Questions tagged [dialects]

Dialects are varieties of a language that differ in systematic ways from each other but are mutually intelligible.

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3 answers
4k views

How are languages and dialects distinguished from one another?

Are there any cases where two varieties of the same language are treated as separate languages, or where two distinct languages are treated as varieties of the same language. If so, why?
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14 votes
2 answers
2k views

What's the difference between a form of a language and a dialect of a language?

I was wondering what's the difference between a form of a language and a dialect of a language? For example, Wikipedia states that British English is a form of English and not a dialect of English. ...
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11 votes
2 answers
969 views

Can the "dialect continuum" phenomenon be recognized from Rome to Lisbon?

A dialect continuum or dialect chain is a spread of language varieties spoken across some geographical area such that neighbouring varieties differ only slightly, but the differences accumulate over ...
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7 votes
1 answer
264 views

What's the longest extant dialect continuum?

According to jknappen, there's a dialect continuum stretching from Rome to Lisbon without interruption. This is a wonderfully interesting piece of trivia that I wouldn't have believed before seeing ...
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6 votes
2 answers
707 views

Is there a convenient tool for drawing (dialect) maps?

I need to draw a dialect map, splitting an area up into differently coloured regions. Is there an online tool for creating dialect maps? Of course, any map drawing tool where I can take an existing ...
12 votes
2 answers
283 views

Is there any evidence that modern telecommunication slows dialect differentiation?

Consider the area that includes Western Washington and Western Oregon. As many of us know, most English-speakers who were raised in this area speak more or less the same variety of English. ...
10 votes
2 answers
1k views

Distinguishing dialects objectively: lexical sets in non-English settings

The concept of lexical set is a useful technique for differentiating accents or dialects within a language. A lexical set is a set of all words/syllables that are pronounced with the same vowel. These ...
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10 votes
4 answers
1k views

Does accent/dialect prestige rely on socio-cultural bias or on acoustics?

Is there any evidence that implies that accent/dialect prestige is formed due to the sounds of accents (i.e. something to back up statements like an accent being "harsh sounding") or is it really just ...
5 votes
3 answers
658 views

What exactly is the "German Language"

After reading up on this topic on Wikipedia, I am left in confusion. Before I started to read the article I thought that "German" usually refers to standard German. If it is actually defined like ...
4 votes
3 answers
536 views

Other than Scottish rolled "r" and North American rhotacised vowels, are there any differences across "r" sounds in English dialects?

I'm wondering about subtle differences in /r/ sounds across varieties of English. By subtle I mean I want to ignore the obvious large differences such as the trilled "r" in Scottish English and the ...
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1 vote
0 answers
99 views

Inherited kinship term that is attested only in a Scandinavian dialect out of all Germanic languages

This is again a memory refreshing question. I am looking for a specific kinship term that is considered to be inherited into a Scandinavian dialect despite the fact that no other Germanic language has ...
0 votes
2 answers
1k views

How do linguists differentiate a dialect from a language? [duplicate]

As in how do they decide "X is a separate language from Y, but Z is a dialect of Y." I know there is the old adage "a language is a dialect with an army and a navy", but surely there must be some semi-...