Center for Teaching and Learning

April 2, 2020

38 – The Teaching of Dialectal Variations in a Language Classroom


  • Antonio M. Rueda, Department of Spanish & Portuguese Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, UW Seattle
  • Jorge Gonzalez Casanova, Department of Spanish & Portuguese Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, UW Seattle
  • Inma Raneda, Department of Spanish & Portuguese Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, UW Seattle


This presentation is focused on the importance and recognition that the different dialectal varieties of a language deserve. We believe that teachers have the responsibility to instill respect in our undergraduate students towards dialectological variations. The poster will explore the differences between a language and a dialect, contrasts that can be found in nearly all world languages, and explain the socio-historical factors that intervene in this type of distinction. Tolerance towards all accents is a central issue in our society and this is directly related to variation in the use of language. Although our presentation will take the great dialectal regions of the Spanish language as an example, we aim to establish clear parallels with other languages, since different languages can still share a great deal of phonetic features and contrasts, as a way to show the need to become aware of dialectal variations that students of language, linguistics and other social sciences have.

The analysis of specific dialectal data in different geographical areas of the Hispanic world, and some of their correspondences with other languages, will be included in this poster since we consider this a necessary step to raise student awareness to the fact that the development of a dialect is not related to either an improvement or a worsening of any language. In relation to this, we have had the opportunity to implement several activities, such as using online corpora to analyze phonetic, lexical and grammatical peculiarities, in our classes that allow students to understand how language variation works and to discover the natural and inevitable reality of dialectal differences. The opportunity to compare dialects provides our students with a new perception of the society that surrounds them since they will spend their entire lives meeting people with different accents who use language in diverse ways.

Video presentation


Q & A: Poster session 2 (3:45 – 4:30 p.m.)