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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Theatre Research Resources: Accents & Dialects

A guide to help students researching topics in theatre.


Accent: An accent refers to a phonetic trait from a person's original language (L1) that is carried over a second language (L2).

Dialect: A dialect refers to sets of differences, wherever they may occur, that make one English speaker's speech different from one another's. 

-- from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Finding Books

Conducting a keyword search in the library catalog is always a great place to start. Use the filter to the right to limit your results to "Book." After finding a relevant book in the catalog, use the topics listed in the record to find related materials. Below are generic topics to help you browse the online catalog.

English language - Dialects.* English language - Pronunciation by foreign speakers.
English language - Phonology.* Acting. 
Phonetic alphabet.  Voice culture.

*other languages can be substituted, such as Italian, Spanish, etc.

Always take a look at the topics listed in the catalog record to get hints for searching for related materials!

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Finding Articles

Search the databases linked below for articles relating to accents and dialects. Try some of these keywords to get started:

Accents Language Syntax Voice culture
Accentuation Linguistics Voice Phonology
Dialects Speech Voice-overs Phonetics

Finding Plays

Looking for a play that features a specific dialect? Use Play Index (linked below) and type the dialect you're looking for in the search box, for example, "dialect Cockney" or "dialect Scottish." Then, search our library catalog for the Title of the play to see if we have it in our collection!

Audio Archives

Free Online Resources