You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

English Language   >   Spoken Language and Identity

What is Language Variation?

  • About
  • Transcript
  • Cite

Spoken Language and Identity

In this course, Dr Rob Drummond (Manchester Metropolitan University) explores the relationship between spoken language and identity – how we speak and who we are. In the first module, we think about language variation itself, focusing in particular on the difference between accent and dialect, the different levels at which dialects can be different, and the fact that everybody has an accent. In the second module, we explore the history of the English language to consider why it is that there are so many regional accents in Britain today, before turning in the third module to explore some of the social factors that contribute to differences in spoken language. In the fourth module, we think about the concept of indexicality, the means by which certain features of spoken language acquire social meaning, before turning in the fifth module to consider style switching, i.e. changing the way we speak to suit the context.

What is Language Variation?

In this module, we explore language variation, focusing in particular on: (i) the variation in language between different groups, between different individuals, and by the same individual in different contexts; (ii) the difference between accent and dialect; (iii) the levels of variation in dialect: syntax, lexis and phonology; (iv) the particular sounds that tend to change between different accents; and – most importantly – (v) the fact that everybody has an accent.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Drummond, R. (2022, April 11). Spoken Language and Identity - What is Language Variation? [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Drummond, R. "Spoken Language and Identity – What is Language Variation?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 11 Apr 2022,


Dr Rob Drummond

Dr Rob Drummond

Manchester Metropolitan University