eye dialect



From eye + dialect. By analogy with eye rhyme. First used by George P. Krapp in The English Language in America (1925) in reference to written dialogue that uses nonstandard spelling but doesn't indicate an unusual pronunciation.


eye dialect (countable and uncountable, plural eye dialects)


women → wimmin
said → sed
listen → lissen
boys → boyz

  1. (uncountable) Nonstandard spellings which, although they indicate a standard pronunciation, are deliberately substituted for the standard spellings, often to indicate that a speaker's regular use of language is nonstandard or dialectal.
  2. (more broadly) Nonstandard spelling which indicates nonstandard pronunciation.
  3. (countable) A set of such nonstandard spellings, collectively used to reflect a certain form of speech.

Usage notesEdit

  • Whether a given nonstandard spelling is eye dialect in the stricter sense, depends on the standard pronunciation in the respective country or area. For example, the spelling fatha for father is eye dialect in comparison to a predominantly nonrhotic standard pronunciation (as in most of England), but it would more properly be considered dialect spelling or pronunciation spelling in comparison to a predominantly rhotic standard pronunciation (as in most of the US).


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