to be precise, a major number of countries in the world are associated with America for different reasons. As a matter of fact, the ‘American English’ has become a trend and ‘British English’ has taken a back seat. So our discussion will be based on taking ‘American English’ as a benchmark for both the ‘American Way of Spoken and Written English.’ There are quite a few noticeable differences are there. We will discuss the major and most distinct ones.
This comes first because it is often observed with surprise that a person with a profound knowledge of the ‘English Language’ does not even know how to pronounce the word he is using in his writing. Many a person pronounce the word ‘often’ as ‘often’ may it sound stylish, the actual pronunciation is of(t)en. While speaking in English people have often heard to utter ‘Pro noun ciation’ but the real one is ‘Pro nun ciation’. These are mistakes committed due to less exposure to persons with ‘Good English Communication Skill’. Faulty pronunciation gets noticed only when a person talks to a ‘Native English Speaker’ or a person with good command over ‘English Communication Skill’. So the difference is visible. However good a person may be in written English, he may not be a good communicator with right pronunciation, and that matters a lot.
2) Knowledge of Grammar:
Here the case is a bit too critical. If you are not good in ‘Applied English Grammar,’ you neither can be a good writer nor be a good speaker. Well, then what’s the difference? If you are not good enough in English Grammar, you have a shallow knowledge but you are habituated in speaking English, you can manage to talk to ordinary persons, (notice it I have written manage to talk) your friends or relative in casual or informal English. Don’t get shocked with the statement; I am talking about ‘Informal Way’ of speaking. Why I have said ‘you can manage’ to talk? Because in the day to day conversations people often (not of ten) speak in a casual way, using incomplete sentences, avoiding usage of punctuations, indirect narrations and even avoid using a note of interrogation. e.g. “so you’re really going to home” instead of asking “So, are you really going to home?”. People also speak in a casual way ignoring proper usage of Tenses. Here comes the difference, when one needs to write, say an application letter or an essay in college or a business letter his ‘Knowledge on English Grammar’ is put to test. Hardly one gets a chance to write something in casual English.
3) Proficiency in speaking:
As we have discussed that ‘You can manage to talk’ without proper depth of English language and English Grammar, contrary to that you cannot ‘manage to talk’ when it comes to serious conversation with designated person or ‘delivering a speech’ or ‘participating in a debate’, here depth of your English knowledge needs to be sharper than even a writer. You get no chance to think and compose, no chance of speaking then rectifying (damaging for your image), no usage of incomplete sentences. You have to have the sharp skill of ‘English Communication’ so as to be an eloquent speaker with a profound depth of both English language and English grammar. Your vocabulary has to be strong, your knowledge of ‘English Idioms and Phrases’ has to be well enough for application where it suits. This is also a difference between spoken and written English, for being an ‘Eloquent Speaker’ your depth of knowledge has to sharper and stronger.
4) Accentuate on specific words while speaking:
Accentuating matters a lot while speaking or delivering a speech as it provides clarity on your speech, by putting stress on words you make your point clear to the listener or the audience. Needless to be mentioned accentuating is not needed at all while you are writing in English. Its’ the reader’s job to see through the words and get the meaning accurately, your duty is to write properly and if needed you can underline or make a word or words written in bold, indicating that you are emphasizing on that or them. While speaking your audience will not be able to get a clear message unless you accentuate or put stress on required words. So it makes another big difference.
5) American Accent or British Accent:
When you are writing in English some spellings and styles do differ from American to British English, no matter which style you are following you have to chose either one of the two writing styles and stick to it with a minor swaying, its’ easy to adapt. But while you are delivering a speech before a respectable audience i.e. in a seminar or conference you have to follow rigidly one style of accent. If you are an American/habituated in speaking in American English, or if you are a British/habituated in speaking in British English stick to it, no swaying from one to another. Being habituated in British English if you try to please the audience by speaking in American accent you will become a laughingstock and vice versa. The difference here between ‘Spoken’ and ‘Written’ English is visibly distinct. You can change your writing style according to the need of the situation, but you have no chance to adjust your speaking style accordingly, you have to be the real ‘You’ whoever be the audience.
Might be dozens of other examples can be presented, but the distinct differences are discussed here keeping to make people aware that, don’t take it to be granted that if you are a good writer you are a good speaker as well and the other way around. Writing good English and Speaking great English are two different arts to be acquired through practice. Most importantly, emphasis and tone of voice both are important in conversational English, while impeccable knowledge of English grammar is a must for both the forms. While expressing different expressions like fear, sorrow, the disappointment you emphasize on words and tone of your voice are more important than your facial expressions. For being a good communicator or a good writer your skill has to be adequate and you need to know the art spoken English with all its’ difference from the written form.