How Many Dialects Does English Have?
English has rapidly grown into becoming the global language of communication and business. Thanks to the spread of the culture and subsequent growth of the British Empire, English has become the bridge that is used to communicate by people around the world. This widespread expansion has witnessed the language evolve from standard British notation to a diverse range of different words that have become part of the language with time.
Just like other languages, the specific accent of English relies heavily on the region that it is spoken in. This deviation in the delivery of the language is referred to as a dialect. Dialects are massively impacted by the first language of the local population. The specific way of delivery over time in a certain region gets to be known as a dialect.
Even though it is impossible the estimate the exact number of dialects in the English language that are spoken around the world, It is estimated that over 160 different dialects of the language exist around the world. And this number is rapidly increasing thanks to the differences in delivery and pronunciation in local cultures around the world. Every single country where English is spoken in some capacity has its own different dialect of English language delivery. This primarily exists thanks to the tendency of humans to personalize the delivery of what they want to convey closer to the accents from their first language.
A wide range of dialects stems from a hybrid combination of learned understanding of the language combined with the personalized delivery. This has resulted in hundreds of dialects evolving around the world to present a comprehensive global understanding and delivery of the English language. Some of the most commonly spoken dialects of English include those from places like Australia, the US, UK, India, Kenya, Jamaica, and beyond. The dialect in those regions personalizes the delivery of the language by integrating specific cultural phrases and words into the language that are not distinguishable to outsiders. These dialects often vary within different areas of the regions to evolve into sub-dialects. It is estimated by linguistic researchers that deviations in dialects are often observed after distances of 60 Kms. This indicates a major inclination in linguistics to adapt the delivery of the language to integrate local syntax and phrases.
In the United States
With the United States, deviations between dialects exist on the basis of coasts and borders. There are longstanding reasons behind the differences with the core reason stemming from the cultural history of the settlements in the countries past. The colonies in the regions were occupied by people from Portugal, France, England, and Spain. This led to a major influence stemming from the linguistic delivery of those languages into the current dialects present in the region.
Other impacting factors in this context included the history of settlers that further moved into the regions. The linguistic delivery of those individuals remains an essential aspect of the current versions of the dialects present across different areas of the US.
East Coast within America was the first settled part with a long gap in-between the identity developed for other colonies. This led to the creation of dialects in the east compared to that of the west, which was settled homogenously. This is one of the major reasons behind the differences between the accents of people from Boston to South Carolina, whereas the differences are minimal between people on the West Coast.
Identity plays a strong role in language and divergence: people want to talk like the ones from the same city, region, country, social class, political ideas, religion, or any other label they might use to identify themselves. And they’re a lot of those “little labels” that play a major role in the separation of identities.
In England and Scotland
Old English gave the plethora of Scots languages spoken traditionally in Scotland, and the many unintelligible “dialects” of English. US English used to be much more diverse, too, but in both the UK and the US, a general trend of education- and sociology-enforced dialect leveling has been in effect for more than a century. Variation is still high, though, especially in England and Scotland. This points towards a highly diverse future for dialects with the evolution process rapidly speeding up thanks to the exposure towards the internet and other mediums of entertainment and education.
The nature of the dialects present in the language and their constant state of evolution with regional influences points towards increased diversification in the range of dialects spoken around the world thanks to increased global exposure in new areas and regions that are connecting with digital resources to learn more about the world. These resources are an integral part of the learning experience of English with local influences combining to create a strong experience.