Accents and Dialects

The way that words are spelt in writing and expressed in speech varies from place to place and country to country. Across England the variations are in speech and are usually called "regional accents" or "dialects". By some the changes in speech from place to place within a small country such as England are referred to as "accents". Dialects are often taken to be more profound differences. In China many of the dialects are effectively different languages. A speaker of one dialect is unintelligible to one who speaks another dialect. Although speakers of English from various parts of the country often sound different all can be understood by any other Englishman and most other English Speakers. There are then, said to be many accents across the regions of England. For English, dialects, as defined above are unusual. The "Pidgin" English of the South Pacific and particularly Papua New Guinea may be said to be a dialect. It uses many English words but arranges them in very a "non-standard" order. There are also other "pidgin" languages that have developed in Nigeria and Hawaii for examples. The term is not restricted to English. There is a Basque-Icelandic pidgin that developed owing to contact between Basque traders and Icelandic locals in the West Fjords peninsula of Iceland.

British

Accents are difficult to describe in writing. The Wikipedia attempts to do this. The web other sites mentioned here give audio examples of the accents named. This site provides examples of many British accents from the Orkney Islands north of Scotland to Cornwall in the south-west of England. The English Language in 24 accents includes many from offshore. This site could also be included in the "Profanities" tab owing to the strong language used. You should take this as a warning if you are sensitive to swearing. These sites also include many other examples from the pictorial menus on the right side of the screen in addition to the first video that appears upon visiting each of the sites.

American

Again the Wikipedia site attempts to describe the accent in writing. The American accent on this video gives examples of regional variations but does not identify them. Instructions on how to "do" an American accent are given in this video by a non-American.

If acquiring an American accent is the goal then this video may help. For "individuals" just hit that tab for details. It is a commercial venture so it is not cost free.

Australian

For the sake of consistency and completeness the Australian accent is described in the Wikipedia web site. Some examples of the Australia accent can be heard on the Language and Identity web site. This YouTube video clip uses some everyday Australian expressions to demonstrate the accent. The Speak More Clearly site is a commercial one which teaches the Australian, among others, accent. There is not a lot of material demonstrating the Australian accent other than various entertainment acts, mostly by comedians. These you may enjoy finding yourself.

New Zealand

Once again the Wikipedia site does a good descriptive job. The Learn The Accent.com web site is a good first introduction to the second antipodean accent. YouTube has various video clips demonstrating the New Zealand accent mostly using humour, everyday expressions and comparisons with other accents. The guest on this British comedy show is speaking with a typical New Zealand Accent much to the presenter's amusement.As was the case above for Australia there is much that can be found at the humour sites which either use or refer to the New Zealand accent but not a lot else. Enjoy your browsing.

Canadian

There does not appear to be a Wikipedia description of the Canadian accent. To the rescue again comes YouTube and also once more with humour. There are on all of the YouTube sites is a graphical "menu" on the left. There are always many items from which to pick. In Canada there is another major language used particularly in Quebec. This is, of course French. This results in a French-Canadian accent. This is English with French accent but not quite the English of a European French person

Others

There are many other places where English is spoken, some where it is, of necessity, the national language. Most have local variations of spoken English. It is left as an exercise for those interested to investigate the accents used in India, South Africa and Hong Kong, indeed any part of what was the old British Empire. No accent can prevent a person from writing and speaking good, grammatically correct English. Both this section and the previous one on "Usage" show just how flexible is the English language. It confirms what was said in the first section of this site. It is is possible to get many things "wrong" in writing and in speech in English and still be understood. It is, of course, much better and more certain to get it right and to be sure

Accents and Dialects

Accents and Dialects

British

American

Australian

New Zealand

Canadian

Others

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