Difference Between Slang and Dialect

Slang vs Dialect

The system of communication among human beings in a society, both verbal and written, is referred to as a language. It is through language that communication is possible and human beings interact with each other in an easy and efficient manner. There are two related terms slang and dialect that often confuse people because of their similarities and overlap.


Dialect is a word that comes from the Greek Dialectos and refers to patterns of a language used by a particular community. A dialect is a part of a language as it is used in a particular geographical region. When it is a variety of a language as used by a particular class of people, it is often referred to as a sociolect. Whether used by a particular community or a particular region, a dialect remains a variety of a standard language. A dialect differs from a national language in terms of not only words but also grammar and pronunciation.


There are often words in a language that are considered inappropriate for use in written and spoken forms on formal occasions. However, these words get the acceptance of the people under some social settings. These are called slang words and lower the dignity of the speaker when used in a formal setting. Slang terms are used more by youngsters than old people. Slang is a euphemism for a colorful word that cannot be used in a formal setting. It is always used among peers in an informal setting. These words provide an alternative to speakers to deviate from standard forms of a language. There is a great variation among slang terms and different categories of people have their own slang words. It has been observed that slang terms originate in lower classes of people in a society and usually move upwards.

Slang terms do not have a long shelf life and they keep on changing with a change of generation.

Slang vs Dialect

• Slangs are words and phrases whereas dialect is a variety of a language.

• Slang terms are a colorful way of speaking that is not acceptable on formal occasions and among higher classes of a society.

• Slang words appear only in spoken language as they are considered inappropriate in written or print form.

• Slangs are used among peers and used more by youngsters than old people.

• Dialect is a way of speaking a language in a particular region or by a particular community in a country.

• Italian is the standard language in Italy while Sicilian and Tuscan are two of its dialects.

• Slang terms do not have a long shelf life and they keep on changing with a change of generation.