At times, people may find it difficult to distinguish between accents versus dialects. These two terms, while similar in ways, are actually quite different. In order to be able to comprehend why they shouldn’t be used interchangeably, it is necessary to examine each term individually.
An accent is a form of pronunciation that is distinctive to the speech of a particular person, group, or region. Everyone who speaks English in the United States speaks with an American accent. However, there are people from certain areas of the country who are saying the same words, but pronouncing them differently. Many different accents exist among native English speakers. This is why it is usually simple to tell whether a person is from Boston or from Texas. Also, non-native speakers of English tend to carry over the intonation and phonemic inventory from their mother tongue into their English speech, causing the difference in accents. Different accents stem from the variety of ways one can shape sounds and stress syllables. An accent is simply about the way a person sounds when they are speaking.
It’s All In How You Say It!
American dialect is similar to the American accent because both involve pronunciation. Certain characteristics are important to understand how a dialect differs from having an accent. Not only does American dialect refer to differences in accent, but also differences in grammar and vocabulary among different versions of the English language. For example, people from different areas, who happen to be talking about the same object or action, may each have their own unique words to describe the same attributes. The combination of differences in pronunciation and use of locally accepted words may make some American dialects almost unintelligible to speakers from other regions.
If people have difficulty understanding you when you speak, you should consider improving your accent by taking accent reduction training with a qualified trainer. Even though having an accent is completely natural, many times it makes people hesitant to speak in certain situations. You can reduce your foreign accent and improve your American accent drastically by receiving professional training from an accent reduction specialist.