Dialect levelling

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Dialect levelling, or just 'levelling', occurs when speakers from disparate speech communities are suddenly thrown together resulting in the mixing of their dialects. This has happened for example in the new town Milton Keynes,[1] where people from various parts of the United Kingdom and elsewhere migrated to populate this rapidly expanding conurbation. With this population mixture came the mixture and 'levelling' of previously distinct local dialects to form a new dialect, specific to Milton Keynes.

Dialect levelling is "necessarily restricted to smaller geographical areas, such as new towns or compact regions".[2] and should be understood separately from regional dialect levelling, which affects dialects across much larger areas.


  1. Torgersen & Kerswill (2004)
  2. Torgersen & Kerswill, 2004: 26.


  • Torgersen E & P Kerswill (2004) 'Internal and external motivation in phonetic change: Dialect levelling outcomes for an English vowel shift'. Journal of Sociolinguistics 8(1): 23-53.

See also