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View Full Version : Defining "Dialect"



Averon 2011
08-07-2011, 05:42 PM
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gothicangel
08-08-2011, 05:43 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dialect

Carmy
08-08-2011, 08:57 PM
An interesting article and link, with some important items for fiction writers.

I particularly like this quote: Those who identify a particular dialect as the "standard" or "proper" version of a language are in fact using these terms to express a social distinction.

Isn't that how we "show" characters?

JSSchley
08-09-2011, 03:43 AM
My favorite definition is that a language is a dialect with an army. (which I now see is in that article.) Most linguists call the Chinese languages "The Chinese Languages" instead of Chinese dialects. I usually tell people I speak Mandarin rather than "Chinese."

But honestly, most of the time, calling a particular dialect a language is a political move, and calling a particular dialect "standard" is a social one.

trirae
08-11-2011, 08:10 AM
But honestly, most of the time, calling a particular dialect a language is a political move, and calling a particular dialect "standard" is a social one.

Oh so true. With my students, I give them a technical definition but then tell them I realize they will promptly forget the difference and use accent, dialect, and language pretty well interchangeably because everyone else does.

But the specific question does likely seem to be one more about social/political issues rather than technical definitions.