Difference Between Accent and Dialect

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: August 17, 2022


Difference Between Accent and Dialect Difference Between Accent and Dialect

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An Accent is a wide word that encompasses Dialect. The accent is the way voices sound as a result of their geographical location. Accents have evolved through time as a result of individuals interacting in secluded areas and adopting their speech habits. This occurred before it was simple to move across the country, thus everyone in a specific neighborhood only had interaction with others who sounded like them, resulting in the development of regional accents. Dialect is derived from the accent, but rather than describing how our voices sound, it relates to how our grammar and lexical choices are influenced by where we live. Dialect is a style of speech distinct from mainstream English. Our dialects are influenced by our geographical location, as the words we use are influenced by where we live.

Everyone has an accent, no matter where they are from on the globe. An accent is a difference in how different people pronounce the same word. Even if two people speak the same language, their accents may differ. People associate accents with the locations from which they originate. It is crucial to remember, however, that an accent may be learned. As a result, the accent is only a change in how specific words are spoken, and individuals who understand the language may still understand it. An accent is related to elements such as the speaker’s location, socioeconomic position, ethnicity, first language, and social class.

A dialect is a linguistic subgroup or variant. It differs from the primary language in terms of vocabulary, diction, and grammar. Mandarin and Frookien are two dialects of the Chinese language. Some vocabulary in both languages may or may not have the same meaning. Dialects are variants of the primary language that occur when people from various places learn to speak the language but add terms from their original language as well as its lexicon and grammatical norms. The primary language is changed and transformed into a dialect. Dialect development may result in the creation of new words or the alteration of existing terms.

Accent vs Dialect

A dialect includes an accent. Knowing how they fit together might help you learn your target language faster. It may help you decide which dialects and accents to focus on, as well as pick up on locals' linguistic peculiarities, so you sound more like a native speaker and less like a textbook. Both accent and dialect relate to a different method of speaking a language, particularly one associated with a certain nation, area, or socioeconomic class. A dialect is a subset of a language that has different differences in grammar, syntax, lexicon, and pronunciation. Accent refers to differences in pronunciation. The primary distinction between accent and dialect is that accent is concerned with phonetics and phonology, whereas dialect is concerned with a wide range of topics such as morphology, phonology, syntax, semantics, and so on. An accent is just how words are spoken. A dialect includes not just a person's general vocabulary and grammar, but also their pronunciations. Dialects can have accents, but they are more than just pronunciation.

Accents may identify people from various geographical places and social groupings. An accent is a distinctive method of pronouncing a language, such as the amount of emphasis placed on vowels and consonants. Dialect refers to a group of languages spoken in a certain geographical location. It is concerned with the diversity of vocabulary, pronunciation, and other aspects of language morphology and phonology.

Difference Between Accent vs Dialect in Tabular Form

Table: Accent vs Dialect
Parameters of Comparison
An accent is related to the pronunciation of a certain language, which differs by geography.
A dialect is related to a range of languages, vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation of a certain place.
The accent is primarily concerned with variations in a language's pronunciation.
Dialect is concerned with the pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and syntax of several languages.
Accents are classified into two categories. The first is a foreign accent, while the second is how someone speaks their language.
Standard and non-standard dialects exist. The former is approved by several institutions, but the latter is not.
A dialect includes an accent.
Dialect is a component of language but not of accent.

What is Accent?

An accent is a method of speaking a language that varies depending on geographical location and community of origin. Growing up listening to individuals speak in a specific tone and pronunciation instills the same tone and pronunciation. Accents contain the same fundamental principles in all languages, but the outcome varies depending on the language. In English, the most noticeable distinction between accents is often in how vowels are spoken. An accent is a manner in which a certain group of people pronounce words and phrases. As previously stated, an accent is only a minor component of a wider dialect. An accent is a distinctive method of speaking a language. 'Warsh' means "wash" in Cajun Louisiana, and "New Yawk" means "New York" among native New Yorkers. The attractiveness of dialects and accents stems from our enjoyment of their melodic intonations. Accents are not just regional, but they may also reveal a person's ethnicity, as in the case of non-native English speakers; education; or economic level. Grammar, vocabulary, and spelling are all quite consistent in the standard dialect. Pronunciation is a separate story, as there is no standard accent.

Accents are classified into two categories. The first is a foreign accent, whereas the second is a native accent. A native accent is how you talk in your mother tongue or the most commonly spoken language in that geographical location. A foreign accent develops over time as a result of living in a different place or learning a foreign language. The accent is a dialect feature that deals with the phonological element of a language. Because it focuses mostly on pronunciation, some people may struggle to learn a foreign language because certain sounds do not exist in their language.

Many English accents differ considerably in intonation, but not in a way that would indicate a difference in meaning. There are several sorts of phonological differences. The most noticeable sort of variation in segmental phonology is when one accent has a different number of phonemes than another. A person's native language can be spoken with an accent, such as native English speakers from the southern part of the United States who speak with a southern accent. Accents, on the other hand, might differ by area. Because the American South is so large, there is no single "southern accent."

Phonetic and Phonological Differences

Accent differences are classified into two types: phonetic and phonological. Phonetics and phonology are two distinct but equally essential terms. Phonology is a branch of linguistics that explores how sounds function in a language or languages in general at the mental and abstract levels, whereas phonetics analyses the physiological and acoustic properties of sounds. When two accents are just phonetically distinct from one another, we discover the identical set of phonemes in both accents, but some or all of the phonemes are realized differently. There may also be changes in stress and intonation, but not enough to modify the meaning.

What is Dialect?

Morphology and vocabulary differentiate one dialect of a language from another dialect of the same language. While accent focuses just on pronunciation, dialect encompasses all aspects of a language and how it varies regionally. A person's dialect might also alter depending on his or her employment and social background. Dialects are divided into two types: standard and non-standard. A standard dialect is accepted and promoted by institutions, whereas non-standard dialects are not. There is no universal way of distinguishing between a language and a dialect of a language.

Unlike accent, which focuses on a single language and how it is spoken around the world, dialect refers to a range of languages as well as their morphology inside a certain geographical border. It is critical to notice differences in grammar and vocabulary if one is to grasp the differences across dialects. Accents can be part of dialects, however, dialect refers to a method of speaking as a whole, not only pronunciation. Dialects encompass everything from the use of specific language to syntax to sentence structure. Dialects can also differ depending on socioeconomic status and culture. English, for example, is spoken by individuals of many nationalities. However, what we call "subway" in American English is called "underground" in British English. The cockney dialect of English, for example, is associated with working-class Londoners. A dialect is the subcategorization of a language, distinguished linguistically by grammar, lexis, and, in the case of speech, phonology. Dialects are typically established around certain geographical areas. They may, however, be utilized among certain groups of individuals. Food is the most commonly changed term within a dialect. What one dialect may refer to as shrimp, another may refer to it as crawfish or crawdads. Because dialect refers to variance within the same geographical borders, similar terms might appear in two separate languages within the same territory. The language of a nearby region is also extremely close. This is due to geographical isolation since these two languages were dialects of the same language but finally became two separate languages owing to geographical isolation.

Accent can be a component of dialect. Cockney English, for example, refers to the type of English typically spoken by working-class Londoners and is referred to as both a dialect and an accent. The word accent is used to describe the pronunciation of cockney English. The term dialect can be used to refer to different linguistic features.  

Sarah Thomason of the Linguistic Society of America notes:

"All dialects start with the same system, and their partly independent histories leave different parts of the parent system intact. This gives rise to some of the most persistent myths about language, such as the claim that the people of Appalachia speak pure Elizabethan English."

Slang vs Dialect

While slang and dialect are quite similar in that they are both non-standard English versions that dictate your lexical and grammatical choices. Slang relates to words and phrases, whereas dialect refers to a method of speaking. Slang, unlike dialect, is not usually region-specific. Slang manifests itself in groups such as student communities and divides inside the student bubble. While both dialect and slang are variants of English, slang is more imaginative and deviates from Standard English.

Main Difference Between Accent and Dialect in Points

  • An accent is associated with the pronunciation of a particular language that varies from region to region whereas a dialect is associated with various languages, a variety of vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation of a particular area.
  • An accent is a part of a dialect but it is not true the other way around.
  • Accent means the change in pronunciation associated with a particular language across various parts of the world whereas dialect refers to the variety of languages along with their morphology in a region.
  • Accent is primarily concerned with variations in a language's pronunciation, whereas dialect includes both morphology and lexicon.
  • Accents are classified into two types: foreign accents and native accents. There are, however, standard and non-standard dialects. The former is approved by several institutions, but the latter is not.


An accent is a subset of dialect that deals with variations in pronunciation, whereas dialect deals with a language's morphology and lexicon. The geographical place where one is reared, the society to which one belongs, and occupation all have a strong impact on accent and dialect. Our mother tongue has a significant impact on our accent and how we pronounce different words in a foreign language. However, profession and cultural background, in addition to geographical boundaries, impact a dialect. This may occur as a result of the geographical isolation of two dialects of the same language, which evolve into two distinct languages over time. Many times, the phrases are used interchangeably, although the accent is how a person pronounces things while dialect encompasses a person's pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary.



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"Difference Between Accent and Dialect." Diffzy.com, 2023. Mon. 20 Mar. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-accent-and-dialect-743>.

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