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The term dialect (from
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
, , from the
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
word , 'discourse', from , 'through' and , 'I speak') can refer to either of two distinctly different types of
linguistic Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing ...

linguistic
phenomena: * One usage refers to a
variety Variety may refer to: Science and technology Mathematics * Algebraic variety, the set of solutions of a system of polynomial equations * Variety (universal algebra), classes of algebraic structures defined by equations in universal algebra Hort ...
of a
language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the ...

language
that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers. Under this definition, the dialects or varieties of a particular language are closely related and, despite their differences, are most often largely
mutually intelligible In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include p ...
, especially if close to one another on the
dialect continuum A dialect continuum or dialect chain is a series of language varieties spoken across some geographical area such that neighboring varieties are mutually intelligible In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of languag ...
. The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors, such as
social class A social class is a set of concepts in the social sciences Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those soc ...
or
ethnicity An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups. Those attributes can include common sets of traditions, ancest ...

ethnicity
. A dialect that is associated with a particular
social class A social class is a set of concepts in the social sciences Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those soc ...
can be termed a
sociolect In sociolinguistics, a sociolect is a variety (linguistics), form of language (nonstandard dialect, non-standard dialect, restricted register (sociolinguistics), register) or a set of lexicon, lexical items used by a socioeconomic class, a professi ...
, a dialect that is associated with a particular
ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousn ...
can be termed an
ethnolect An ethnolect is generally defined as a language variety In sociolinguistics, a variety, also called an isolect or lect, is a specific form of a language or language cluster. This may include language A language is a structured system of co ...
, and a geographical/regional dialect may be termed a regiolectWolfram, Walt and Schilling, Natalie. 2016. ''American English: Dialects and Variation.'' West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons, p. 184. (alternative terms include 'regionalect', 'geolect', and 'topolect'). According to this definition, any variety of a given language can be classified as "a dialect", including any standardized varieties. In this case, the distinction between the "standard language" (i.e. the "standard" dialect of a particular language) and the " nonstandard" (vernacular) dialects of the same language is often
arbitrary Arbitrariness is the quality of being "determined by chance, whim, or impulse, and not by necessity, reason, or principle". It is also used to refer to a choice made without any specific criterion or restraint. Arbitrary decisions are not necessar ...
and based on social, political, cultural, or historical considerations or prevalence and prominence. In a similar way, the definitions of the terms "language" and "dialect" may overlap and are often subject to debate, with the differentiation between the two classifications often grounded in arbitrary or sociopolitical motives. The term "dialect" is however sometimes restricted to mean "non-standard variety", particularly in non-specialist settings and non-English linguistic traditions. * The other usage of the term "dialect", specific to
colloquial Colloquialism or colloquial language is the style (sociolinguistics), linguistic style used for casual (informal) communication. It is the most common functional style of speech, the idiom normally employed in conversation and other informal conte ...
settings in a few countries like
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...

Italy
«The often used term "Italian dialects" may create the false impression that the dialects are varieties of the standard Italian language.» Martin Maiden, M. Mair Parry (1997), The Dialects of Italy, Psychology Press, p.2 (see '' dialetto''«Parlata propria di un ambiente geografico e culturale ristretto (come la regione, la provincia, la città o anche il paese): contrapposta a un sistema linguistico affine per origine e sviluppo, ma che, per diverse ragioni (politiche, letterarie, geografiche, ecc.), si è imposto come lingua letteraria e ufficiale». Battaglia, Salvatore (1961). ''Grande dizionario della lingua italiana'', UTET, Torino, V. IV, pp.321-322),
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
(see ''
patois ''Patois'' (, pl. same or ) is speech or language that is considered nonstandard, although the term is not formally defined in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect ...
'') and the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
, carries a
pejorative A pejorative or slur is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning ...
undertone and underlines the politically and socially subordinated status of a non-national language to the country's single official language. In other words, these "dialects" are not actual dialects in the same sense as in the first usage, as they do not derive from the politically dominant language and are therefore not one of its
varieties Variety may refer to: Science and technology Mathematics * Algebraic variety, the set of solutions of a system of polynomial equations * Variety (universal algebra), classes of algebraic structures defined by equations in universal algebra Hort ...
, but they evolved in a separate and parallel way and may thus better fit various parties’ criteria for a separate language. These "dialects" may be historically
cognate In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Itali ...
and share genetic roots in the same
subfamily In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circumscribing) and classifying groups of biological organisms based on shared characteristics. Organisms are grou ...
as the dominant national language and may even, to a varying degree, share some
mutual intelligibility In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic b ...
with the latter. In this sense, unlike in the first usage, the national language would not itself be considered a "dialect", as it is the dominant language in a particular state, be it in terms of linguistic prestige, social or political (e.g.
official An official is someone who holds an office (function or Mandate (politics), mandate, regardless whether it carries an actual Office, working space with it) in an organization or government and participates in the exercise of authority, (either th ...

official
) status, predominance or prevalence, or all of the above. The term "dialect" used this way implies a political connotation, being mostly used to refer to low-prestige languages (regardless of their actual degree of distance from the national language), languages lacking institutional support, or those perceived as "unsuitable for writing". The designation "dialect" is also used popularly to refer to the unwritten or non-codified languages of developing countries or isolated areas, where the term "
vernacular language A vernacular or vernacular language refers to the language or dialect that is spoken by people that are inhabiting a particular country or region. The vernacular is typically the native language, normally Spoken language, spoken informally rath ...
" would be preferred by linguists. Features that distinguish dialects from each other can be found in
lexicon A lexicon is the vocabulary A vocabulary is a set of familiar words In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, pra ...

lexicon
(
vocabulary A vocabulary is a set of familiar words In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed la ...
) and
grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the ...
, as well as in pronunciation (
phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of lan ...

phonology
, including
prosody Prosody may refer to: * Sanskrit prosody, Prosody (Sanskrit), the study of poetic meters and verse in Sanskrit and one of the six Vedangas, or limbs of Vedic studies * Prosody (Greek), the theory and practice of Greek versification * Prosody (Lati ...
). Where the salient distinctions are only or mostly to be observed in pronunciation, the more specific term ''
accentAccent may refer to: Speech and language * Accent (sociolinguistics), way of pronunciation particular to a speaker or group of speakers * Accent (phonetics), prominence given to a particular syllable in a word, or a word in a phrase ** Pitch accen ...
'' may be used instead of ''dialect''. Differences that are largely concentrated in lexicon may be creoles in their own right. When lexical differences are mostly concentrated in the specialized vocabulary of a profession or other organization, they are
jargon Jargon is the specialized terminology associated with a particular field or area of activity. Jargon is normally employed in a particular Context (language use), communicative context and may not be well understood outside that context. The conte ...
s; differences in vocabulary that are deliberately cultivated to exclude outsiders or to serve as
shibboleth A shibboleth () is any custom or tradition, usually a choice of phrasing or even a single word, that distinguishes one group of people from another. Shibboleths have been used throughout history in many societies as password A password, somet ...
s are known as cryptolects (or "cant") and include
slang Slang is vocabulary (words, phrases, and usage (language), linguistic usages) of an informal register, common in spoken conversation but avoided in formal writing. It also sometimes refers to the language generally exclusive to the members of p ...
s and argots. The particular speech patterns used by an individual are referred to as that person's
idiolect Idiolect is an individual's unique use of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-Eu ...
. To classify subsets of language as dialects, linguists take into account
linguistic distance Linguistic distance is how different one language or dialect is from another. Although they lack a uniform approach to quantifying linguistic distance between languages, practitioners of linguistics use the concept in a variety of linguistic situ ...
. The dialects of a language with a
writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communic ...
will operate at different degrees of distance from the standardized written form. Some dialects of a language are not mutually intelligible in spoken form, leading to debate as to whether they are regiolects or separate languages.


Standard and nonstandard dialects

A ''
standard dialect A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety In sociolinguistics Sociolinguistics is the descriptive study of the effect of any and all aspects of society, including cultural Norm (sociology ...
'' also known as a "standardized language" is supported by institutions. Such institutional support may include any or all of the following: government recognition or designation; formal presentation in schooling as the "correct" form of a language; informal monitoring of everyday
usage The usage of a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing system composed of glyphs to in ...
; published grammars, dictionaries, and textbooks that set forth a normative spoken and written form; and an extensive formal literature (be it prose, poetry, non-fiction, etc.) that uses it. An example of a standardized language is the
French language French ( or ) is a Romance language The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin Vulgar Latin, also known as Popular or Colloquial Latin is a range of inf ...

French language
which is supported by the
Académie Française An academy (Attic Greek: Ἀκαδήμεια; Koine Greek Ἀκαδημία) is an institution of secondary education, secondary or tertiary education, tertiary higher education, higher learning, research, or honorary membership. Academia is the w ...
institution. A
nonstandard dialect A nonstandard dialect or vernacular dialect is a dialect The term dialect (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the ...
has a complete grammar and vocabulary, but is usually not the beneficiary of institutional support.


Dialect as linguistic variety of a language

The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors, such as
social class A social class is a set of concepts in the social sciences Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those soc ...
or
ethnicity An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups. Those attributes can include common sets of traditions, ancest ...

ethnicity
. A dialect that is associated with a particular
social class A social class is a set of concepts in the social sciences Social science is the Branches of science, branch of science devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those soc ...
can be termed a
sociolect In sociolinguistics, a sociolect is a variety (linguistics), form of language (nonstandard dialect, non-standard dialect, restricted register (sociolinguistics), register) or a set of lexicon, lexical items used by a socioeconomic class, a professi ...
. A dialect that is associated with a particular
ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousn ...
can be termed an
ethnolect An ethnolect is generally defined as a language variety In sociolinguistics, a variety, also called an isolect or lect, is a specific form of a language or language cluster. This may include language A language is a structured system of co ...
. A geographical/regional dialect may be termed a regiolect (alternative terms include 'regionalect', 'geolect', and 'topolect'). According to this definition, any variety of a given language can be classified as "a dialect", including any standardized varieties. In this case, the distinction between the "standard language" (i.e. the "standard" dialect of a particular language) and the " nonstandard" (vernacular) dialects of the same language is often
arbitrary Arbitrariness is the quality of being "determined by chance, whim, or impulse, and not by necessity, reason, or principle". It is also used to refer to a choice made without any specific criterion or restraint. Arbitrary decisions are not necessar ...
and based on social, political, cultural, or historical considerations or prevalence and prominence. In a similar way, the definitions of the terms "language" and "dialect" may overlap and are often subject to debate, with the differentiation between the two classifications often grounded in arbitrary or sociopolitical motives. The term "dialect" is however sometimes restricted to mean "non-standard variety", particularly in non-specialist settings and non-English linguistic traditions.


Dialect or language

There is no universally accepted criterion for distinguishing two different languages from two dialects (i.e. varieties) of the same language. A number of rough measures exist, sometimes leading to contradictory results. The distinction (dichotomy) between dialect and language is therefore subjective (arbitrary) and depends upon the user's preferred frame of reference. For example, there has been discussion about whether or not the Limón Creole English should be considered "a kind" of English or a different language. This creole is spoken in the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica (Central America) by descendants of Jamaican people. The position that Costa Rican linguists support depends upon which university they represent. Another example is Scanian, which even, for a time, had its own ISO code.


Linguistic distance

An important criterion for categorizing varieties of language is
linguistic distance Linguistic distance is how different one language or dialect is from another. Although they lack a uniform approach to quantifying linguistic distance between languages, practitioners of linguistics use the concept in a variety of linguistic situ ...
, for a variety to be considered a dialect, the linguistic distance between the two varieties must be low. Linguistic distance between spoken or written forms of language increases as the differences between the forms are characterized. For example, two languages with completely different syntactical structures would have a high linguistic distance, while a language with very few differences from another may be considered a dialect or a sibling of that language. Linguistic distance may be used to determine
language families A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European ...
and language siblings. For example, languages with little linguistic distance, like
Dutch Dutch commonly refers to: * Something of, from, or related to the Netherlands * Dutch people () * Dutch language () *Dutch language , spoken in Belgium (also referred as ''flemish'') Dutch may also refer to:" Castle * Dutch Castle Places * ...
and
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
, are considered siblings. Dutch and German are siblings in the West-Germanic language group. Some language siblings are closer to each other in terms of linguistic distance than to other linguistic siblings. French and Spanish, siblings in the Romance Branch of the Indo-European group, are closer to each other than they are to any of the languages of the West-Germanic group. When languages are close in terms of linguistic distance, they resemble one another, hence why dialects are not considered linguistically distant to their parent language.


Mutual intelligibility

One criterion, which is often considered to be purely linguistic, is that of
mutual intelligibility In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic b ...
: two varieties are said to be dialects of the same language if being a speaker of one variety confers sufficient knowledge to understand and be understood by a speaker of the other; otherwise, they are said to be different languages. However, this definition has often been criticized, especially in the case of a
dialect continuum A dialect continuum or dialect chain is a series of language varieties spoken across some geographical area such that neighboring varieties are mutually intelligible In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of languag ...
(or dialect chain), which contains a sequence of varieties, each mutually intelligible with the next, but where widely separated varieties may not be mutually intelligible. Others have argued that the mutual intelligibility criterion suffers from a series of problems, citing the fact that mutual intelligibility occurs in varying degrees, and the potential difficulty in distinguishing between intelligibility and prior familiarity with the other variety. However, recent research suggests that these objections do not stand up to scrutiny, and that there is some empirical evidence in favor of using some form of the intelligibility criterion to distinguish between languages and dialects, though mutuality may not be as relevant as initially thought. The requirement for mutuality is abandoned by the ''Language Survey Reference Guide'' of
SIL International SIL International (formerly known as the Summer Institute of Linguistics) is a evangelical Christian Evangelicalism (), evangelical Christianity, or evangelical Protestantism, is a worldwide trans-denominational movement within Protestan ...
, publishers of the ''
Ethnologue ''Ethnologue: Languages of the World'' (stylized as Ethnoloɠue) is an annual reference publication in print and online that provides statistics and other information on the living language A language is a structured system of communicat ...
'' and the
registration authority Registration authorities exist for many standards organizations, such as ANNA (Association of National Numbering Agencies for ISIN Isin (, modern Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st to 4th c ...
for the
ISO 639-3 ISO 639-3:2007, ''Codes for the representation of names of languages – Part 3: Alpha-3 code for comprehensive coverage of languages'', is an international standard for language code A language is a structured system of communication us ...
standard for
language code A language code is a code In communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from ...
s. They define a ''dialect cluster'' as a central variety together with all those varieties whose speakers understand the central variety at a specified threshold level or higher. If the threshold level is high, usually between 70% and 85%, the cluster is designated as a ''language''.


Sociolinguistic definitions

Another occasionally used criterion for discriminating dialects from languages is the
sociolinguistic Sociolinguistics is the descriptive study of the effect of any and all aspects of society A society is a group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure, and nominal number, ...
notion of linguistic authority. According to this definition, two varieties are considered dialects of the same language if (under at least some circumstances) they would defer to the same authority regarding some questions about their language. For instance, to learn the name of a new invention, or an obscure foreign species of plant, speakers of
Westphalian Westphalian may refer to: * The culture or people of the Westphalia region of Germany * Westphalian language, one of the major dialect groups of West Low German * Westphalian sovereignty, a concept in international relations * Westphalian (stage), ...
and
East Franconian German East Franconian (german: Ostfränkisch), usually referred to as Franconian (') in German, is a dialect which is spoken in Franconia, the northern part of the federal state of Bavaria Bavaria (; German language, German and Bavarian language, Ba ...
might each consult a German dictionary or ask a German-speaking expert in the subject. Thus these varieties are said to be dependent on, or heteronomous with respect to,
Standard German Standard High German (SHG), less precisely Standard German or High German (not to be confused with High German The High German dialects (german: hochdeutsche Mundarten), or simply High German (; not to be confused with Standard High German ...
, which is said to be autonomous. In contrast, speakers in the Netherlands of
Low Saxon Low Saxon or Lower Saxon may refer to: Geography *Lower Saxony Lower Saxony (german: Niedersachsen ; nds, Neddersassen; stq, Läichsaksen) is a German state (''Land'') situated in Northern Germany, northwestern Germany. It is the second-large ...
varieties similar to Westphalian would instead consult a dictionary of
Standard Dutch Dutch is a West Germanic language spoken by about 24 million people as a first language and 5 million people as a second language, constituting the majority of people in the Netherlands The Netherlands ( nl, Nederland ), informally referre ...
. Similarly, although Yiddish is classified by linguists as a language in the
Middle High German Middle High German (MHG; german: Mittelhochdeutsch (Mhd.)) is the term for the form of German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * ...
group of languages and has some degree of mutual intelligibility with German, a Yiddish speaker would consult a Yiddish dictionary rather than a German dictionary in such a case. Within this framework, W. A. Stewart defined a ''language'' as an autonomous variety together with all the varieties that are heteronomous with respect to it, noting that an essentially equivalent definition had been stated by Charles A. Ferguson and John J. Gumperz in 1960. p. 535. A heteronomous variety may be considered a ''dialect'' of a language defined in this way. In these terms,
Danish Danish may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Denmark * A national or citizen of Denmark, also called a "Dane", see Demographics of Denmark * Danish people or Danes, people with a Danish ancestral or ethnic identity * Danis ...
and
Norwegian Norwegian, Norwayan, or Norsk may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Norway, a country in northwestern Europe *Norwegians, both a nation and an ethnic group native to Norway *Demographics of Norway *The Norwegian language, including the t ...
, though mutually intelligible to a large degree, are considered separate languages. In the framework of
Heinz Kloss Heinz Kloss (30 October 1904, in Halle, Saxony-Anhalt Halle (Saale), or simply Halle (; from the 15th to the 17th century: ''Hall in Sachsen''; until the beginning of the 20th century: ''Halle an der Saale'' ; from 1965 to 1995: ''Halle/Saale'') ...
, these are described as languages by ''
ausbau In sociolinguistics Sociolinguistics is the descriptive study of the effect of any and all aspects of society A society is a group A group is a number A number is a mathematical object used to counting, count, measurement, measure ...
'' (development) rather than by ''abstand'' (separation). In other situations, a closely related group of varieties possess considerable (though incomplete) mutual intelligibility, but none dominates the others. To describe this situation, the editors of the ''Handbook of African Languages'' introduced the term ''dialect cluster'' as a classificatory unit at the same level as a language. A similar situation, but with a greater degree of mutual unintelligibility, has been termed a ''language cluster''.


Political factors

In many societies, however, a particular dialect, often the sociolect of the
elite In Political philosophy, political and sociology, sociological theory, the elite (French ''élite'', from Latin ''eligere'', to select or to sort out) are a small group of powerful people who hold a economic inequality, disproportionate amount o ...

elite
class, comes to be identified as the "standard" or "proper" version of a language by those seeking to make a social distinction and is contrasted with other varieties. As a result of this, in some contexts, the term "dialect" refers specifically to varieties with low
social status Social status is the level of social value a person is considered to hold. More specifically, it refers to the relative level of respect, honour Honour (British English British English (BrE) is the standard dialect of the English langu ...
. In this secondary sense of "dialect", language varieties are often called ''dialects'' rather than ''languages'': * if they have no
standard Standard may refer to: Flags * Colours, standards and guidons * Standard (flag), a type of flag used for personal identification Norm, convention or requirement * Standard (metrology), an object that bears a defined relationship to a unit of ...
or codified form, * if they are rarely or never used in writing (outside reported speech), * if the speakers of the given language do not have a
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
of their own, * if they lack
prestige Prestige refers to a good reputation or high esteem; in earlier usage, ''prestige'' meant "showiness". (19th c.) Prestige may also refer to: Arts, entertainment and media Films *Prestige (film), ''Prestige'' (film), a 1932 American film directed ...
with respect to some other, often standardised, variety. The status of "language" is not solely determined by linguistic criteria, but it is also the result of a historical and political development. Romansh came to be a written language, and therefore it is recognized as a language, even though it is very close to the Lombardic alpine dialects and classical Latin. An opposite example is
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a populat ...
, whose variations such as
Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extension, any senior government bureaucrat A bureaucrat is a member of a bureaucracy and can compose the administration o ...
and
Cantonese Cantonese ( zh, t=廣東話, s=广东话, first=t; Yale Yale University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, Brit ...
are often called dialects and not languages in China, despite their mutual unintelligibility. National boundaries sometimes make the distinction between "language" and "dialect" an issue of political importance. A group speaking a separate "language" may be seen as having a greater claim to being a separate "people", and thus to be more deserving of its own independent state, while a group speaking a "dialect" may be seen as a sub-group, part of a bigger people, which must content itself with regional autonomy. The
Yiddish Yiddish (, or , ''yidish'' or ''idish'', , ; , ''Yidish-Taytsh'', ) is a West Germanic The West Germanic languages constitute the largest of the three branches of the Germanic languages, Germanic family of languages (the others being the ...
linguist
Max Weinreich Max Weinreich (russian: Мейер Лазаревич Вайнрайх, ''Meyer Lazarevich Vaynraykh''; 22 April 1894 – 29 January 1969) was a Russian Jewish The history of the Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pr ...
published the expression, ''A shprakh iz a dialekt mit an armey un flot'' (: " A language is a dialect with an army and navy") in ''YIVO Bleter'' 25.1, 1945, p. 13. The significance of the political factors in any attempt at answering the question "what is a language?" is great enough to cast doubt on whether any strictly linguistic definition, without a socio-cultural approach, is possible. This is illustrated by the frequency with which the army-navy aphorism is cited.


Terminology

By the definition most commonly used by linguists, any linguistic variety can be considered a "dialect" of ''some'' language—"everybody speaks a dialect". According to that interpretation, the criteria above merely serve to distinguish whether two varieties are dialects of the ''same'' language or dialects of ''different'' languages. The terms "language" and "dialect" are not necessarily mutually exclusive, although they are often perceived to be. Thus there is nothing contradictory in the statement "the ''language'' of the
Pennsylvania Dutch The Pennsylvania Dutch (), translated from German to English as Pennsylvania Germans, are a cultural group formed by German immigrants settling in the state of Pennsylvania Pennsylvania ( , elsewhere ; pdc, Pennsilfaani), officially t ...
is a dialect of
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...
". There are various terms that linguists may use to avoid taking a position on whether the speech of a community is an independent language in its own right or a dialect of another language. Perhaps the most common is "
variety Variety may refer to: Science and technology Mathematics * Algebraic variety, the set of solutions of a system of polynomial equations * Variety (universal algebra), classes of algebraic structures defined by equations in universal algebra Hort ...
"; "
lect In sociolinguistics Sociolinguistics is the descriptive study of the effect of any and all aspects of society, including cultural Norm (sociology), norms, expectations, and context, on the way language is used, and society's effect on language. ...
" is another. A more general term is "languoid", which does not distinguish between dialects, languages, and groups of languages, whether genealogically related or not.


Colloquial meaning of dialect

The colloquial meaning of dialect can be understood by example, e.g. in
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...

Italy
(see '' dialetto''),
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
(see ''
patois ''Patois'' (, pl. same or ) is speech or language that is considered nonstandard, although the term is not formally defined in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect ...
'') and the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
, carries a
pejorative A pejorative or slur is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning ...
undertone and underlines the politically and socially subordinated status of a non-national language to the country's single official language. In other words, these "dialects" are not actual dialects in the same sense as in the first usage, as they do not derive from the politically dominant language and are therefore not one of its
varieties Variety may refer to: Science and technology Mathematics * Algebraic variety, the set of solutions of a system of polynomial equations * Variety (universal algebra), classes of algebraic structures defined by equations in universal algebra Hort ...
, but instead they evolved in a separate and parallel way and may thus better fit various parties’ criteria for a separate language. Despite this, these "dialects" may often be historically
cognate In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Itali ...
and share genetic roots in the same
subfamily In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circumscribing) and classifying groups of biological organisms based on shared characteristics. Organisms are grou ...
as the dominant national language and may even, to a varying degree, share some
mutual intelligibility In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic b ...
with the latter. In this sense, unlike in the first usage, the national language would not itself be considered a "dialect", as it is the dominant language in a particular state, be it in terms of linguistic prestige, social or political (e.g.
official An official is someone who holds an office (function or Mandate (politics), mandate, regardless whether it carries an actual Office, working space with it) in an organization or government and participates in the exercise of authority, (either th ...

official
) status, predominance or prevalence, or all of the above. The term "dialect" used this way implies a political connotation, being mostly used to refer to low-prestige languages (regardless of their actual degree of distance from the national language), languages lacking institutional support, or those perceived as "unsuitable for writing". The designation "dialect" is also used popularly to refer to the unwritten or non-codified languages of developing countries or isolated areas, where the term "
vernacular language A vernacular or vernacular language refers to the language or dialect that is spoken by people that are inhabiting a particular country or region. The vernacular is typically the native language, normally Spoken language, spoken informally rath ...
" would be preferred by linguists.


Dialect and accent

John Lyons writes that "Many linguists ..subsume differences of accent under differences of dialect." In general, ''
accentAccent may refer to: Speech and language * Accent (sociolinguistics), way of pronunciation particular to a speaker or group of speakers * Accent (phonetics), prominence given to a particular syllable in a word, or a word in a phrase ** Pitch accen ...
'' refers to variations in pronunciation, while ''dialect'' also encompasses specific variations in
grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the ...
and
vocabulary A vocabulary is a set of familiar words In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed la ...
.


Examples


Arabic

There are three geographical zones in which Arabic is spoken (Jastrow 2002). Zone I is categorized as the area in which Arabic was spoken before the rise of Islam. It is the Arabian Peninsula, excluding the areas where southern Arabian was spoken. Zone II is categorized as the areas to which Arabic speaking peoples moved as a result of the conquests of Islam. Included in Zone II are the
Levant The Levant () is an term referring to a large area in the region of . In its narrowest sense, it is equivalent to the , which included present-day , , , , and most of southwest of the middle . In its widest historical sense, the Levant ...

Levant
,
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
,
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
,
Iraq Iraq ( ar, الْعِرَاق, translit=al-ʿIrāq; ku, عێراق, translit=Êraq), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق, translit=Komarî Êraq), is a country i ...

Iraq
, and some parts of
Iran Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, West Asia, or Southwest Asia, is the westernmost subregion A subregion is a part of a larger regio ...

Iran
. The Egyptian, Sudanese, and Levantine dialects (including the Syrian dialect) are well documented, and widely spoken and studied. Zone III comprises the areas in which Arabic is spoken outside of the continuous Arabic Language area. Spoken dialects of the
Arabic Language Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a that first emerged in the 1st to 4th centuries CE.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoffrey Khan, Michael P. Streck, Janet C. E.Watson; Walter de G ...

Arabic Language
share the same writing system. However, some are
mutually unintelligible In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic b ...
from each other. This leads to debate among scholars of the status of Arabic dialects as their own regionalects or possibly separate languages.


German

When talking about the German language, the term
German dialects German dialects are the various traditional local varieties of the German language. Though varied by region, those of the southern half of Germany beneath the Benrath line In German linguistics, the Benrath line (German: ''Benrather Linie'') ...
is only used for the traditional regional varieties. That allows them to be distinguished from the regional varieties of modern standard German. The German dialects show a wide spectrum of variation. Some of them are not mutually intelligible.
German dialectology German dialects are the various traditional local varieties of the German language. Though varied by region, those of the southern half of Germany beneath the Benrath line In German linguistics, the Benrath line (German: ''Benrather Linie'') is ...
traditionally names the major dialect groups after
Germanic tribes This list of ancient Germanic people The Germanic peoples were a historical group of people living in Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe between Western Europe and Eastern Europe, based on a common History, historical, Socie ...

Germanic tribes
from which they were assumed to have descended. The extent to which the dialects are spoken varies according to a number of factors: In Northern Germany, dialects are less common than in the South. In cities, dialects are less common than in the countryside. In a public environment, dialects are less common than in a familiar environment. The situation in
Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_title1 = Fe ...

Switzerland
and
Liechtenstein Liechtenstein ( ; ), officially the Principality of Liechtenstein (german: link=no, Fürstentum Liechtenstein), is a German-speaking The German language (, ) is a West Germanic language mainly spoken in Central Europe Central Europ ...

Liechtenstein
is different from the rest of the German-speaking countries. The
Swiss German Swiss German (Standard German Standard High German (SHG), less precisely Standard German or High German (not to be confused with High German The High German languages or High German dialects (german: hochdeutsche Mundarten) comprise th ...
dialects are the default everyday language in virtually every situation, whereas standard German is only spoken in education, partially in media, and with foreigners not possessing knowledge of Swiss German. Most Swiss German speakers perceive standard German to be a foreign language. The
Low German : : : : : , minority = (70,000) (30,000) (8,000) , familycolor = Indo-European , fam2 = Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic langua ...
and
Low Franconian Low Franconian, Low Frankish, NetherlandicSarah Grey Thomason, Terrence Kaufman: ''Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics'', University of California Press, 1991, p. 321. (Calling it "Low Frankish (or Netherlandish)".)Scott Shay ...
varieties spoken in Germany are often counted among the German dialects. This reflects the modern situation where they are roofed by standard German. This is different from the situation in the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
when Low German had strong tendencies towards an
ausbau language In sociolinguistics Sociolinguistics is the descriptive study of the effect of any and all aspects of society, including cultural Norm (sociology), norms, expectations, and context, on the way language is used, and society's effect on language. ...
. The
Frisian languages The Frisian (, ) languages are a closely related group of West Germanic languages The West Germanic languages constitute the largest of the three branches of the Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group i ...
spoken in Germany and the Netherlands are excluded from the German dialects.


Italy

Italy is an often quoted example of a country where the second definition of the word "dialect" (''dialetto'') is most prevalent. Italy is in fact home to a vast array of separate languages, most of which lack
mutual intelligibility In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic b ...
with one another and have their own local varieties; twelve of them (
Albanian Albanian may refer to: *Pertaining to Albania in Southeast Europe; in particular: **Albanians, an ethnic group native to the Balkans **Albanian language **Albanian culture **Demographics of Albania, includes other ethnic groups within the country ...
,
Catalan Catalan may refer to: Catalonia From, or related to Catalonia: * Catalan language, a Romance language * Catalans, an ethnic group formed by the people from, or with origins in, Catalonia * Països Catalans, territories where Catalan is spoken * C ...
,
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...

German
,
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
,
Slovene Slovene or Slovenian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Slovenia, a country in Central Europe * Slovene language, a South Slavic language mainly spoken in Slovenia * Slovenes, an ethno-linguistic group mainly living in Slovenia * Sla ...
,
Croatian Croatian may refer to: *Croatia *Croatian cuisine *Croatian language *Croatian name *Croats, people from Croatia, or of Croatian descent *Citizens of Croatia, see demographics of Croatia See also

* Croatia (disambiguation) * Serbo-Croatian (di ...
, ,
Franco-Provençal Franco-Provençal (also Francoprovençal, Patois, Gaga, Savoyard, Arpitan or Romand) is a dialect group within Gallo-Romance languages, Gallo-Romance originally spoken in east-central France, western Switzerland and northwestern Italy. Franco ...
, Friulian, Ladin,
Occitan Occitan (; oc, occitan, link=no ,), also known as ''lenga d'òc'' (; french: langue d'oc) by its native speakers, is a Romance language The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evol ...
and
SardinianSardinian refers to anything related to the Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean island of Sardinia. More specifically it can refer to: *Sardinian people *History of Sardinia *Sardinian language *Sardinian literature *Music of Sardinia *Cuisine of Sardin ...
) underwent
Italianization Italianization ( it, Italianizzazione; hr, talijanizacija; french: italianisation; sl, poitaljančevanje; german: Italianisierung; el, Ιταλοποίηση) is the spread of Italian culture Italy is considered one of the birthplaces of w ...
to a varying degree (ranging from the currently endangered state displayed by Sardinian and southern Italian Greek to the vigorous promotion of Germanic Tyrolean), but have been officially recognized as Languages of Italy#Historical linguistic minorities, minority languages (''minoranze linguistiche storiche''), in light of their distinctive historical development. Yet, most of the regional languages spoken across the peninsula are often colloquially referred to in non-linguistic circles as Italian ''dialetti'', since most of them, including the prestigious Neapolitan language, Neapolitan, Sicilian language, Sicilian and Venetian language, Venetian, have adopted Vernacular, vulgar Tuscan dialect, Tuscan as their Abstand and ausbau languages, reference language since the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
. However, all these languages evolved from Vulgar Latin in parallel with Italian, long prior to the popular diffusion of the latter throughout what is now
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...

Italy
. During the ''Risorgimento'', Italian still existed mainly as a literary language, and only 2.5% of Italy's population could speak Italian. Proponents of Italian nationalism, like the Lombard Alessandro Manzoni, stressed the importance of establishing a uniform national language in order to better create an Italian national identity. With the unification of Italy in the 1860s, Italian became the official national language of the new Italian state, while the other ones came to be institutionally regarded as "dialects" subordinate to Italian, and negatively associated with a lack of education. In the early 20th century, the conscription of Italian men from all throughout Italy during World War I is credited with having facilitated the diffusion of Italian among the less educated conscripted soldiers, as these men, who had been speaking various regional languages up until then, found themselves forced to communicate with each other in a common tongue while serving in the Italian military. With the popular spread of Italian out of the intellectual circles, because of the mass-media and the establishment of public education, Italians from all regions were increasingly exposed to Italian. While dialect levelling has increased the number of Italian speakers and decreased the number of speakers of other languages native to Italy, Italians in different regions have developed variations of standard Italian specific to their region. These variations of standard Italian, known as "regional Italian", would thus more appropriately be called dialects in accordance with the first linguistic definition of the term, as they are in fact derived from Italian, with some degree of influence from the local or regional native languages and accents. The most widely spoken languages of Italy, which are not to be confused with regional Italian, fall within a family of which even Italian is part, the Italo-Dalmatian languages, Italo-Dalmatian group. This wide category includes: *the complex of the Tuscan dialect, Tuscan and Central Italian, Central Italian dialects, such as Romanesco dialect, Romanesco in Rome, with the addition of some distantly Corsican language, Corsican-derived varieties (Gallurese dialect, Gallurese and Sassarese language, Sassarese) spoken in Northern Sardinia; *the Neapolitan language, Neapolitan group (also known as "Intermediate Meridional Italian"), which encompasses not only Naples' and Campania's speech but also a variety of related neighboring varieties like the Irpinian dialect, Abruzzo, Abruzzese and Southern Marchegiano, Molisan, Calabrian language#Northern Calabrian (Cosentino), Northern Calabrian or Cosentino, and the Bari dialect. The Cilentan dialect of Salerno, in Campania, is considered significantly influenced by the Neapolitan and the below-mentioned language groups; *the Sicilian language, Sicilian group (also known as "Extreme Meridional Italian"), including Salentino dialect, Salentino and centro-southern Calabrian languages, Calabrian. Modern Italian is heavily based on the Florentine dialect of Tuscan dialect, Tuscan. The Tuscan-based language that would eventually become modern Italian had been used in poetry and literature since at least the 12th century, and it first spread outside the Tuscan linguistic borders through the works of the so-called ''tre corone'' ("three crowns"): Dante Alighieri, Petrarch, and Giovanni Boccaccio. Florentine thus gradually rose to prominence as the ''volgare'' of the literate and upper class in Italy, and it spread throughout the peninsula and Sicily as the ''lingua franca'' among the Italian educated class as well as Italian travelling merchants. The economic prowess and cultural and artistic importance of Tuscany in the Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance further encouraged the diffusion of the Florentine-Tuscan Italian throughout Italy and among the educated and powerful, though local and regional languages remained the main languages of the common people. Aside from the Italo-Dalmatian languages, the second most widespread family in Italy is the Gallo-Italic languages, Gallo-Italic group, spanning throughout much of Northern Italy's languages and dialects (such as Piedmontese language, Piedmontese, Emilian-Romagnol language, Emilian-Romagnol, Ligurian (Romance language), Ligurian, Lombard language, Lombard, Venetian language, Venetian, Gallo-Italic of Sicily, Sicily's and Gallo-Italic of Basilicata, Basilicata's Gallo-Italic in southern Italy, etc.). Finally, other languages from a number of different families follow the last two major groups: the Gallo-Romance languages (, Occitan language, Occitan and its Vivaro-Alpine dialect,
Franco-Provençal Franco-Provençal (also Francoprovençal, Patois, Gaga, Savoyard, Arpitan or Romand) is a dialect group within Gallo-Romance languages, Gallo-Romance originally spoken in east-central France, western Switzerland and northwestern Italy. Franco ...
); the Rhaeto-Romance languages (Friulian language, Friulian and Ladin); the Ibero-Romance languages (Sardinia's Algherese dialect, Algherese); the Germanic language, Germanic Cimbrian language, Cimbrian, Southern Bavarian, Walser German and the Mòcheno language; the Albanian language, Albanian Arbëresh language; the Hellenic language, Hellenic Griko language and Calabrian Greek; the Serbo-Croatian Slavomolisano dialect; and the various Slovene languages, including the Gail Valley dialect and Istrian dialect. The Sardinian language, language indigenous to Sardinia, while being Romance in nature, is considered to be a Southern Romance, specific linguistic family of its own, separate from the other Neo-Latin groups; it is often subdivided into the Campidanese Sardinian, Centro-Southern and Logudorese dialect, Centro-Northern dialects. Though mostly mutually unintelligible, the exact degree to which all the Italian languages are mutually unintelligible varies, often correlating with geographical distance or geographical barriers between the languages; some regional Italian languages that are closer in geographical proximity to each other or closer to each other on the
dialect continuum A dialect continuum or dialect chain is a series of language varieties spoken across some geographical area such that neighboring varieties are mutually intelligible In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of languag ...
are more or less mutually intelligible. For instance, a speaker of purely Eastern Lombard dialect, Eastern Lombard, a language in Northern Italy's Lombardy, Lombardy region that includes the Bergamasque dialect, would have severely limited mutual intelligibility with a purely Italian speaker and would be nearly completely unintelligible to a Sicilian language, Sicilian-speaking individual. Due to Eastern Lombard's status as a Gallo-Italic language, an Eastern Lombard speaker may, in fact, have more mutual intelligibility with an Occitan,
Catalan Catalan may refer to: Catalonia From, or related to Catalonia: * Catalan language, a Romance language * Catalans, an ethnic group formed by the people from, or with origins in, Catalonia * Països Catalans, territories where Catalan is spoken * C ...
, or French speaker than with an Italian or Sicilian speaker. Meanwhile, a Sicilian-speaking person would have a greater degree of mutual intelligibility with a speaker of the more closely related Neapolitan language, but far less mutual intelligibility with a person speaking Sicilian Gallo-Italic, a language that developed in isolated Lombard emigrant communities on the same island as the Sicilian language. Today, the majority of Italian nationals are able to speak Italian, though many Italians still speak their regional language regularly or as their primary day-to-day language, especially at home with family or when communicating with Italians from the same town or region.


The Balkans

The classification of speech varieties as dialects or languages and their relationship to other varieties of speech can be controversial and the verdicts inconsistent. Serbo-Croatian language, Serbo-Croatian illustrates this point. Serbo-Croatian has two major formal variants (Serbian language, Serbian and
Croatian Croatian may refer to: *Croatia *Croatian cuisine *Croatian language *Croatian name *Croats, people from Croatia, or of Croatian descent *Citizens of Croatia, see demographics of Croatia See also

* Croatia (disambiguation) * Serbo-Croatian (di ...
). Both are based on the ''Shtokavian'' dialect and therefore mutually intelligible with differences found mostly in their respective local vocabularies and minor grammatical differences. Certain dialects of Serbia (''Torlakian'') and Croatia (''Kajkavian'' and ''Chakavian''), however, are not mutually intelligible even though they are usually subsumed under Serbo-Croatian. How these dialects should be classified in relation to Shtokavian remains a matter of dispute. Macedonian language, Macedonian, although largely mutually intelligible with Bulgarian language, Bulgarian and certain dialects of Serbo-Croatian (Torlakian dialect, Torlakian), is considered by Bulgarian linguists to be a Bulgarian dialect, in contrast with the view in North Macedonia, which regards it as a language in its own right. Before the establishment of a literary standard of Macedonian in 1944, in most sources in and out of Bulgaria before the Second World War, the South Slavic dialect continuum covering the area of today's North Macedonia were referred to as Bulgarian language#Relationship to Macedonian, Bulgarian dialects. Sociolinguists agree that the question of whether Macedonian is a dialect of Bulgarian or a language is a political one and cannot be resolved on a purely linguistic basis.


Lebanon

In Lebanon, a part of the Christian population considers "Lebanese" to be in some sense a distinct language from Arabic language, Arabic and not merely a dialect thereof. During the Lebanese civil war, civil war, Christians often used Lebanese Arabic officially, and sporadically used the Latin script to write Lebanese, thus further distinguishing it from Arabic. All Lebanese laws are written in the standard literary form of Arabic, though parliamentary debate may be conducted in Lebanese Arabic.


North Africa

In Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco, the Darijas (spoken North African languages) are sometimes considered more different from other Arabic dialects. Officially, North African countries prefer to give preference to the Modern Standard Arabic, Literary Arabic and conduct much of their political and religious life in it (adherence to Islam), and refrain from declaring each country's specific variety to be a separate language, because Literary Arabic is the liturgical language of Islam and the language of the Islamic sacred book, the Qur'an. Although, especially since the 1960s, the Darijas are occupying an increasing use and influence in the cultural life of these countries. Examples of cultural elements where Darijas' use became dominant include: theatre, film, music, television, advertisement, social media, folk-tale books and companies' names.


Ukraine

The Modern Ukrainian language has been in common use since the late 17th century, associated with the establishment of the Cossack Hetmanate. In the 19th century, the Tsarist Government of the Russian Empire claimed that Ukrainian language, Ukrainian (or Little Russian, per official name) was merely a dialect of Russian language, Russian (or Polonized dialect) and not a language on its own (same concept as for Belarusian language). That concepted was enrooted soon after the partitions of Poland. According to these claims, the differences were few and caused by the conquest of western Ukraine by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. However, in reality the dialects in Ukraine were developing independently from the dialects in the modern Russia for several centuries, and as a result they differed substantially. Following the Spring of Nations in Europe and efforts of the Brotherhood of Saints Cyril and Methodius, across the so called "Southwestern Krai" of Russian Empire started to spread cultural societies of Hromada (secret society), Hromada and their Sunday schools. Themselves "hromadas" acted in same manner as Orthodox brotherhood, Orthodox fraternities of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth back in 15th century. Around that time in Ukraine becoming popular political movements Narodnichestvo (Narodniks) and Khlopomanstvo.


Moldova

There have been cases of a variety of speech being deliberately reclassified to serve political purposes. One example is Moldovan language, Moldovan. In 1996, the Moldovan parliament, citing fears of "Romanian expansionism", rejected a proposal from President of Moldova, President Mircea Snegur to change the name of the language to Romanian, and in 2003 a Moldovan–Romanian dictionary was published, purporting to show that the two countries speak different languages. Linguists of the Romanian Academy reacted by declaring that all the Moldovan words were also Romanian words; while in Moldova, the head of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, Ion Bărbuţă, described the dictionary as a politically motivated "absurdity".


Greater China

Unlike languages that use alphabets to indicate their pronunciation, Chinese characters have developed from logograms that do not always give hints to their pronunciation. Although the written characters have remained relatively consistent for the last two thousand years, the pronunciation and grammar in different regions have developed to an extent that the Varieties of Chinese, varieties of the spoken language are often mutually unintelligible. As a series of migration to the south throughout the history, the regional languages of the south, including Gan Chinese, Gan, Xiang Chinese, Xiang, Wu Chinese, Wu, Min Chinese, Min, Yue Chinese, Yue and Hakka Chinese, Hakka often show traces of Old Chinese or Middle Chinese. From the Ming dynasty onward, Beijing has been the capital of China and the dialect spoken in Beijing has had the most prestige among other varieties. With the founding of the Republic of China (1912–49), Republic of China, Standard Mandarin was designated as the official language, based on the spoken language of Beijing. Since then, other spoken varieties are regarded as ''fangyan'' (regional speech). Cantonese is still the most commonly-used language in Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau and among some overseas Chinese communities, whereas Taiwanese Hokkien, Hokkien has been accepted in Taiwan as an important local language alongside Taiwanese Mandarin, Mandarin.


Interlingua

Interlingua was Interlingua and eligibility of international words, developed so that the languages of Western civilization would act as its dialects.Alice Vanderbilt Morris, Morris, Alice Vanderbilt
General report
. New York: International Auxiliary Language Association, 1945.
Drawing from such concepts as the international scientific vocabulary and Standard Average European, researchers at the International Auxiliary Language Association extracted words and affixes to be part of Interlingua's vocabulary.Alexander Gode, Gode, Alexander, ''Interlingua-English Dictionary''. New York: Storm Publishers, 1951. In theory, speakers of the Western languages would understand written or spoken Interlingua immediately, without prior study, since their own languages were its dialects. Interlingua could be used to assist in the learning of other languages.Gopsill, F. P., ''International languages: A matter for Interlingua''. Sheffield: British Interlingua Society, 1990. "In one study, Swedish high school students learning Interlingua were able to translate passages from Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian that students of those languages found too difficult to understand." The vocabulary of Interlingua extends beyond the Western language families.


Selected list of articles on dialects

*Varieties of Arabic *Bengali dialects *Catalan dialects *Varieties of Chinese *Cypriot Greek *Cypriot Turkish *Danish dialects *Dutch dialects *English dialects *Finnish dialects *Varieties of French *Georgian dialects *
German dialects German dialects are the various traditional local varieties of the German language. Though varied by region, those of the southern half of Germany beneath the Benrath line In German linguistics, the Benrath line (German: ''Benrather Linie'') ...
*Malayalam languages *Malayan languages, Varieties of Malay *Connacht Irish, Munster Irish, Ulster Irish *Regional Italian, Italian dialects *Japanese dialects *Korean dialects *Norwegian dialects *Nguni languages *Dialects of Polish *Portuguese dialects *Romanian dialects *Russian dialects *Slavic microlanguages *Slovenian dialects *Spanish dialects *Swedish dialects *Sri Lankan Tamil dialects *Yiddish dialects


See also

*Accent perception *Chronolect *Colloquialism *Creole language *Dialect levelling *Dialectology *Dialectometry *Ethnolect *Eye dialect *Idiolect *Isogloss *Koiné language *Register (sociolinguistics) *Literary language *Nation language *Regional language *Sprachbund


References


External links


Sounds Familiar?
– Listen to regional accents and dialects of the UK on the British Library's 'Sounds Familiar' website
International Dialects of English Archive Since 1997

thedialectdictionary.com
– Compilation of Dialects from around the globe

* {{Authority control Dialects, Language Language varieties and styles Lexicology Linguistics terminology