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Confounded by Americanisms: My ChatGPT Adventure

Hello fellow English speakers! Today, I’m delving into a rather amusing issue I’ve encountered while interacting with AI chatbots, specifically ChatGPT.

As a proud Brit, I cherish our unique expressions and linguistic quirks. However, my digital companion seems to prefer the flashier American dialect. Let’s explore this transatlantic linguistic journey together.

Let me share a telling incident: I recently asked ChatGPT to assist with drafting web copy for my own website,

Despite my instructions to use British English, the response I received was riddled with Americanisms—’specializing’ instead of ‘specialising’, ‘democratize’ instead of ‘democratise’, and ‘realize’ instead of ‘realise’. It seemed my AI assistant had missed the memo on which version of English we were using!

And it didn’t stop there! When I asked ChatGPT to rewrite the response in British English, the changes were subtle yet rather amusing. My favourite alteration was how ‘space’ became ‘realm’!

  • American: specializing in ‘creating’ custom websites
  • British: specialising in ‘crafting’ bespoke websites
  • American: democratize the digital ‘space’
  • British: democratise the digital ‘realm’
  • American: empower businesses to ‘thrive’ online
  • British: empower businesses to ‘flourish’ online
  • American: not just ‘seen, but felt’
  • British: not just ‘visible, but impactful’

For those curious about why this happens, it’s all down to data. AI models like ChatGPT are trained on vast amounts of text predominantly sourced from the web, where American English dominates. This training influences their language preferences, often leading to responses that lean towards Americanisms, regardless of the user’s settings.

Beyond getting the lexicon wrong, there are subtler, more frequent discrepancies such as the infamous ‘z’ for ‘s’ swap in words like ‘realize’ and the missing ‘u’ in words like ‘color’. These may seem minor, but to a British eye, they stick out like a sore thumb and can even undermine the professionalism of content intended for a UK audience.

While ChatGPT and similar technologies currently lack a “Choose Your English” setting, the ability to toggle between language variants could be a game-changer for users worldwide. It’s not just about understanding but also about cultural identity and comfort.

AI models are trained predominantly on American English, which can undermine the professionalism of content intended for UK audiences. As AI becomes more integrated into our lives, its understanding of regional language differences grows more critical.

Have you faced similar linguistic mix-ups? Share your stories in the comments!

Until next time, keep your brollies handy and your wellies at the door!

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