Dialect Vs. Accent: What’s the Difference and Which One Is More Important?

By | December 22, 2023

Dialect and accent are two common words that might be used interchangeably, but they actually have very different meanings. Learn the difference between dialect and accent and find out other related vocabulary!

Accents and dialects are two different things. One is a pronunciation difference, and the other is a vocabulary difference. Learn more about accents and dialects in this article!

The Difference Between Accents and Dialects

As with any word, the definition of accent and dialect have broadened in the language. By “accent” we mean a change in the intonation and pronunciation of a word. “Dialect” is a pronunciation difference that has lingered for many years, but now have transformed to become more of a difference in vocabulary usage.


Accent has been around for a long time, but it’s important to note that it is a feature of pronunciation, not necessarily a feature of the language. Accents can be minor or major, and they can be based on different regions or areas in the world. In some cases, the voice can change over the years in an older person and a younger person who keeps up with current trends.

You can change the intonation and pronunciation of a word without changing its meaning, or vice versa.

Pronunciation vs. Vocabulary

A few years ago, the difference between these two terms was a very different one. Vocabulary referred to what you learned in school. With dialect, you learned how to say a word or phrase, not how to spell it.


Pronunciation is a different story. It doesn’t tell you how to say something, it tells you how to pronounce something. That’s what differentiates dialect and accent. Learn more about pronunciation in this article!

Characteristics of Dialects

Dialects typically contain a unique accent that comes from the local region. For example, a southern accent tends to differ from a northern accent. Learning more about dialects can give you a better understanding of the region from which your ancestors hail.

Dialects are also usually more specific.

What are some examples?

Some examples:

Yankee = he or she from New England

pronoun = him or her

Look – tyms → meanings

Is “sucks” the opposite of “loves”? That’s dialect

Is “Maneuver” the opposite of “maneuver”? That’s accent

Common Problems with Dialects and Accents

Taken from Michael Landa, Professor of English at the University of San Francisco, “when you’re trying to have a conversation, people think that you’re not listening because your accent is showing. When you’re talking to a friend, you should have a certain intonation in your voice, but we’re still surprised when people don’t have the same intonation as us.

The area between the vowels in a word may be pronounced differently, and that may depend on where you’re from. However, if the speech stops before a consonant, you’re not really accented.

When you’re writing, do accents matter?

Not if the emphasis is placed in the right place.

What is the difference between British-English and American-English?

Learn the differences between the two accent types

The United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (US) are the two countries with the most dialects in the world. Do you think Americans’ accents are similar to British English? Do you like British accents better? Find out why you might prefer one accent over the other.

Are British Accents Better?

It’s not all bad news – on the other hand, British accents can be very different, and this makes them highly individualized. Learn more about the characteristics of a British accent.

How Much Is a British Accent?

To really get the full effect of a British accent, you have to hear it. Learn how to speak like a typical British English speaker.

British Accent

There are a number of different accents that are related to the British Isles.


Language learners are blessed to have the opportunity to learn as many languages as they wish.

However, there are some common problems that I see very often. One of them is a lack of time to take a language course, and this makes learning difficult. If you are ready to learn another language, but have concerns about the time it will take, please read this article!

Learning a language takes a lot of effort and dedication. Don’t let this discourage you. If you are willing to put in the work and make the commitment, then you can be successful. Learning a new language is worth it!

If you have anything you would like us to cover, please leave a comment!

What language learners should be focusing on to learn a new language more quickly? Leave your opinion in the comments below.


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