Dialect Blog

If you have an interest in languages, which since you’re here you probably do, you might enjoy browsing the language blogs section on the right-hand side of this page. I keep it reasonably up to date by adding blogs I like as they come to my attention. (This makes me feel less guilty about the erratic nature of my updates here.)

One of the more recent additions to the blogroll is Ben Trawick-Smith’s Dialect Blog, on the go since January.* Ben is an actor and dialect coach (among other things) with a keen interest in linguistics. His blog is entertaining, interesting, and informative, with posts on all sorts of topics relating to dialects, accents, and speech. It delves into areas such as history, geography, TV and film, acting, and sociolinguistics.

Ben has spent years studying dialects intensely, and he shares his curiosity and learning with whoever cares to read his thoughts or join in the chat. He takes time to respond thoughtfully and graciously to comments. His blog is written in a lively, informal style, and although it’s perfectly accessible to non-specialists, it doesn’t shirk from technical detail when this is merited.

As an Irish person, I’m often amazed at the range of dialects to be found in a fairly small geographical area. Broaden the field of (auditory) observation, and my delight only grows. Dialect Blog does a great service to language enthusiasts by focusing on the wonderful variety of speech sounds and forms to be found around the world, and by offering a friendly place to enjoy, explore, and discuss them.

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* I’m grateful to Lynne Murphy, writer of the wonderful separated by a common language blog, for bringing Dialect Blog to my attention. I don’t remember how or when, but it was probably on Twitter.

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14 Responses to Dialect Blog

  1. lynneguist says:

    It must’ve been on Twitter, as I’m constantly posting about Dialect Blog! (Gratitude for your gratitude!)

  2. Thanks for the mention, Stan! I’ve been a big of your site for a while as well, and I hope to continue to draw from it for inspiration. Keep up the great work!

  3. Claude says:

    A very interesting place, Stan. Thanks! Amusing that the day I visit Dialect Blog, the Toronto accent is being discussed! I thought, when I learned English by immersion in Toronto, years ago, I would be set for life. Of course, it didn’t take me long to discover that, althought my Franglais would be somehow understood wherever I would go, in Canada and USA, I would often be puzzled by people’s different pronunciations of familiar words. I’m inclined to say that the English language has a new face, anywhere, anybody speaks it!!!!

  4. What an interesting site. I think that I will be visiting regularly. Thanks!

  5. Thanks for your list of language blogs. For over half a year I’ve been writing Spanish-English Word Connections, which discusses the etymologies of related words in Spanish and English. Please have a look and see what you think of the 180 posts so far.

  6. Ewelina says:

    Thanks for your list. Some of the blogs you mention are definitely worth reading…

  7. Stan says:

    Ben: My pleasure, Ben. Thanks for the kind words.

    Claude: I realised this as I posted it, and knew you would immediately be interested. It’s curious, and wonderful in a way, how even relatively near neighbours can be mutually baffling now and then. Your remark that the English language “has a new face, anywhere, anybody speaks it” is true and insightful.

    Jams: You’re welcome! I’m glad you took a look (and maybe a listen).

    wordconnections: Thanks for your visit, and for letting me know about your blog.

    Ewelina: Happy to hear you found some sites of interest.

  8. Stan says:

    Lynne: Yes, it’s the most likely possibility. (Sorry about the delay in replying. Your comment went straight to my spam folder, for reasons I can’t fathom.)

  9. I’ve been reading Dialect Blog articles when Lynne tweets links to them, and have also explored a bit on my own. The single best thing I’ve got out of it was the link to AusTalk, which I wouldn’t have heard about otherwise, and which I enthusiastically signed up for. (Apparently one of the recording stations will be in the university that’s a short walk from here, which is wonderfully convenient.)

    It’s not on my blogroll mostly because the articles are obviously targetted primarily at people with less linguistic knowledge than you or I have, so they tend to be a little superficial. But I will continue visiting as long as Lynne keeps tweeting, and no doubt the visits will continue to be pleasant.

  10. Stan says:

    Dragon: That’s convenient all right, and AusTalk sounds like a fun and worthwhile project to be involved in. Best of luck with it. My linguistic knowledge is very modest, and my knowledge of phonetics is meagre, so I’m learning from my visits.

  11. Thanks Stan,

    Nice blog. I am an actor from New Zealand and so I constantly have to work in various accents and dialects… which is fun.

    I find that thinking about dialects helps me create character, the impediment gets me out of my own head… and keeps me thinking one sentence at a time

    Thanks Again
    Geoff

  12. Stan says:

    Hi Geoffrey. Thanks for your visit and comment. I think you’re right about dialects helping to create character. Though I can’t act or do accents very well, I find that writing in other dialects immediately helps the character or persona take on a life of its own.

  13. indorani says:

    I found this blog while searching blogs that talk about dialect. Dialect is one particular interesting part of a language. I am always amazed how one language could have so many dialects. It is hard for the non-native speakers, and that what makes it more interesting.

    • Stan says:

      indorani: I find dialects particularly interesting too. My own is a form of Hiberno-English, or Irish English, which has many words and syntactical structures that are not in standard English. John McWhorter has a good line about this in The Power of Babel: “Dialects are all there is: the ‘language’ part is just politics.”

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