33

This clashes with my long-held idea that in order to learn to speak a language - even one's native language - with perfect compliance with the rules, one must have had the rules taught to him/her, while this doesn't happen for these dialect speakers, they don't have the rules taught by others. Indeed, children are amazingly good at learning to speak, just ...


24

This clashes with my long-held idea that in order to learn to speak a language - even one's native language - with perfect compliance with the rules, one must have had the rules taught to him/her, while this doesn't happen for these dialect speakers, they don't have the rules taught by others. Good, because that's false! The human brain comes pre-wired ...


17

First of all, it varies to some extent. People from Ural region, people from Rostov-on-Don, people from Vyatka region have quite recognisable pronunciation norms. The same with vocabulary, there's some words that are used only in a specific region, like "чкаться" in Bryansk. However if we'll come up with some contrive metrics of language homogeneity ...


14

A proto-language is a hypothesis - it's a theory about the history of a language family. A proto-language is a model of the closest common ancestor of the daughter languages, but which is not directly attested itself (ie, we don't have anything written in it.) So neither Latin nor Italian are proto-languages, because we have direct written evidence of both. ...


13

The theory is that there is a community, whose members speak "a language" (one language). They go about life, roaming the plains of whatever, and their children learn that language. As long as they remain a coherent community whose members are in contact with one another, everybody speaks the same language. The language might change a bit, but it ...


12

One aspect is that you're suffering from confirmation bias. Those people define their dialect. The only ones to judge the correctness of their speech are themselves. Everyone is a master in their own game. Even if it's external observer (e.g. you) who are judging their proficiency - what is the benchmark to judge them against? Themselves. The other aspect is ...


11

There are many measures of lexical similarity or linguistic distances but neither can tell you whether something is a dialect or a language outside a very constrained context. It is easy to come up with a measure for a particular purpose such as determining historical developments or automatically recognizing different languages in a corpus. But what ...


11

Everything that is designated with the word German somehow concerns the continental Germanic dialect continuum. This designates a region from southern Denmark in the North to South Tyrol (Alto Adige) in the South and from the Belgian coast in the West to somewhere around the Neiße river in the East where ‘descendents of the continental Germic language(s)’ ...


11

Th-stopping has always been a distinctive feature of Irish English, where the phonological distinction between [t] and [t̪], [d] and [d̪] is mostly maintained. It is not characteristic of most varieties of English in either England or Wales; urban and working-class English speech in southern England prefers th-fronting instead. However, young urban English ...


10

The phenomenon is known as "flapping", and the result, transcribed as [ɾ], is a "flap". It also applies to /d/, but people notice it most when applied to /t/ since the result is more different compared to /d/. You might call is a "fast d". If an American were to say [mɛtʰəl] very carefully, that could be called hyperarticulation, that is, aiming to stop a ...


9

It comes down to the difference between natural acquisition and book-learning. Everybody learns their native language perfectly, just by constant exposure and use. Nobody ever teaches you the rules of your native language, you induce the grammar from observation of language use. (Well, sometimes people try to teach other how to talk their language, but it is ...


8

How do Hindi and Urdu actually differ? Is the relationship between the (spoken) languages more like the relationship between Glaswegian English and American English or Spanish and Portuguese? Are their grammatical forms exactly the same? sentence structure of Urdu and Hindi is completely the same. Do they differ in terms of pronunciation? Not much....


8

In /l/, there's a closure between the sagittal middle of the tongue and the roof of the mouth. Air is released along the sides of the tongue. In /s/, more or less the opposite happens. The sides of the tongue are raised, and a groove is formed along the sagittal middle. If you move the tongue from an /l/ towards an /s/, and you don't time the formation of ...


8

Your question is an interesting one, in general how to compare the comparisons of languages and more specifically about the Chinese family. The usual qualitative measure of difference is mutual intelligibility; but quantitative measures of this are hard to come by except by a large collection of anecdotes or great linguistic experience. That is to say there ...


8

I'm not sure whether this will meet your needs, but my colleague Pete Becker used to do a little trick to generate descriptions. He wanted to underline the point that there were an infinite number of ways to describe anything (a point which he carefully did not mention to his audience before the trick). He would say, to the audience, usually a class, "I'...


8

Sometimes this phenomenon is known as the narrative present or (especially by Latinists) historical present. Another potential phenomenon going on is that your dialect has developed relative tense. You might be used to descriptions of language with absolute tense - tense that is in relation to the present, but some languages use some tense relative to a ...


7

Having talked to Shibatani after the book was published, I can pretty safely say that he has since changed his mind. I think the basic consensus among linguists who have some specialization in Ryukyuan is that there are at least seven Japonic languages in two subgroups. The first subgroup is the Japanese subgroup, which includes Japanese proper, as well as ...


7

I'm looking for the general distinction between a language and a dialect and a language family; what makes it one rather than the other? How are languages and dialects distinguished from one another? There is no consistent, scientific distinction between two dialects of a single language, and two separate languages (with a common ancestor). It's most often ...


7

In the process of dialect levelling, the grammatical system of the dialects (tense, nominal case systems, other complex features) usually stays intact. The dialects undergoing dialect levelling are full-fledged languages at each time of the process. The dialects just converge to each other or to a dachsprache dominating them. In contrast, a pidgin discards ...


7

There are some factors that make vowels more volatile than consonants in general Consonants have fixed points of articulation and modes of articulation while vowels live in a continuous space In most languages, consonants have a higher surprisal than vowels, i.e., they carry more information So vowels can shift around more freely than consonants. But this ...


7

I don't know anything about the change in pronunciation of this particular word, so this is just a partial answer. The more general sound change this is a part of is shortening of /uː/ (from Middle English /oː/) to /ʊ/. This is a sporadic sound change that occurred in RP as well (in other words) and is one of the major sources of /ʊ/ in Modern English. For ...


6

This pattern does show up a lot, and there seem to be multiple factors driving it. Rural areas (though not only such areas) tend contain small, immobile, tight-knit populations, in which local identity is socially important and outside communication is (historically) limited. On one level, simple isolation means there's less exposure to the mainstream ...


6

There isn't much information on the language referred to by the OP as "Fifa'a", but there is some information on a group of people in Saudi Arabia called the Fayfa. The Fayfa are described in this evangelical religious website as speaking Mehri. Additionally, the Missionary Atlas Project lists the "Fayfa" people and also describes them as speaking Mehri. ...


6

I can think of two main factors which would motivate such a decision. Social Prestige A diglossia is any situation where two dialects (or languages) exist along side each other in a single region/community. The most obvious example of this would be the co-occurrence in many parts of China of a local Chinese dialect (Cantonese, Hakka, Hokkien, etc.) with ...


6

The problem is that "minimal pair" refers to two distinct words in one language signified by the choice of one vs. another sound. So minimal pairs are not what you want. You want a list of "same word" pair between the dialects. The Oxford English Dictionary is pretty much the definitive work on English (you may need to access the online version, which gives ...


6

The closest to a general consensus is the criterion of mutual intelligibility: if speakers of the lects can understand each other, they are dialects, otherwise they are languages. This immediately runs into the problem that Norwegian and Swedish seem to be mutually intelligible (although I suspect that is based on "standard" forms of the languages), but they ...


6

It's a "tag". Here is a paper on tags. Armagost 1972 English declarative tags, intonation tags, and tag questions is a good introduction, IMO. Your examples are "declarative tags" (section I), and there are other types (You won't, will you?"; "You won't, wont you?")". Basically, tags convey pragmatic information, about speaker attitudes and presuppositions.


6

I grew up the in the former Yugoslavia, and the language I studied in school was called Serbocroatian, which was spoken in four out of the six republics of the union. You were basically studying the standard, 'literary' language. And then, you were mostly focused on your version of Serbo-Croatian [SC]. There were at least 4 versions. They were called '...


6

Not all Calabrian is the same Calabrian (it: Calabrese) is the name given to the romance dialect continuum spoken in Calabria. It is commonly divided into two different language groups: In the southern two-thirds of the region, the Calabrian dialects are more closely related to Sicilian, grouped as Central-Southern Calabrian, or simply Calabro, and are ...


6

There are a number of speech-form clusters in the world, that is, genetically related languages which are so structurally similar that they are said to be "dialects" of a language – e.g. Saami, Shona, Somali, Luhya, Chinese, Arabic, Kurdish, Quechua and Mongolian. You might say that the various Saami languages are versions of Saami, or they are dialects of ...


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