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Dialect levelling is the means by which dialect differences decrease. For example, in rural areas of Britain, although English is widely spoken, the pronunciation and grammar have historically varied. During the 20th century people have been moving into towns and cities, standardizing the English language. Dialect levelling is occurring in some African languages as well.

Dialect Leveling in Britain

Originally, the majority of British people spoke what was considered a traditional rural dialect. Starting at the beginning of the 20th century the number of British people speaking the rural dialect fell to under half of the population. A slow process that happened over one or two generations; the rural dialect lost in favor to the dialect that was spoken in towns and cities, known as modern dialects.[1] What occurred as a result was a “leveling” of a decreased number of differences in the dialects of rural people, and those in a near by town or city. Still these differences can be large, and those who travel in Britain will learn that each town/city has their own dialect. These differences can even cause trouble for British people themselves when they travel within their own country. This is a continual process; the population that lives around London have experienced leveling to such a degree, that there is difficulty in discerning from where people come.[2]

See also


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