One of the features in the new Library is the ability to search by regional accents. This does not yet work, but will within a few days.

Please give some thought to what the accent definitions should be. I would hope that both learners and native speakers or content creators all participate in the discussion. Distinctions that are important to a speaker of a language may be inconsequential to a learner.

Let us discuss some general principles here in English. I would also ask speakers of various languages to start similar threads on the Forums in their respective languages.

Please note that we are talking about regional accents, not regional languages or dialects, like Cantonese, or Swiss-German, which will be treated as separate languages, once we get around to adding more languages.

I think it would be extremely beneficial to learners, if implemented properly.

Perhaps we can show (in parentheses) where the speaker is from and maybe give a very brief description of the dialect. Curious learners will be able to do further research if so inclined.

For example, the speakers in “André and Anders” dialogs (in Swedish) have a distinct (southern Sweden, if I understand it correctly) accent.

English dialogs and podcasts, I presume, would have speakers of UK English, American English, Canadian English, Australian English, and New Zealand English (and, perhaps, South African English and other varieties). But accents vary greatly within these dialects, as well. I guess it’s enough to indicate the county and the city the speaker is from. Any further research should be on the part of the learner.

Generally, the more specific we get, the . . . more specific we get. For example, a speaker may be originally from Liverpool having moved to Seattle at the age of 21 and then moved to Quebec at the age of 40 and has been living there for 20 more years. What will his accent be? Will it stay non-rhotic, for instance? Too many nuances, in other words, which will definitely be confusing for beginner learners.

Accent definitions themselves are unnecessary for LingQ, I believe.

We are looking for criteria to search for in the Library here.

A provider can describe a person’s origin and accent in as much detail as he or she wants in the description of a content item. What I would like to arrive at here, is a list (short) of the accent sorts that we should have in each language library.

Sorry if I was not clear.

The country and the city should suffice, then. I.e. New Brunswick, Canada; Göteborg, Sverige; München, Deutschland, etc. Or they can be all in English (or whatever the UI language is set to).

I am thinking more on the lines of the following as a start. I am suggesting that this should be the list. It is just a suggestion for a start. I would like to hear from both learners and speakers what they consider to be useful for them.


Canadian, General US, Southern US, East Coast US, Caribbean, South African, Australian, New Zealand, BBC, Scottish, Irish, Liverpool, London,


Standard France, Southern France, Quebec, Belgian, Swiss, African


Standard Sweden, Southern Swedish, Dalarna


Country name is enough. We can hear the voice in preview window. If you like the voice, take it. And if you don’t like the voice, just close the preview window and try another one. That’s all.

Steve, that’s too specific and, by extension, not specific enough (Canadian English has many varieties; you left out Midwestern US English, etc.). Country-City should suffice, I think. People will google up the rest.

But I see you mentioned the BBC. That’s a neat idea. Perhaps we should clarify if the audio is from a public broadcast (for any dialect). TV and radio announcers are usually accent coached. Their pronunciation may be unique and not representative of any dialect in some countries.

I would like to see input from learners and speakers.

For me, having lived in Japan, I would be interested in Kanto, Kansai, Toohoku. This may not be of interest to others. In a way the fewer accent categories, the better since each search will give us more content items.

As for Canadian, I am quite sure that no geographical sub-divisions are needed, either for English or for French. For German, however, I think it may be of interest to identify regional accents within Germany, ditto for Italy…or should we just have one per country.

I would prefer that learners of a particular language and the speakers of that language discuss this among themselves and try to reach a consensus. There is not right or wrong answer.

This can also be discussed on the various language forums.

I think there is always the danger that as a native speaker or fluent speaker of a language you are much more familiar with different regional accents than a beginner or intermediate is likely to be. You are also much better at distinguishing different accents. There’s a danger that you create a bunch of regional accents that can get in the way of what the learners are really searching for. For instance, I can recognize the difference between French from France and Quebec French but I’m not familiar with different accents within France and probably if I was searching would just want to find all French from France under the France category. Rather than having to search through a variety of French “accents” to find what I’m looking for. In many ways, broader categories are better.

I second Mark. Hence my Country-City suggestion.
For me, as for a learner of Swedish, for example, that would be all the regional information I needed.

I think city (and country when that applies) is enough.

Astamoore is right about André and Anders speaking southern Swedish, although I couldn’t spot the accent right away. I’ve heard people from midsouthwestern Småland, various cities in Skåne (and to some extent Blekinge and southern Halland) speak like that (which basically tells that the “pure” accents are disappearing, and instead absorb features from all kinds of places). According to one of the podcasts, they both come from Älmhult (in Småland).

Having too many preset accent options will only confuse learners, and fewer are probably better (for Swedish there are about seven-eight major dialect regions).

I do not see how the city thing would work.

We want each search to find as many items as possible with a common or more or less common accent. In that sense Southern Sweden or Smaland is better than identifying each accent by a city. The city information can go in the description of the content.

I wonder if we are not best to decide how many separate accent groups we want, for Swedish, for example, or for other languages, and then deciding what to call them.

At any rate there is no rush. We will have a better sense once the Library is working better and we can see how this accent search might work.

I don’t hear the difference in sounds between Canadian English and US English. I know their spellings and choices of words differ a bit.
So I don’t want to subtract Canadian English lessons when I am searching lessons filtering under US English.
If we divide accents in small pieces, it is better to have tickboxes rather than a drop down list.

In fact Emma, Canadian really should be grouped with General American. But let’s keep the discussion going.

See Wikipedia (General American English - Wikipedia)

General American is an accent of American English. Within American English, General American and accents approximating it are contrasted with Southern American English, several Northeastern accents, and other distinct regional accents and social group accents like African American Vernacular English.

General American is also the accent generally taught to people learning English as a second language in the United States, as well as outside the country to anyone who wishes to learn “American English.” In much of Asia, for example, ESL teachers are strongly encouraged to teach American English, no matter their own origins or accents.

Even though I’m not studying it, I would like to see Finnish Swedish up there. Swedish is an official language of Finland and is spoken by a few hundred thousand native speakers there.

I see what you’re driving at, Steve. I find it difficult to implement in any meaningful way. We’ll need an expert opinion for every language featured on LingQ. I see your point about the city being of little help (because you need to know how it relates to a dialect map). At the same time, you need to have some basic information about the dialects of a particular language to begin with.

The problem is, there are no (or very little) common criteria for dialects that would cover all languages. Geography doesn’t always help. In other words, you need to know what to look for.

Here’s an example for you: How would you form a search query for Russian?

I’m asking, because if I wanted to look for, say, Japanese dialects, I’d have no idea where to begin. But if I started listening to an audio accompanying a lesson, I’d very much like to know where the speaker was from. This would give me enough information to do an independent research on the Web.

We are not looking for science here, just a few dialects per language. We need to hear what people want. Maybe the views of the learners are more important than the views of the native speakers.

For me, as a learner, here is what I would want.


I have not a clue




Latin America general


Standard German


Standard Northern


Standard French






South (Napoli, Campobasso etc)

These are just my ideas…we need to hear from more people

I think the more simple it is the better, because when you are naming countries, you always leave out somebody. General regions are fine. For example, although I am very aware that the Argentinian accent is very different from the Venezuelan, they can both be put into the Latin American category, leaving Spain in it’s own category. Canadians and Americans speak similarly enough that they can be North American, leaving only a Great Britain, Australian, and “other” category. I suggest that you try to the broadest category that speakers of the language concerned can identify with. It makes it easier to build the categories and less hassle to search through and won’t leave people out-like Caribbean folk. (We can easily identify ourselves as North American.) Then, in descriptions and what-not, people can name their city/region in particular. Plus with the new “preview” the consumer can identify whether or not it’s the accent they were looking for or if another suits them better. It’s just like someone pointed out before-my accent is influenced by where I’ve lived and how long I’ve lived there, so my way of speaking won’t be the same as all other Bahamians. Neither will Bahamians speak in the same manner as Jamaicans. You won’t ever be able to make it that specific and still functional because you have to consider that the site will continue to expand and people will join from somewhere you didn’t think to include with a nitpicky list. I don’t know much about the Chinese, but maybe with the Mandarin Chinese, you could simplify it as mainland and taiwanese. Anyways, that’s my two cents.

I think people are getting to wild wanting it by city… I can tell the difference between a person from San Francisco and Los Angeles and those shouldn’t be separate. The accent is to help with searching… being more specific on the accent can be done in the description if it needs to be…

Also General American English should just be changed to General North American English. I can tell the difference between a Canadian and an neutral accented American but even for me it’s very very slight… (say if I compare Mark’s voice to one of my friends).