Why We Do It
- Dialects are a natural part of language and an important part of our humanity. They deserve our respect.
- Dialects are part of our culture and our identity.
- Dialects are a resource for language education, not a problem.
A dialect is a variety of language spoken by a group of people. Dialects are a vital part our great nation’s cultural heritage. Every speaker has a dialect.
Dialects are both the result and the beginning of language change—another natural process.
As part of being human, dialects are also part of our daily culture, as much as our music, our clothes, or our food. We form our identities through the ways we speak, and our dialect represents who we are. Criticizing someone’s dialect is, in effect, attacking who they are. Dialects are a resource for scientific research and language arts. Since we will always have dialects, we will always have a wonderful resource for teaching and learning. The WVDP hopes to educate people about what dialects really are and how they work, fostering pride for this important piece of West Virginia’s cultural heritage.