Types of variation 69
Speaking about the outer form of language we should distinguish between spoken and written language.
The written form of language is usually a generally accepted standard and is the same throughout the country. But there is an enormous amount of variation in how a language is pronounced, and we will look briefly at some of the types of variation.
Spoken language may vary from place to place. Such distinct forms of language are called dialects! The varieties of the language are conditioned by language communities ranging from small groups to nations. Speaking about the nations we refer to the national variants of the language. According to A.D. Schweitzer national language is a historical category evolving from conditions of economic and political concentration which characterizes the formation of nation. In the case of English there exists a great diversity in the realization of the language and particularly in terms of pronunciation. Though every national variant of English has considerable differences in pronunciation, vocabulary and grammar; they all have much in common which gives us ground to speak of one and the same language — the English language.
Every national variety of language falls into territorial or regional dialects. Dialects are distinguished from each other by differences in pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary. When we refer to varieties in pronunciation only, we use the term accent. So local accents may have many features of pronunciation in common and are grouped into territorial or area accents. For certain reasons one of the dialects becomes the standard language of the nation and its pronunciation or accent - the standard pronunciation.
The literary spoken form has its national pronunciation standard. A standard may be defined as "a socially accepted variety of language established by a codified norm of correctness" (K. Macanalay). Standard national pronunciation is sometimes called "an orthoepic norm''. Some phoneticians however prefer the term "literary pronunciation".