Local Language Project Preserves Unique British Dialect

According to the latest census, 92% of people living in England and Wales speak English as their primary language. However, that doesn’t mean it’s spoken the same way all across the country. Unique, quirky regional accents and dialects abound. As you’ve probably experienced, in some areas, there’s a good chance you’ll be confronted with at least a few English words or phrases that you don’t quite recognize!

The area around Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire is famous for its unique way of speaking. As the BBC notes, there’s some dispute as to whether there’s one Shropshire dialect or several, but there’s no doubt that the region is linguistically distinct.

Unfortunately, though, the dialect (or dialects) may be disappearing, as more young people opt for a standardized version of English reinforced by mass media. Read more

difference between a language and a dialect

What’s the Difference Between a Language and a Dialect?

What’s the difference between a language and a dialect?

The answer is not as clear-cut as you might think.  Let’s look at the different ways to determine the difference between a dialect and a language, and how they stack up in the real world.

Mutual Intelligibility

The most obvious way to distinguish a language from a dialect is by looking at mutual intelligibility. Sure, Americans and Brits have their linguistic differences, but we can usually understand each other. We speak the same language, after all.

Seems like it should be cut and dry, right? Dialects are regional variations of a single language that are still close enough that speakers can understand each other.

But not so fast!

Yiddish scholar Max Weinreich was known to say “A language is a dialect with an army and a navy.” And in fact, there are plenty of examples of “languages” that are mutually intelligible being classified as separate languages for political reasons  (and vice versa).  Read more

Whales Have Dialects, Too

It’s not just Brits and Americans who are “divided by a common language.” Scientists have learned that whales, too, have accents and dialects.

According to Science Daily, the discovery came when a team of biologists set out to study sperm whale vocalizations for the Dominica Sperm Whale Project.  As they hunt for food deep in the ocean, sperm whales communicate with each other using characteristic clicking sounds called “codas.” Read more