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Dialect v. Accent

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
What is the difference? Also, if anyone could explain why there is more than one language spoken between humans without references to the tower of Babel, I would appreciate it. Please think about this for a good long time before you answer.
post #2 of 17
Dialect is a variety of a certain language. There may be different words/slang for that specific region.

Accent is just the pronunciation of the same words of a language depending on geographical location.
post #3 of 17
accent is simply way letters and word are pronounced. stresses may change even the sound of particular letters and letter combinations.
dialect is harder to define and the usgae depdning upn where you are. formally it would be variation derived from a mother langauge. for example pidgin englishes are dialects of various languages. in usage the defintion changes for example the the dialects of italy are nto derived form italian as it is known but most developed before italian as language existed. the same case with bayrisch it is not derivative of german but it called dialect as well.
post #4 of 17
A dialect is an actual language. An accent is usually the mispronounciation of a language. Let me explain. Haitian Creole is a language. If I, a non-creole speaker, were to attempt to speak the language and I botched the different inflections and rythms of speech, I'd have an accent.
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by paraiso View Post
A dialect is an actual language. An accent is usually the mispronounciation of a language. Let me explain. Haitian Creole is a language. If I, a non-creole speaker, were to attempt to speak the language and I botched the different inflections and rythms of speech, I'd have an accent.

This makes some sense but, just using America as an example, you have a difference between Boston, NY, Philadelphia, VA/NC, GA, AL, MS, Texas, Midwest & West Coast (the newscaster.) I also disagree that a dialect is an actual language. I only checked Wiki but the page claimed it to be regional differences.
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by hossoso View Post
I also disagree that a dialect is an actual language.

What do you mean when you say language? The demarcation between language and dialect often has to do less with linguistic considerations than political ones.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bach View Post
What do you mean when you say language? The demarcation between language and dialect often has to do less with linguistic considerations than political ones.

I suppose a dictionary would explain it better than me.
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hossoso View Post
Also, if anyone could explain why there is more than one language spoken between humans without references to the tower of Babel, I would appreciate it.

Don't forget about this one guys. It is way too far fetched to explain easily but I am sure someone can do it.
post #9 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by hossoso View Post
This makes some sense but, just using America as an example, you have a difference between Boston, NY, Philadelphia, VA/NC, GA, AL, MS, Texas, Midwest & West Coast (the newscaster.) I also disagree that a dialect is an actual language. I only checked Wiki but the page claimed it to be regional differences.

I don't think Appalachian English is an accent. The Scott-Irish that went up into those mountains hundreds of years ago were isolated to the point where their language developed free of influences from anywhere else. If you were to talk to an elderly person whose language has perservered despite the influences of non-regional diction, via the proliferation of radio and TV, you'd need subtitles to understand them.

Regarding dialects I refer to Pennsylvania Dutch. This language is only alive in Amish communities within the United States. If you took a Dutch person into an Amish community they'd be able to distinguish a few words here and there but they wouldn't be able to understand it. The Amish brought the language with them and it froze in time. So although it used to be a dialect of Dutch, the fact that it only survives here makes it a language. This is why I think the line between dialect and mother tongue is dubious. It takes a bit of bigotry and nationalism to say that Haitian creole is a lingua franca and not an honest to goodness language, for example.
post #10 of 17
two people can speak the same dialect. They probably won't have the same accent. Also, I think of accent as someone speaking a non-native language with pronunciation from their mother tongue.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hossoso View Post
Don't forget about this one guys. It is way too far fetched to explain easily but I am sure someone can do it.
I'm no anthropology major or anything, but my best guess at this is: humans quickly learned that living in large groups was more effective for survival purposes. What started out as simple communication turned into patterns, used to convey ideas/messages. The simple fact is, the earth is a HUGE place and without any technology, even the basic wheel and the domestication of animals like horses, there might have been hundreds of years between any sets of tribes even encountering each other. So they all understand the same concepts but developed different sets of noises for what each think meant, ie a different language. Even as the populations grew and people developed the ability to survive and travel further, there were still limits because of the separation of continents.So let's say many south american languages share similar sounds, while each country still has it's own dialect or even language. They're more similar to each other as a group then they are to any language from another continent like Europe. So my explanation is mobility.
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by hossoso View Post
Don't forget about this one guys. It is way too far fetched to explain easily but I am sure someone can do it.
Historical and material considerations require adaptations/changes in the articulations and exchanges between individuals located in a place. So, people in one place will have different adaptations/needs for communication than others and, voila, different languages used to express those needs. Languages are essentially exchanges of meaning between individuals for specific purposes, related to specific settings... People living in a landlocked valley have no need for a word like "Schooner," so they won't have one until they do. Eskimos have fifteen words for snow (or whatever), but Tahitians sure don't. People say what they need to say and nothing else.
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by rach2jlc View Post
Historical and material considerations require adaptations/changes in the articulations and exchanges between individuals located in a place. So, people in one place will have different adaptations/needs for communication than others and, voila, different languages used to express those needs. Languages are essentially exchanges of meaning between individuals for specific purposes, related to specific settings...

People living in a landlocked valley have no need for a word like "Schooner," so they won't have one until they do. Eskimos have fifteen words for snow (or whatever), but Tahitians sure don't.

People say what they need to say and nothing else.


This is crazy stuff. In my ancestral tounge we only have like 6 or 7 colors.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_colors
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pantisocrat View Post
This is crazy stuff. In my ancestral tounge we only have like 6 or 7 colors. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_colors
Languages and the humans who speak them are also very adaptable, so just because a language at one point doesn't have a word in it, doesn't mean it CAN'T have that word or can't make its meaning otherwise intelligible. There is a difference here between possibility and necessity. Humans are humans, and intelligibility in negotiating meaning is always possible (barring some sort of cognitive impairment in an individual), it's just that perhaps until a given exchange/interaction happened, that negotiation wasn't necessary. Again, humans aren't really transcendentally or mystically appropriating linguistic rules from a vacuum; we do and use what we need. In terms of adaptability, Japanese currently uses something like 1500 loan words in almost-everyday conversation. They retail some semblance of their original meaning, but have been incorporated.
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by paraiso View Post
I don't think Appalachian English is an accent. The Scott-Irish that went up into those mountains hundreds of years ago were isolated to the point where their language developed free of influences from anywhere else. If you were to talk to an elderly person whose language has perservered despite the influences of non-regional diction, via the proliferation of radio and TV, you'd need subtitles to understand them.
I'm not sure if I really agree with this, being from the immediate vicinity of the area - I am from Tennessee just on the west side of the Cumberland plateau. People in my particular region generally have mild upper Southern accents, but I'm well acquainted with what people sound like a little to the east in Appalachia proper. My grandmother, for example, is from the the mountains in Kentucky. She mispronounces a lot of words and uses some interesting word choices and speech patterns, but she's far from the worst. I've only once or twice heard someone I had difficulty understanding, and they were usually white trash from East TN, to be frank. I've only ever taken one linguistics course, but one thing I've observed is that people in this region may have retained (or developed) a bit of reflexivity. I don't know, however, whether English ever had reflexive verbs, but people sometimes say things like "I'm gonna get myself/get me _____" or "take me a bath/take myself a bath."
Quote:
Originally Posted by paraiso View Post
Regarding dialects I refer to Pennsylvania Dutch. This language is only alive in Amish communities within the United States. If you took a Dutch person into an Amish community they'd be able to distinguish a few words here and there but they wouldn't be able to understand it. The Amish brought the language with them and it froze in time. So although it used to be a dialect of Dutch, the fact that it only survives here makes it a language. This is why I think the line between dialect and mother tongue is dubious. It takes a bit of bigotry and nationalism to say that Haitian creole is a lingua franca and not an honest to goodness language, for example.
It was my understanding that the Pennsylvania Dutch weren't dutch at all, but rather Germans moving to Pennsylvania, mostly after the revolution of 1848 (maybe?). "Deutsch" was misinterpreted as "Dutch." I think they mostly come from a certain region of Germany - somewhere in the west I think, but I've never encountered any to compare against my knowledge of modern High German. Of course I suppose Dutch is low German anyway, so this is all details anyhow.
post #15 of 17
My family and I, from Iowa and Minnesota, called this a commode^ My first cousin, who grew up in North Carolina, called this a commode^
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