accent=dialect?

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Silver

Senior Member
Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
Hi,

My teacher, who teaches in New Oriental School, told us that "accent" can mean "dialect", and here is one example:

Are you learning Sichuan dialect?

For him, could mean:

Are you learning Sichuan accent?

I looked up the word in our dictionary and found nothing about dialect.

But if I express these two thoughts to you, would they mean the same to you?

Thanks a lot
 
  • sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Your teacher, who teaches at the New Oriental School :rolleyes:, is rather off base.

    Since I was raised in Chicago and Los Angeles, I have a distinctly different accent from my friends raised in Boston and Texas, but we speak the same English.

    People who speak different dialects speak differently of course, but the inverse is not invariably true.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    In general an accent is about the sounds people use, how we can tell a Scot from a Londoner, for example in their use of vowel sounds, mainly.

    Dialect is specifically about variation in grammar and lexis.

    Accent does not mean dialect. A particular regional accent can be associated with a specific regional dialect.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Accent is to do with pronunciation (including stress and intonation). Dialect is to do with pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary and orthography.

    Mandarin, Sichuanese, Shanghainese and Cantonese have different pronunciations, different constructions, different vocabulary and some different characters. They are different dialects. Some linguists might prefer to say that they are different languages.

    EDIT
    Ah, a succession of cross-postings! :)
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    They are different dialects. Some linguists might prefer to say that they are different languages.
    They certainly do indeed ;) It's thee classic example in all introductions to the language/dialect debate, always starting with the claims that Scandinavia can be viewed as a dialect-area, while the "dialects" of China can easily be looked upon as whole separate independent languages. But yeah, I agree with everything that has been said so far, you will often find terms like "dialect pronunciation", which show again (as natkretep said) that pronunciation/accent comes under a heading of "dialect", which naturally includes a lot more areas to be considered.

    Different dialects often naturally have different pronunciations, but different pronunciations don't necessarily mean different dialects. For example if you look at Welsh English and Scottish English, they are basically the RP dialect with different pronunciations(accents), not different dialects at all (and no, I'm not talking about Scots here, that's separate).
     

    Copperknickers

    Senior Member
    Scotland - Scots and English
    Well no, Scottish and Welsh English are still dialects. An accent would be a 'Welsh accent' and a 'Scottish accent'.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Hi,

    My teacher, who teaches in New Oriental School, told us that "accent" can mean "dialect", and here is one example:

    Are you learning Sichuan dialect?
    For him, could mean:
    Are you learning Sichuan accent?

    But if I express these two thoughts to you, would they mean the same to you?
    No. Dialect has lots of words that differ from the standard language; an accent is the way you pronounce words in general.
    I looked up the word in our dictionary and found nothing about dialect.
    Then you need a new dictionary. ;) Try here http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dialect and http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/accent

    It is likely that your question will start a huge discussion on dialect and accent; << Off topic. >> :)
     
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    MuttQuad

    Senior Member
    English - AmE
    In general an accent is about the sounds people use, how we can tell a Scot from a Londoner, for example in their use of vowel sounds, mainly.

    Dialect is specifically about variation in grammar and lexis.

    Accent does not mean dialect. A particular regional accent can be associated with a specific regional dialect.
    That pretty well describes the difference. It is, however, interesting to note that while various versions, i.e. dialects, of Chinese such as Mandarin and Cantonese are mutually unintelligible in their spoken forms, the written forms are pretty well universally understood by speakers of any of the main dialects (as long as the reader understands whichever form -- traditional or simplified -- of the character set is being used).
     
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