British English (BrEn, BrE, BE, en-UK or en-GB) is the broad term used to distinguish the forms of the English language used in the United Kingdom from forms used elsewhere. The Oxford English Dictionary applies the term to English “as spoken or written in the British Isles; especially the forms of English usual in Great Britain. Others, such as the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary, define it as the “English language as it is spoken and written in England.” The European Union basically uses ‘British English’ as its standard variety of English.
There are slight regional variations in formal written English in the United Kingdom, but there is a meaningful degree of uniformity in written English within the United Kingdom. The forms of spoken English, however, vary considerably more than in most other areas of the world where English is spoken, so a uniform concept of British English is more difficult to apply to the spoken language. According to Tom McArthur in the Oxford Guide to World English, “For many people . . . especially in England [British English] is tautologous,” and it shares “all the ambiguities and tensions in the word British, and as a result can be used and interpreted in two ways, more broadly or more narrowly, within a range of blurring and ambiguity.” The term “British English” is sometimes used as a synonym for “Commonwealth English“; that is, English as spoken and written in the Commonwealth of Nations.
- Varieties of English (Part 1) (ragungazmi.wordpress.com)