Have you ever wondered about the difference between accent and pronunciation? In this short article, we’ll talk about the distinction between the two.
From a linguistic point of view, the term accent refers to only the phonetic aspects of a dialect (Rogers, 2013). Taking English as an example, due to historical reasons, there is certainly considerable variation in the local English accents spoken in the north and south of the UK. Not to mention all the other “Englishes” spoken in the other continents!
To put it simply, pronunciation is the way we pronounce each syllable of a word, which can be accurate or not e.g. pronouncing “dawn” for “down” is wrong. Accent is the language rhythm and melody, which distinguishes regional variations of the same language. For example, if we hear Indian English, we are very likely to understand what is being said, as pronunciation is normally standard, but at the same time, we are able to tell the speaker’s origins. As accent is more tied to culture, it is harder to change. The good news is, you don’t need to change it! Instead, focusing on improving pronunciation will lead you to much greater achievements in your language learning journey, while keeping yourself natural and proud of your own origins.
Rogers, H. (2013). The sounds of language: an introduction to phonetics, Oxfordshire, [England]; New York, New York: Routledge.