At LingoHut, we teach a variety of different languages. However, just like there is a lot of various languages in the world, there are a lot of various dialects and accents within English. We can almost think of dialects or accents as different languages within languages.
First, we should discern the difference between an accent and a dialect. An accent, according to The Linguist List, is “a way of pronouncing a language.” This is interesting because it means that everyone in the world, no matter the language, has an accent. To not have an accent means to not pronounce anything at all. A dialect, according to LinguaCore, is “a particular form of language which is peculiar to a specific region or social group.”
With these two definitions, we can see that a dialect and an accent are not so different because one influences the other.
Thinking about this brought me to an interesting question: how many English accents or dialects are there?
To begin, I should point out that there is no real answer to this question. Everyone speaks the language a bit differently from another person, whether it be specific words or sentence structures. With this, it could be said that there are as many English accents as there are English speakers. This answer is, obviously, incredibly lame and probably not what you are looking for.
So how many English dialects are there that are recognizable from one another? Well, there are a lot. Specifically, there are 160 distinct English dialects throughout the world. There are a large array of different accents within primarily English speaking countries, like the US and England, and there are a large array of foreign English accents.
Out of all the countries I examined, it seems that England has the most amount of distinct dialects with 29 different ones (not including dialects from Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Man, or the Channel Islands). The United States quickly follows with 27 distinct dialects. Some other notable countries are India with 14 distinct dialects, Ireland with 13 distinct dialects, and Australia with 9 distinct dialects.
If we were to include dead dialects of modern English, this number would surely be much higher. Regardless, there is a lot of different English spoken around the world! Some dialects may be easier to understand to some than others, but they are all English. To get a taste of the different dialects found in the UK, check out the video below.
Want to learn more about British accents? Dialect Blog has you covered with an in-depth description of a few of the most common accents.