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Accent vs Dialect | Rosetta Stone®

Understand the differences between accents and dialects, and learn a new language with the award-winning Rosetta Stone App.

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Accent vs. Dialect?

Perhaps the easiest way to think of the difference between accents and dialects is to first understand that accents are only a part of what makes up a dialect. An accent is simply how one pronounces words—a style of pronunciation. A dialect includes not just pronunciations, but also one’s general vocabulary and grammar.

As an example, someone from the United States may say, “Would you like some tea?”, while a person from the UK might instead say, “Fancy a cuppa?” They’re both speaking English, and they’re both expressing the exact same idea. But not only would the pronunciation (the accent) be different, the choice of vocabulary and the grammar behind both sentences is clearly distinct.

Within any given language, both dialect and accent will vary—both largely a product of geography/regionality. Someone in coastal northwestern France sounds quite different than someone from Paris. A person from the Swabian region of Germany (Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg) will often sound wildly different than another from Hamburg in the north.

Our team at Rosetta Stone is highly attuned to these distinctions in accent and dialect. In a number of cases, we offer programs in two or more versions of a language. You can learn Latin American Spanish or the Spanish of Spain. It’s your choice. Otherwise, we focus on teaching the version of the language that’s most widely spoken in the world or the version that is the most standardised. For instance, our Portuguese program is geared toward speaking Brazilian Portuguese vs. Portuguese as spoken in Portugal. By contrast, our Arabic program teaches Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). This is the broadcast standard language used on Al Jazeera TV, as well as the standard of business, government, publications and educational institutions; it’s not necessarily specific to any one Arab nation.

Whichever language you chose to learn with Rosetta Stone; you’ll learn to speak the language, not just memorise words. What makes our approach effective is that we prepare you to use your new language in your everyday life. So it’s not just about the features, but what you’re able to do because of them. It helps you get ready to handle situations with confidence.

How Rosetta Stone Can Help

Learning a language can be an experience that transforms your life. Not only does it open you to a world full of both professional and personal possibilities, but it also expands your thinking and can prime your confidence. As technology, like the internet, shrinks our world and we become members of a global community, the ability to learn a language becomes an essential part of how we interact and succeed.

Perhaps you’ve hesitated to learn a new language because you’re worried about the time commitment. Or maybe you’ve heard it’s more difficult to learn a language as an adult. Set these common misconceptions about learning languages aside because research suggests that your ability to learn a language is mostly a matter of practise, building confidence through speaking, and contextualising your learning.

After you decide on which language to learn and begin to pick up its basics, developing accurate pronunciation is vital and depends on getting immediate feedback on your pronunciation efforts. Feedback will help you to make needed corrections to your pronunciation. Then you can practise until your mouth is able to readily shape the sounds that make up the language.

Rosetta Stone gives you pronunciation feedback with the TruAccent™ speech-recognition engine. Our patented technology instantly compares your voice to native and non-native speakers, so you get real-time feedback for the most accurate pronunciation. It’s also adjustable, which allows you to fine-tune your accent. TruAccent is among the most powerful tools for helping you learn and speak virtually any language.

After beginners have acquired basic words, short phrases, and their proper pronunciation, it will be a natural transition to learn the longer phrases that make up so much of everyday conversation. Rosetta Stone’s brief, 10-minute lessons are built in exactly this way—teaching the basics first, then moving onto longer phrases. This approach helps you acquire the skills to understand and be understood with confidence.

Try Our Award-Winning App

Surround yourself with Spanish (Latin America) whenever, wherever with the Rosetta Stone app.

Download a unit and knock it out on the train or a flight. Select a 5-10 minute lesson and sneak it in while you wait in line or for your ride to show up. And explore dynamic features, like Seek and Speak, where you can point at an object in the real world and get a translation.

The best part? You don’t have to choose between app or desktop. Both come with your subscription and sync, so you can switch between devices seamlessly.