Language – Accents and Dialects

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Accents and Dialects

Accents of variations in pronunciation

English words can be pronounced in different ways. The different patterns of pronunciation create accents. Accents can be affected by the speaker’s regional or social background. An accent can be a feature of a dialect. But is different to dialects because it just refers to how you say the word, not the words themselves. Pronunciation and intonation can vary over large geographic areas like countries, e.g. the difference between America, Australia and England.

In England, most people can tell the difference between Northern accents and southern accents. The main differences between vowel sounds. Sometimes people that live near each other can tune into smaller differences in each other’s accents, to the point where you can tell if someone from your town or one a few miles away.

Dialect variations in language

A dialect is a variation in language, with its own distinctive features of vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. It’s different to accent because it refers to specific words you use, not just how you say them. Sociolect is the result of social background, and personal differences is idiolect.

  1. Workman (2008) study people’s perceptions of different accents. Participants listened to recordings of different accents while they look to photos of people.
  2. It was found that participants rated the intelligence of people on photos differently, depending on which accent they thought they had.
  3. Yorkshire accents were rated as sounding most intelligent. When recording of a Birmingham accent was played, the people in the photograph were rated as being much less intelligent. Obviously, this is untrue, but it shows how strong the stereotype can be about different accents.

Standard English is a social dialect. It’s usually associated with educated, middle and upper classes. It’s the way that you’re taught use English at school, and the language of formal speech and writing. Some people assume that people who use regional dialects are less educated, or lower class. On the other hand, regional varieties of English are associated with being down-to-earth and modest.

Written language

  1. Transcription speech can show features of regional dialect. Look over dialect words and grammatical constructions, e.g. ‘bairns’.
  2. Literary texts can contain representations of accents as well as dialects. The author has included these features for a reason – the way characters speak reflects on something about them. The features imply things about the characters.
  3. Some literary texts are written entirely in regional accent, rather than Standard English. This is called dialect literature. Authors do this for different reasons, e.g. to make the story seem authentic and realistic, or to make a statement about attitudes towards regional varieties of English.

All done again. These are quite short which is nice. Comment anything I forgot and if it was useful, give it a like. I like them.

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