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Teaching About Language Variation

There are two kinds of language variation: synchronic variation and diachronic variation. 
  • Synchronic variation is language variation at one point in time and is usually called dialect variation. The difference between British and American English is an example of synchronic variation. 
  • Diachronic variation is language variation between two points in time and is usually referred to as language change. The difference between old English and modern English is an example of diachronic variation.
Teaching about both kinds of language variation is part of our effort to improve education through providing an accurate understanding of how language works. The idea that variation and change are a natural part of language is important, and can help teachers and students alike to gain a new perception of the English language and all of its dialects. 

For more lesson plans, visit our  Dialects in Schools page. 

Dialects in the Classroom

Basic Definitions
Language Myths

Language Variation Lessons

Regular and Irregular Verbs  
Vowel Mergers
Multiple Negation
The Mine/My Split