Is dialect and accent the same thing?

Ricky

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When people talk about languages, the words "dialect" and "accent" often get used a lot. Sometimes these two words are often used interchangeably but they're not the same. People often get confused about the difference between these two words and what they mean.

Everyone who speaks any language has at least one accent and a dialect. The accent of a person can often represent where they are from, their ethnicity, or their race. The accent of a person can also change as they move towards different parts of the world. For example, an American staying in England for a few years can develop a British accent and lose his American accent. Now let us find out the exact difference between an accent and a dialect.

An accent refers to the specific manner of pronunciation of a person speaking a language. A dialect refers to a variant of the same language with differences in grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. It can be said that an accent is a part of a dialect, while a dialect is a part of a language.

For example, if you use the word "elevator" and your British friend uses the word lift, both of you are using different dialects of the same language. If both of you say the same words but with a different pronunciation, both of you are using different accents of the same language. For example, pronouncing car as /ka:r/ in American English and /ka:/ in British English is an example of different accents.

Not only do dialects differ among speakers of a language in different countries, but they can differ within the same country as well. For example, people from the southern states of the USA tend to use words like “y’all” while other Americans say “you guys”. People from the western part of the USA tend to call big roads a "freeway" while other Americans call it a "highway".

References:

  1. Duolingo
  2. Accent Hero

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