Sunday, January 17, 2010

American Dialects

Not all people who speak a language speak it the same way. A language can be subdivided into any number of dialects which each vary in some way from the parent language. The term, accent, is often incorrectly used in its place, but an accent refers only to the way words are pronounced, while a dialect has its own grammar, vocabulary, syntax, and common expressions as well as pronunciation rules that make it unique from other dialects of the same language. Another term, idiolect, refers to the manner of speaking of an individual person. No two people's idiolects are exactly the same, but people who are part of the same group will have enough verbal elements in common to be said to be speaking the same dialect.

For a comprehensive overview of American dialects, including a dialect map, and how they originated: Click Here.

Note: You must read, or page, through several preliminary paragraphs before getting to the actual dialect descriptions, which begin immediately after the second occurrence of the dialect map, the first being at the very top of the page. Also, a number of interesting dialect related links, including an American-British dictionary, are provided at the bottom of the page.

Finally, the Wikipedia article on Appalachian English may be of particular interest in the context of this blog.

To read it: Click Here.

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