Meaning of "accent"

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OHIO.EDU
Fri Dec 1 23:26:13 UTC 2006

Second language acquisition people now refer to "written accent" as
features in writing that reflect interlanguage features of syntax,
morphology, and lexicon (and maybe spelling as reflective of
pronunciation).  But "accented English" in this sense is new to me too.

At 06:09 PM 12/1/2006, you wrote:
>This is very interesting. Even among nonlinguists
>I have only very rarely encountered "accent" to
>mean non-native (whether of dialect or language)
>features in general, particularly ones that could
>be written down (unless in a literary attempt at
>dialect, clearly not the case here).
>Of course, someone else's nonlinguistic
>definition is only worth considering as
>folk-linguistic data. Why would us linguists give
>a whack what some nonlinguist says?
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>>Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
>>Subject:      Meaning of "accent"
>>At 12/1/2006 04:04 PM, Dennis Preston wrote:
>>>"Accent" is usually the term among dialectologists reserved for the
>>>phonetic-phonological aspects of dialect or "dialect pronunciation."
>>>"Foreign accent" or the name of the L1 (e.g., "French accent")
>>>usually keeps this clear. I ain't real fond of it since 'accent' for
>>>stress is also around.
>>For someone else's understanding of what "accent"
>>means [copied from another list]:
>>[F]rom a book review in the SIAM Review, Vol 48,
>>Dec. 2006, pp. 794-795.
>>Postmodern Analysis. Third Edition.
>>By J¸rgen Jost. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 2005. $49.95.
>>xvi+371 pp., softcover, ISBN 3-540-25830-2.
>>>Jost outsourced the production of this book, and unfortunately the folks who
>>>converted his lecture notes into a finished product were not of his high
>>>caliber. The book was translated from German into English by someone whose
>>>native language is neither. The accented English
>>[This of course is where I balked.]
>>>is mostly understandable
>>>(evidently "we show the intermediate value theorem" on page 13 means "we
>>>prove the intermediate value theorem") but occasionally verges on
>>>unintelligible (as in "not for x = 0 only" on
>>>page 205). [Some comments on typography deleted here.]
>>>Alas, the once-proud publishing house of
>>>Springer-Verlag no longer copyedits advanced mathematics books; this one
>>>sorely needed the ministrations of an editor.
>>Yes indeed, and more than a copyeditor.
>>The American Dialect Society -
>Dennis R. Preston
>University Distinguished Professor
>Department of English
>15C Morrill Hall
>Michigan State University
>East Lansing, MI 48824
>preston at
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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