Dialect: The language used by the people of a specific area, class, district or any other group of people.

Dialect involves

  • spelling
  • sounds
  • grammar
  • pronunciation

In literature, certain words and phrases are used for characterization, giving us a better image of different characters.

Just by reading the way someone speaks, we can automatically make inferences about the background of a character, such as where they're from as well as their mannerisms. It can be used to illustrate a certain character or identify a certain work as something from a specific culture.


  • Dialect used to show lack of education -
  1. Walter: Reckon I have. Almost died first year I come to school and et them pecans — folks say he pizened ‘em and put ‘em over on the school side of the fence. (To Kill a Mockingbird)
  2. Lula: I wants to know why you bringing’ white chillun to nigger church. (To Kill a Mockingbird)

  • Dialect used to distinguish between characters speaking -
  1. Jim: “We’s safe, Huck, we’s safe! Jump up and crack yo’ heels. Dat’s de good ole Cairo at las’, I jis knows it.”
  2. Huck: “I’ll take the canoe and go see, Jim. It mightn’t be, you know.”
    (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)

  • Dialect used to show accents
  1. Ye loit’ring minutes faster flee,
    Y’ are all ower slow by hauf for me,
    That wait impatient for the mornin’; (Yorkshire dialect, Thomas Browne)
  2. “I am just serving a customer. – Indeed, hinny, it will no be a boodle cheaper than I tell ye”. (Scottish dialect, Sir Walter Scott)
Disney Dialects

Your turn! Can you find your own example of dialect used to create a character?