American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Accents and Dialects

Accent

An accent refers to a phonetic trait from a person's original language (L1) that is carried over a second language (L2).

Dialect

A dialect refers to sets of differences, wherever they may occur, that make one English speaker's speech different from one another's. 

Communication Difference

A communication difference is a variation of a symbol system used by a group of individuals that reflects and is determined by shared regional, social, or cultural/ethnic factors. A regional, social, or cultural/ethnic variation of a symbol system should not be considered a disorder of speech or language. Most often we think of those who speak with an accent or dialect. 

Language Disorder

A language disorder is impaired comprehension and/or use of spoken, written, and/or other symbol systems. The disorder may involve (1) the form of the language (phonology, morphology, syntax), (2) the content of language (semantics), and/or (3) the function of language in communication (pragmatics) in any combination.

Share This Page

Print This Page