Dialects are linguistic
varieties which differ in pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar from each other
and from Standard English (which is itself a dialect).
Dialects can be usefully
defined as ‘sub-forms of languages which are, in general, mutually comprehensible’.
British linguists distinguish dialect from accent, which refers only to
pronunciation. Thus, any educated English speaker can use the vocabulary and
grammar of Standard English, but different speakers use their own local words
for everyday objects or actions, regional accent, or Received Pronunciation,
which within the UK is considered an accent distinguished by class rather than
by region. American linguists, however, include pronunciation differences as
part of the definition of regional or social dialects. The combination of
differences in pronunciation and use of local words may make some English
dialects almost incomprehensible to speakers from other regions. The major
native dialects of English are often divided by linguists into the three general
categories of the British Isles dialects, those of North America and those of