Tag Archives: dialects vs. accents

The -lect in Idiolect

When we discuss idiolects (the speech patterns or ‘dialect’ of a single person), it’s easy to focus exclusively on pronunciation. How we say something, with all those nuances of vowel placement and intonation, seems to exhibit more variety than what we say. … Continue reading


Posted in Miscellaneous Accents and Dialects | Tagged , | 12 Comments

The “Fargo” Accent: A Joke that Never Dies

It’s been fifteen years since Fargo was released in American theaters.  Set in rural Minnesota, the film turned an obscure American regional dialect into a national punchline, albeit a loving one.  Mention “Minnesota dialect” to an American, and they’ll give you … Continue reading


Posted in American English | Tagged , | 37 Comments

Can You be Bi-Accented?

Continuing yesterday’s discussion of the accents of transplants, I’m mulling over a related question: can someone be bi-accented? Just as there are bilinguals, are there some people who are native speakers of multiple accents? I should clarify. I’m not talking about … Continue reading


Posted in Miscellaneous Accents and Dialects | Tagged , | 61 Comments

Stage Accents vs. Real Accents

As per recent discussions of American actors doing British accents, I’d like to make an important distinction: Authentic accents vs. stage dialects*. For about 90% of situations in which an American actor needs a British accent, that accent is probably … Continue reading


Posted in English Phonetics | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Dialect vs. Accent

Many people ask me about the difference between a “dialect” and an “accent.”  Really it’s pretty simple: An accent is the way that particular person or group of people sound.  It’s the way somebody pronounces words, the musicality of their … Continue reading


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 12 Comments