The Word “Accent”

Accent Map - GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!


“There are many different accents throughout the country(This is true of every country)”

The word, “Accent” is used in a number of different ways in The English Language.  You can read all about those different ways on The Wiktionary Page about it.  But the only versions of this word that we are concerned with here — are those versions that directly relate to Language — and more specifically — to Pronunciation.

You will obtain all that you need to know about this word (as it relates to Language & Pronunciation) from reading this article.  However — it is often very interesting to see how the other meanings and usages of words are related — even if only Metaphorically.  So I suggest reading the Wiktionary Page linked above.  (It won’t hurt you, and it may actually “expand your mind”)  😉

The Meaning Of The Word “Accent”

The word “Accent” has different meanings, depending on what subject or “field of interest” it is being used in.  But an interesting thing to note is — in all the different meanings of the word — is it clear that:  (to) Accent (something) — [Verb Form] — means:

The word “Accent” has different meanings, depending on what subject or “field of interest” it is being used in.  But an interesting thing to note is — in all the different meanings of the word — is it clear that:  (to) Accent (something) — [Verb Form] — means:

“To put some directed ‘focus’ or ‘attention’ onto a thing — as separate and distinct from other things.”

“To put some directed ‘focus’ or ‘attention’ on a single part of a thing — to make that part distinct from the rest.”

Accent - GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!


When used properly — a little bit of make-up can accentuate a woman’s natural beauty.

And in the case that the word “Accent” is used as a Noun — then it is simply referring to whatever it is that is doing / causing / or, is a “result of” that focus.

In other words…  It is “the thing that is doing the accenting” — and thus, “causing the directed focus of attention” — (whether intentionally or not).

Floral Accents - GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!


The dress has bright floral accents that made it perfect for a Spring-time gathering.

The Usage Of The Word “Accent”

As for the Usage of the word “Accent” in The Grammar Of The Common Tongue — we only use the term “Accent” to refer ONE of the two common ways that it is used in-relation-to Language & Pronunciation in Traditional Grammar & Common Usage.  The first referring to:  A Regional and/or Cultural “Accent”;  The particular “style” of speech that a culture or people from a certain area pronounce words.

Regional Or Cultural Accent

Do You Understand Me - GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!


It is an interesting thing, that even when a person is speaking the same language — but using a different accent — that it is sometimes almost impossible to comprehend what they are saying.

This usage of the word “Accent” is the most commonly-used, and most widely-known usage of the word.  And it is also the most proper term when referring to language — specifically pronunciation.

  • If a Person’s Accent Is Difficult To Comprehend — We Say That They Have:  “A Thick Accent”

“People from Tennessee have a thick southern Accent.”

  • If A Person’s Accent Is Easy To Comprehend (even though we can still hear a unique difference) — Then We Say That They Have:  “A Slight Accent”.”

“People from southern Illinois have a slight southern accent.”

(we do not say that they have “A Thin Accent” — even though “Thin” is considered to be the opposite of “Thick”)

It is used to refer-to:  the unique way that certain people pronounce the words of a language.  It is also said that it is:  the rhythm & melody of speech that is unique to certain cultures and the people of certain regions.  Although I dis-agree, and think that this only serves to confuse the situation.

Accent, Rythm, & Melody — though being very closely related, and certainly working together — are all separate things which are distinct & unique.  This is a perfect example of people (even those who write the dictionaries) confusing one thing for another, simply because of their relationship or association.  In this example — most people who are not deeply educated or even just perceptive REFER TO Accent, Rythm, & Melody as simply “Accent”.  But this is NOT correct.

That would be like saying The Guitarist, The Drummer, and The Bassist of a band are all the same thing — simply because they work together to create their music.  They are clearly NOT the same thing.  Even though they all work together so intricately.  This can be clearly comprehended if you were to eliminate one of them in any piece of music.  It will clearly not sound the same.

So even though mistakes like these are VERY common — (and to use a colloquial phrase to illustrate my point)…  “Just because everybody’s doing it — that does not make it correct”.  And this is another of the main tenets of The Common Tongue…  To Eliminate The Common Mistakes Of English As It Has Been Traditionally TaughtSo-As To Improve ALL Communication, Wordl-Wide (and beyond).  And this, then, leads to the next & final point.

“Accent” vs “Word-Stress”

The second usage of the word “Accent” — which is common among people who are not deeply educated in the use of language is  — is what we will ONLY refer-to throughout the GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! universe as:  “Word-Stress”

Although it is very common for many people (my previously un-educated self included) to refer the “stress” in a word as the “Accent”…  “The accent is on the second syllable” — This is even how it was taught to me, both in my traditional schooling, and in my training to be an English teacher.

The reason that we do NOT do this in GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! is because we follow The Common Tongue Method.  And one of the main tenets of The Common Tongue is that:

If A Word, Term Or Phrase Can Be Confused By Ambiguous Meaning — Due To Improper Common Usage — Then We Use A More Proper Word, Term Or Phrase In Its Place — Which Is NOT Considered “Inter-Changeable”… (Or We Simply Do Not Use That Word, Term Or Phrase Any More.)

Therefore — even though I grew up using the word “Accent” to refer to which syllable of a word is being “stressed” — on GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!, we use the term “Word-Stress”.  And by now, it should be obvious that this is the more logical way.

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