Difference Between Accent and Dialect (With Table)

There are numerous languages in the world. The style and way of speaking a particular language depend upon the people, region, and other factors. English is a widespread language. Yet the speaking style in the UK will differ from India. Accent and dialect are two types of speech patterns that one uses daily. 

Accent vs Dialect

The main difference between accent and dialect is that accent is related to a person’s pronunciation, whereas dialect is a broader term that includes pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary. Therefore, we can state that accent is a part of dialect. Both of these terms are in use while speaking a particular language.  

An accent is related to the pronunciation of a language. It is the way of speaking. It usually differs from person to person or from region to region. The phonetics are different in different accents. One can be fluent in more than one accent. It depends on the person speaking the language.

Dialect is a term that encompasses pronunciations, grammar as well as vocabulary. It has wide use in linguistics, the study of languages. The scope for dialect is broad and includes accents as well. It is usually novel to a geographic area. A person can make use of only one dialect.

Comparison Table Between Accent and Dialect

Parameters of ComparisonAccentDialect
MeaningIt refers to the style with which people speak.It refers to the content of vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation of a person.
VariationsIt varies in pronunciation.It varies in phonetics, syntax, and grammar.
ScopeIt has a narrow scope.It has a wider scope.
ComponentsPronunciation.Pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, syntax.
OrderIt is a part of dialect.It is a part of the language.
AssociationIt is associated with geographical location and social background.It is associated with only geographical location.

What is Accent?

The same language spoken by two people from two geographical regions may sound different. It is because of their respective accents. Accents refer to the style of speaking.

In basic terms, it is the pronunciation of a word. People usually grow to speak with a particular accent due to their geographical, cultural, and social backgrounds. The word accent has originated from the Latin word Accentus. It means “the intonation of singing.”

It is easy to change one’s accent. As a result, one person can speak in more than two accents. It entirely depends on the person’s choice. Repeated hearing of a language also leads to picking up the accent. Therefore, if one’s relative lives abroad, one may notice the change in the way they speak.

Different languages may use different accents. So, if a person tries to learn a new language, it is usually influenced by their mother tongue.

With different accents, there are usually stereotyped opinions. For example, in English, the US accent has become widespread. Therefore, any other accent like French or Swedish supposedly diverts from the standard norms.

What is Dialect?

Dialect is a part of a language that is novel to a particular geographical region. It has a broad scope that includes components like pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, syntax, etc. Therefore, the accent is a part of a dialect. Within the dialect, there may be different accents.

Dialects have usually formed due to varieties in geographical regions. But there may be variances within them as well. For example, in the northern and southern parts of the United States, different dialects are in use.

They may have the same meaning, but the usage of the words differs. For example, while referring to a beverage, some dialects may call it coke, while others call it soda or pop.

Dialects can be of two types, standard dialect or the non-standard dialect. A standard dialect has repeated use or a formal approach. The non-standard dialect has more of an informal usage.

A dialect can be further classified into two types, a sociolect, and an ethnolect. A dialect based on social class is referred to as a sociolect. On the other hand, a dialect based on the ethnicity of a society is referred to as an ethnolect.

In some cases, a dialect is related to a low social class. The sociolect of the upper class is generally the accepted dialect. Hence, the language of the lower classes is considered unrefined. It creates the base for social discrimination.

Main Differences Between Accent and Dialect

  1. An accent is related to phonetics, whereas a dialect is related to phonetics, vocabulary, grammar, syntax, etc.
  2. The variations occur in the pronunciation of a person in an accent. On the other hand, variations occur in pronunciation, syntax, vocabulary, and grammar in the case of a dialect.
  3. In linguistics, an accent is a part of a dialect. And a dialect is a part of a language. Both of these are widely used in the study of languages.
  4. The changes in accent may occur with geographical regions, social background, and even socioeconomic status. Whereas, changes in a dialect generally occur due to the geographical region.
  5. An accent may not have a standardized form, unlike a dialect. A dialect however has a standard and a non-standard aspect.
  6. A person may use more than one accent. On the other hand, a person usually uses one dialect.
  7. It is difficult to change dialects while speaking. Whereas, an accent can be changed although it is not desirable.


Various languages are used for communication. Some are officially recognized, and some are widespread in the world. For example, English is spoken by more than 1.3 million people. Out of this, native speakers account for only 379 million people.

With its widespread nature, it is bound to have irregularities. As a result, the accents and dialects differ. It is also the case with all other languages.

The variation we see in languages is due to the practice of speaking in a particular way. In a society, a typical dialect may be in use. In someplace, a dialect can be standard, whereas, in other places, it may sound eerie. Therefore, in linguistics, accents, and dialects have extensive use.


  1. https://www.proquest.com/openview/70f7a901ef3eedca24c6f75f8e0e142d/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=18750
  2. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/language-in-society/article/abs/howd-you-get-that-accent-acquiring-a-second-dialect-of-the-same-language/6686D33FAD9609F1646B21673EDC06CB