According to what I have studied before, when a person speaks a dialect just "in the street" and uses one dialect else "in the school", he is a bi-dialectal person. Now, I have been faced with "diglossia". I searched and found that in some Arabic countries, for example, high variety of the language is used for important matters such as political events and religious discussions, and a low variety of the language is used for everyday affairs. How I can distinguish bi-dialect and diglossia?

  • Dear Otavio, I know what is the definition of diglossia,however, I don't know how I can distinguish it from bi dialect. In this specific question you mentioned to help me, diglossia is discussed but nothing is found for its difference with bi dialect. I look froward to hearing from you.
    – zahra
    Dec 25, 2013 at 7:00

1 Answer 1


Diglossia typically refers to the situation you've described when the two forms are named, 'recognized' varieties. The distinction is a culturally reified one, while changing register is not usually considered to be a clear shift from e.g., 'Work English' to 'Street English'.

  • Sorry, would you mind explaining what's your mean to say the distinction between diglossia and bi dialect is culturally? In both, there are two kinds of varieties, as you said "work or street English", that are used by people.
    – zahra
    Dec 24, 2013 at 7:48
  • Actually, I misread part of your question, so my answer addresses a question different from the one you've asked, sorry. Dec 24, 2013 at 18:02

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