Talk:Pluricentric language

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Spanish, French[edit]

What about French and Spanish? While some might dispute it, I think many people (and academics) consider the French of France and that of Quebec to both be types of "standard French", and Spanish has several "standard" forms as well. --[[User:#REDIRECT Delirium 08:12, May 28, 2005 (UTC)

Hear, hear!--Jondel 06:22, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

I'm not sure what standards would apply to the Latin American variations of Spanish. Let's say Rioplatense; I think it fails all features of Standard language but perhaps having a canon of literature. I think that the other dialects are in a similar situation.]] Bear in mind that there is a concerted effort by the Real Academia Española and the national academies to keep the language together; for example, last week they announced the Diccionario panhispánico de dudas.

Ejrrjs | [[User talk:Ejrrjs|What?]] 07:34, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

Spanish as an international language is generally speaking far more homogeneous than English, French and Portuguese. The only major exception I can think of is Rioplatense Spanish which differs significantly from standard Spanish. 201.52.32.9 00:17, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

When Spanish is taught to speakers of other languages in USA, UK, France, the standard Spanish of Spain, which is the educated speech of Madrid, is taught exclusively and the Spanish spoken in Latin America is seen as erroneous and substandard. Indeed, students of Spanish who learnt the a Latin American variety are often forced to adopt a Madrid accent in oral classes. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 109.154.252.81 (talk) 07:34, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

Do you have a reliable source for this? I believe you are substantially incorrect. Mutt Lunker (talk) 08:09, 6 September 2013 (UTC)
At least where I am in the US, a "generic" Latin American variety of Spanish is usually taught, with variations from Spain mentioned primarily as asides. Joe Garrick (talk) 17:15, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

Does anyone else think this should be promoted from "Other" to the same level as French, English, etc.? There's almost an entire hemisphere of people speaking Spanish.Joe Garrick (talk) 17:15, 13 March 2014 (UTC)

Portuguese[edit]

Which side does African Portuguese adhere to? --Dpr 02:47, 26 October 2005 (UTC)

African Portuguese is currently closer to the European variety. Note however that, as Portuguese evolves in those African countries where it is still spoken by a significant minority as first language (e.g. in Angola), local varieties that are distinct from both EP and BP will eventually emerge.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

The section on Brazilian Portuguese is over-simplified and needs some improvement. Generally speaking, there are 3 main varieties of the Portuguese language currently in use in Brazil:

  1. Standard Brazilian Portuguese, which corresponds to the (primarily written) language of newspapers, legal/scientific documents, and literary works, and is also used in TV newscasts, formal speeches and lectures/conferences;
  2. The educated colloquial language, which corresponds to the everyday spoken language of the urban middle-class (most notably in major cities like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro) and is roughly the language most often heard on Brazilian TV soap operas and talk shows;
  3. The popular Brazilian vernacular, which is particularly widespread in the countryside/rural areas, but is also common among low-income/uneducated sections of the population in big cities.

Generally speaking, category 1 (standard Brazilian Portuguese or BP) is roughly identical in its written form to standard European Portuguese (EP), with only minor differences in spelling, vocabulary and grammar akin to the differences between standard British and American English. When spoken, standard BP is of course pronounced quite distinctively from EP, but again, differences in pronunciation are not unlike those between British and American English. The spoken colloquial language of the urban middle-class (category 2) shows on the other hand greater deviation from the European norm, not only in pronunciation, but also in grammar (akin perhaps to the grammatical differences between e.g Rioplatense Spanish and standard Spanish). The divergence between category 2 and the European standard is still small enough though to place it well within the framework of the same Portuguese language. Finally, contrary to category 2, the popular vernacular (category 3) shows in turn significant deviation from standard grammar in a scale that, in relative terms, is comparable to the distinction between, let's say, standard British English and African American vernacular English. Even for the popular vernacular though, divergence from the standard is not quite as extreme as the distance between e.g. spoken Swiss German and written standard German, or between Dutch and Afrikaans. Therefore, strictly speaking, Brazilian Portuguese cannot be considered a diglossic language yet. In fact, as of today, the use in Brazil of category 3 speech varieties appears to be actually declining as a result of increased urbanization and higher levels of schooling. At the same time though, category 2 begins to show greater divergence from the standard. In the future, some new variety between categories 2 and 3 may emerge then as the "universal" Brazilian vernacular, but that prediction is purely speculative at this point. Meanwhile, category 1 remains firmly entrenched as the official written language. Mbruno 00:48, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I think the "difficulty" Brazilians allegedly have to understand European Portuguese has been greatly exaggerated in most Wikipedia articles. Most educated Brazilians can actually understand EP speakers with no significant effort. Portuguese newscasts and talk shows are especially easy to follow, as is also one-to-one live conversation. We occasionally miss though a few words when watching Portuguese soap operas or movies, but never to the point of compromising overall intelligibility. In any case, that is no different for example from Americans occasionally struggling with an Australian or Irish accent. 161.24.19.82 12:56, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Standard language[edit]

Hm... I was in the middle of an editing spree to improve this article when it occured to me that a "pluricentric" or polycentric language - if we adhere to the criteria given in the article "Standard language" - is actually a language that uses more than one variety in international media, in diplomacy and international politics, in teaching as a foreign language and in any formal setting intended for a wide audience. Arabic and Chinese are then the two largest languages that stress linguistic "conformity" and do not accept regional(ized) standards as equally acceptable as a neutral and interchangeable. Perhaps this also goes for French and Spanish? Is it common to teach non-speakers these languages in other forms than their prestigious and recognized standard forms? I would guess that any non-standard language course would be called something like for example "Argentine language (and culture)" and not just "Spanish". In other words, if one means that a speech or a text is in French without anmy further qualifications, it is assumed that it is the standard French, while English and Portuguese could mean any of the two (or more) standard forms. --Big Adamsky 21:04, 27 November 2005 (UTC)

As a native speaker of Spanish, I've found with surprise and laughter some people that claimed to have studied Spanish AND Castillian. What a waste of money! See my comments above.
As per Argentine Spanish, a couple of decades ago there used to teach at school just regular Sp. (tu, vosotros, you know). I'm not aware of current practices.
However, I should acknowledge there are some movies that are translated to some "neutral" American (American as in the American continent) Spanish and also to "neutral" "peninsular" Spanish.
I believe that the trick is: can you communicate in good faith? Does people have a common ground that enable them to interact without localism, slang, etc.? The answer for Spanish is certainly yes.
User:Ejrrjs says What? 07:15, 28 November 2005 (UTC)
To Big Adamsky: Your definition of "pluricentric language" certainly applies to English and Portuguese in the sense that both American English and Brazilian Portuguese have written standards of their own that differ respectively from British English and European Portuguese and are used in diplomacy, international media, and in English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) or Portuguese-as-a-foreign-language (PFL) classes. I don't think your criteria for "pluricentrism" would apply though to French or Spanish. Although Québec movies and TV programs are occasionally shown in France, Québec French properly lacks its own written standard and the relatively small community of 7 million or so Canadian francophones has at best a negligible influence on "international French" as taught as a foreign language outside the French-speaking world. Likewise, international Spanish has a well-defined standard that is regulated by the Madrid-based RAE and is universally used in Spanish-as-a-foreign-language instruction. In a few countries like Argentina, non-standard grammar (like e.g. the vos verb forms) is nowadays used even in school and in formal/literary writing. Nevertheless, those non-standard constructions have only limited international visibility outside the Spanish-speaking world and are not normally taught to non-native speakers. Mbruno 01:23, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

Scandinavian Languages[edit]

What about the Scandinavian languages? Could they be considered a pluricentric language continuum, whereas Swedish, Danish, Bokmål and Nynorsk constitute four different written standards? As far as I have understood, the differences are largely comparable to the standard Serbo-Croatian languages.惑乱 分からん 21:13, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

The standards of BCSM (Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian-Montenegrinian... :o) ) are far, far, far closer than, AFAIK, even Bokmål and Nynorsk. They are closer than the standard German of Austria and of Germany!
David Marjanović | david.marjanovic_at_gmx.at | 0:30 CET | 2006/2/19
The difference between various South-Slavic languages are indeed comparable to the differences between Scandinavian languages. However, as opposed to Scandinavia, language is a political issue in the Balkans with Serbian speakers largely insisting that other languages are merely dialects of Serbian or, at best, Serbo-Croatian. Croatians, historically, and Bosnians and Montenegrans recently, have all sought to govern its own standardisation efforts independently of Serbian or Serbo-Croatian. Although the standards are mutually intelligible, there are considerable differences between dialects. This reflects the situation in Scandinavia. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that there will be any consensus on the issue any time soon, primarily because of the political nature of the discussion in the Balkans.109.128.25.116 (talk) 00:26, 2 February 2013 (UTC)
Swedish itself could be considered pluricentric, because speakers in Sweden can identify Finland-Swedish based on differences in vocabulary, grammar and phonology. -- ISNorden 22:29, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
Finland-Swedish doesn't have a particularly different written standard, though. The vocabulary and grammar differences are miniscule for "proper" Finland-Swedish. I'd say it's another dialect of Swedish. 惑乱 分からん 12:53, 3 February 2007 (UTC)
I'd consider modern Danish & Bokmål to be pluricentric. Or better yet, Danish Rigsmål & Norwegian Riksmål -- essentially identical languages spelled differently. Before 1907, they were pretty much identical. Boreanesia 06:13, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
I've have taken the liberty to add Danish and Riksmål. Boreanesia 06:47, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
I believe that the form of Standard Swedish spoken in Scania (Skåne), which is based on the Scanian dialect skånska (or language-a hotly debated distinction), should be mentioned here just as much as finlandssvenska. The differences in pronunciation and vocabulary can be very distinct, whether you are considering the Scanian dialect (or language) proper (vastly different from Standard Swedish), or the regional variations of Standard Swedish spoken by most people in Scania, and nearby areas. In fact, in my experience, the standard variation of rikssvenska spoken in Skåne, (South Swedish, an acrolect or prestige dialect; there are generally said to be three, Central, South and Finland-Swedish, though there are other significant regional variations as well) and other parts of S. Sweden, can often be as distinct or more so than the differences between what many Swedes consider to be rikssvenska (ie. Central Swedish, generally what is spoken in and near Stockholm) and finlandssvenska. I have become fluent in Swedish after living in Stockholm and other places in Central Sweden, and I can much more easily understand speakers of Swedish from Finland, than many speakers from Scania or nearby areas of S. Sweden (I can also more easily understand people in the rest of Sweden, such as the north or west, and even many Norwegians, than I can many Scanians). I find that many speakers of South Standard Swedish can be as hard for me to understand as many Danes can be; I more often have to listen carefully when I am in Malmö or Lund (Scania), (as I do in Denmark), than when I am in Helsinki. One can of course argue that the Scanian dialect (proper) is a variant of Danish or a distinct language, or that all the Scandinavian languages are variations of one language, but that's another argument. To me, finlandssvenska, while it has some differences in grammar and vocabulary, sounds mainly like Swedish spoken with a Finnish accent, more flat and choppy, without the melodic accent of most forms of Swedish. The Scanian dialect (or language) proper, still spoken by some people, has numerous differences in vocabulary and pronunciation (ie. the gutteral R sound, and diphtongs), and grammar. Many of these features are retained among South Standard Swedish speakers as well. It's important to note that I don't propose mentioning the Scanian dialect/language proper as part of the Swedish language, as that is under debate and is a matter of pride for many Scanians. Instead I mean that South Standard Swedish, influenced by Scanian dialect (and often referred to casually as Scanian) should be mentioned in this article.[1]
On another note, why aren't nynorsk and bokmål mentioned in this article? They are arguably two distinct standard versions of the same language, "both in spoken and in written forms...which arose when the language and the national identity of its native speakers do not, or did not, coincide". Nynorsk ("New-Norwegian") ironically arose from old Norwegian dialects, primarily rural or south-western, because the national identity of many Norwegians did not coincide with Dano-Norwegian (bokmål, or "book-language", the language of Danish-influenced academia), which many felt, (especially during the Romantic period of Norway), did not represent them; that it was imposed on them through Danish rule and cultural hegemony, and was more accepted in Christiania (Oslo), and nearby parts of SE Norway where Danish influence was strongest. Nynorsk varies strongly from bokmål both in spoken and written forms (it in some ways resembles Icelandic or Faroese, and maintains archaic grammatical cases not found in the other Scandinavian variants), is official in Norway, and is taught in schools as an alternative. Also, Norwegian represents a unique form of pluricentric language, as nynorsk arose more through human effort, as a combination of different rural-historical dialects, whereas Finland-Swedish, for example, arose mainly through geographical distance, isolation during the era of Russian rule, and exposure to the Finnish language (and admittedly some of the same factors involving the creation of nynorsk, though factors not as influential, as Finnish was the main answer to Finland's linguistic/national identity crisis, not finlandssvenska). The nynorsk/bokmål division has a cultural/political background, just as much as a natural one. Even while nynorsk is based strongly upon historical Norwegian, it is in many ways a modern amalgamation of various traditional dialects, largely from the SW, which were studied by linguist Ivar Aasen in the 1840s. There is of course debate about which form of Norwegian is more "pure"; at any rate, this history makes nynorsk a unique language that should definitely be mentioned in this article, along with South Standard Swedish (again, not Scanian the dialect/language proper, but the South Standard Swedish influenced by it, and other souther Swedish dialects. [2]
Note: (I am a former scholar of Scandinavian culture and have studied in Sweden, and am fluent in Swedish as mentioned)Aledht (talk) 06:59, 26 November 2009 (UTC)

Tagalog[edit]

I have removed Tagalog from the "others" list since it does not belong there. It is not pluricentric in that it has one written standard used in one country. Boreanesia 06:32, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

There is no mention of Asian Portuguese on the section on Portuguese.

learnportuguese 22:46, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

Quebecois and not borrowing?![edit]

"...Québecois French also makes a conscious effort not to borrow foreign vocabulary..."

This statement, in my view, is very erroneous...as the Canadian French always randomly takes from English, or distorts original French words into a new meaning. Le Anh-Huy (talk) 08:27, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Order on page[edit]

Is there a pattern to the order of the sections on this page? To me, it seems there is not. I would anticipate either an alphabetical list (perhaps with English at the top), a list organized by families, or a list by rough degrees of…uh…pluricentricity (each subdivided into lists organized alphabetically or genetically).

Current list:

  • English
  • German
  • Portuguese
  • Galician
  • Catalan-Valencian-Balearic
  • Spanish
  • Chinese
  • French
  • Hindi and Hindi-influenced languages
  • Others (Arabic, Danish, Dutch, Korean, Serbo-Croatian, Bulgarian/Macedonian, Romansh, Swedish, Persian)

— ˈzɪzɨvə (talk) 21:40, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

Merge proposal[edit]

I propose that the content in diasystem be moved here. The two cover the same ground and I have yet to find any instance of diasystem being used with the meaning given in that article. Moreover, diasystem is a term used in dialectology with a completely different meaning and I'd like to free up that namespace for some content that I've prepared. Conversely, if the community decides that this merge would be a bad idea (my search wasn't exhaustive, after all), we could have a disambiguation page though I'm not sure what the parentheticals involved would be (diaphone (dialectology) is out since both pertain to dialectology). — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 06:11, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

I think the merge is a good idea. --Jotamar (talk) 15:49, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
I've completed the merger, including a search and destroy mission through what links to diasystem. For thoroughness, I have also corrected the wiktionary entry but I haven't checked the foreign language Wikipedia articles, so I don't know which ones have a correct version and which ones don't. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 00:27, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Did the merge fail? It looks like 2 separate articles still exist...--达伟 (talk) 19:41, 18 June 2010 (UTC)
Please do not merge. The term pluricentric language is a very important concept, which is for example very much promoted by the Austrialian linguist Michael Clyne. Readers here come from all over the world and you should not only view on the situation of the English language. So please keep it. --El bes (talk) 01:51, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
The merge proposal was for the content that was at diasystem (check the history). There was no actual merging of articles, but it's a significant enough change that I thought I'd at least bring it up before I did it. It seems, El bes, that you don't oppose designating pluricentric language as the primary article on the concept if diasystem turns out to be used occasionally as a synonym. Am I correct? — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 07:01, 19 June 2010 (UTC)
Hmm, I think they are seperate concepts, or at least with a seperate aim. Weinreich aimed his concept on creating a unified written standard for the different Yiddish dialects. Hence the hebrew writing system is very different from our latin alphabet, this could be done, without larger discriminations of one Yiddish dialect over the other. The standardized codification of Weinreich was the same for all forms of written Yiddish, but they readers could still pronounce it in their regional way. --El bes (talk) 02:45, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
Ahh, after reading twice, I realized it was Uriel Weinreich who coined the term diasystem. I think he wanted to scientifically explain what his father Max Weinreich had already done a generation before. --El bes (talk) 02:47, 20 June 2010 (UTC)
Did he coin it? I wasn't sure about that. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 02:58, 20 June 2010 (UTC)

Chinese[edit]

The section is strange as it speaks only of the official language. There are more dialects that are the de facto languages of different parts of China, particularly in spoken form. For example, if you look at the page for Wu, there is a discussion of which local subdialect is the "prestige dialect", which I suppose would be the "standard version". Does the government have to use the language in order for a standard version to exist, even if there is commonly accepted spelling, dictionaries, etc? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 213.100.32.34 (talk) 19:40, 5 July 2010 (UTC)

The treatment of Chinese is bizarre. The "versions" implicitly included -- they are not defined, a few are named but only in passing -- are by any measure distinct, mutually unintelligible languages. Where did the author of this section get his information? 84.227.226.225 (talk) 23:35, 4 May 2014 (UTC)

Scots[edit]

The reference to Scots is baffling. Given that it was (and is), as stated, considered a separate language from English, then logically it cannot at the same time be seen merely as an example of pluricentric English. A separate language is not part of another one. Ceartas (talk) 00:05, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

It's within the Anglic family. Different though it is, some still consider it a form of English. Evlekis (Евлекис) (argue) 20:15, 5 September 2011 (UTC)
In a sociolinguistic sense, however (and there is no other accepted scientific sense of the language/dialect distinction), Scots is a completely separate language – at least written/standard language (although Scots was never really standardised in the modern sense until the Union, and has not developped a true modern standard due to the lack of political support) – from Modern Standard English in any of its national varieties. It's very closely related genetically (even more so than, say, Yola is to Standard English), but (especially broad) Scots is very distinctive in comparison to Standard British English and there is no meaningful way of classifying Scots as a "form" or even dialect of English, unless you use "English" to mean Anglic as a whole (which would include Yola, for example), not just Standard English.
Anyway, I agree with Ceartas that its mention is unfortunate, and could mislead the reader into believing that the common prejudice that Scots is "just a funny accent of English" is valid. I think it would be a good idea to point out that Scottish English is indeed a variety of Standard English comparable with American or Australian English, but Scots – insofar it is still used as a written language – is on a completely different level. At the time when Scotland was still a separate nation, American, Australian etc. English did not exist yet, not as written standards and – at least in the early 16th century, before written Scots increasingly began to be influenced by written English – not even as groups of spoken dialects. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 17:56, 22 October 2011 (UTC)

I am about to delete the reference to Scots. If anyone wants to discuss the pluricentricity of Scots go for it. If anyone wants to discuss the extent to which Scots is or was a different dialect or language, go for it. But there are limits to how long we should endure rubbish in Wikipedia. What I deleted (which appeared at the bottom of the section on English) is reproduced below:

The pluricentrity of English is not a recent phenomenon. There is ample evidence that before the Acts of Union 1707, Scots was considered to be a language of its own, representing a separate standard language within a wider Anglic family of languages. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 124.169.141.110 (talk) 06:50, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

Bulgarian and mention of Macedonian[edit]

Macedonian is presented as one of the three dialects of Bulgarian. I am certain that this is inaccurate in every sense. I accept that the region's population has a history of having identified as Bulgarian at least in part if not whole, but never was there a standard established there whose speakers referred to it as "Macedonian region Bulgarian". Since the standardisation of Macedonian it has been referred to as Macedonian alone. If at the time there were those who referred to it as Bulgarian then the term needs to be rephrased to explain that Macedonian is historically considered a standard of Bulgarian. In Pirin Macedonia, standard Bulgarian is the language and there is no autonomous status for the local speech. In the bordering republic, it is now called Macedonian by just about everyone. Evlekis (Евлекис) (argue) 19:59, 5 September 2011 (UTC)

Explanation of why I deleted the section in English, along with the original text.[edit]

I have deleted the section on English, given that there is no cited evidence for it being a Pluricentric language. The text I deleted is reproduced in full below. Its strongest argument for describing English as being Pluricentric was given in its last paragraph re Scots, but I agree with the writer of the Talk section above on Scots that this is bafflingly self-contradictatory (as well as referring to history that is not much more recent than Chaucer).

As it stands, this article:

  • describes both Chinese and English as being Pluricentric
  • fails to mention that Mandarin and Cantonese are mutually un-intelligible
  • alludes to 'numerous differences in pronunciation, vocabulary, spelling, etc' within English
  • fails to mention that almost all people who learn English as their first language are more than 99.9% mutually intelligible.

Thus I regard this article as being grossly misleading re English, and of dubious value re other languages. Please note that non-English speakers may rely on translated versions of this page when making commercial decisions.

Machine translations, one might add. Brilliant. 89.217.3.108 (talk) 10:37, 5 May 2014 (UTC)

Disclaimer: I teach English as a Second Language school in Australia, and thus have a vested interest in de-emphasizing differences between between 'Strine and other forms of English. However, the fact of the matter is that amongst my colleagues from America, Scotland, and Canada, our accents differ less than what I have observed between Yorkshire and London, or between Tokyo and Osaka. Bottom line is that there is far less variation between 'well-educated' speakers in all countries in which English is the first-learnt language than there is between a minuscule minority of extreme examples of regional variations of English. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 202.159.137.106 (talk) 07:10, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

  • I have restored the entire section, unreferenced though it may be. The definition of pluricentricity seems to be fairly broad and diffuse: the four varieties of Serbo-Croatian are all mutually intelligible, although there are two distinct orthographies; Valencian and Catalan are much closer than British English to American English (which have far more spelling, pronunciation, usage, and grammatical differences than Valencian and Catalan); and German in its myriad variations is more uniform than is English, which has no governing body promulgating uniform standards (even German has a standards board for orthography, and the differences between Schweitzerdeutsch and Standard German are not too far apart. (There is an entire series of articles here on Wikipedia detailing differences between British English and American English. You can start with Comparison of American and British English and follow links from there. (Sorry, Australian English and all the rest have to take a back seat to the epic pissing contest between the British and the Americans over our allegedly common language.) The point is that I agree with you that this article has trouble clearly defining the term, but as it's currently constructed, English clearly belongs on the list. As you have noted, some of the languages (like "Chinese") lack mutual intelligibility, but intelligibility is not a barrier to having nominally different languages with high levels of commonality (witness the similarity between Danish, Norwegian (both forms) and Swedish); a little erasing of borders would result in a new pluricentric language, albeit one with four ISO linguistic codes). I will see if I can drag a linguistic expert over here to help with this page; until then, please don't vaporize entire sections (particularly one which is so relevant to most readers of the English Wikipedia) without a discussion first. Horologium (talk) 20:16, 24 November 2012 (UTC)
The anon IP's deletion of English was incorrect and Horologium was correct to reinsert it. Two different dictionaries of linguistics list English as the prime example of a pluricentric (Crystal) or polycentric (Matthews) language. There's not even any quibbling. --Taivo (talk) 21:05, 24 November 2012 (UTC)

OK, so English is a 'pluricentric' language. Perhaps the main problem is that pluricentricity is so vaguely defined as to not be worthy of inclusion in Wikipedia. This makes it likely that it will mislead, especially when enthusiasts delight in detailing minor differences. What would be useful would be some numerical measurements of mutual intelligibility, e.g. %spellings-in-common, %spoken-sentences-completely-understood. Pluricentricity does not, afaik, allow any sort of Ockham's Razor analysis; instead, one can only do a case-by-case description of spellings, pronunciations (regional/national/socioeconomic), variant meanings, national institutes of language, historical developments, etc etc. We are wasting time on a definition-debate - solution: delete the entire article as not being sufficiently noteworthy.

The article grossly fails Wikipedia standards when it says:

Other varieties of English, including Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian English, are taught to those wishing to reside in or do business with those particular countries but are far less common in the instruction of general English classes internationally.

Strewth! Don't come the raw prawn with me! (Translation = The quoted paragraph would be hilarious except that some might take it at face value.) I wonder if any US TV viewer of Paul Hogan saying 'We'll throw another shrimp on the barbie' or a UK TV viewer of Barry Crocker talking about 'pointing Percy at the porcelain' would actually feel panicked enough to retrain in English so that they can communicate with Australians? If anyone can actually cite such a course I would be fascinated to learn of it, meanwhile I have replaced that par with something more sensible. Meanwhile, I find Cricket to be even more opaque (e.g. 'bowling a maiden over to silly mid-on') - my serious point being that English variants reflect cultural variations more than linguistic variations eh. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 124.169.141.110 (talk) 05:25, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

Since "pluricentric" is included with a clear definition in standard linguistics dictionaries, then its inclusion in Wikipedia is appropriate. I don't know what you find confusing about the definition, it's fairly straightforward--a language with multiple national standards. There is no implication that those national standards have to have limited mutual intelligibility. Sometimes the national standards are due to a high degree of competitive nationalism (as with Serbo-Croatian language) and sometimes not (as with English language), but that's rather irrelevant to the definition. I fixed the edits about English. While there is a high degree of mutual intelligibility between the national standards, there is much less mutual intelligibility between regional, non-standard, dialects. After listening to the same video of Tangiermen talking to one another for nearly 20 years, I still don't know what they are saying. The same goes for videos of speakers of Aberdeen English at the fish market. --Taivo (talk) 11:32, 28 November 2012 (UTC)
Thanks Taivo. I must confess an unscholarly irritation with those dictionaries, and suspect that their editors heard a new invented jargon and decided that their tome would be more worthy if it included everything. In the absence of any evidence of 'pluricentricity' being useful, I still question whether it is noteworthy enough for an encyclopedia - a dictionary yes, an encyclopedia... Taivo, the reason those Aberdeen folk were videoed was because their language was remarkably unusual. In rural SW Scotland circa 1980 I only understood about 70% of most sentences initially spoken to me, but as soon as the speaker realised I was a tourist they spoke more carefully and I could then follow them fully. And they understood my Australian as easily as they understood a London newsreader. Taivo, you changed my assertion that
Mutual intelligibility is very high: apart from occasionally-encountered variations of meaning, virtually all native English listeners can understand almost all native English speakers. There are some dialectal varieties of English within these areas, but such differences negligible amongst well-educated speakers.
to your
There is much dialectal variation within these areas, but amongst well-educated speakers the standards are nearly completely mutually intelligible.
Taivo, could you please explain how my assertion is incorrect? Perhaps there are two separate issues: dialectal variation spoken at home / amongst peers, and mutual intelligibility? I am not qualified re what constitutes a dialect (is anyone?), but I've travelled a bit, and I have only ever had negligible miscommunications with other native English speakers which are on a par with miscommunication that I could have with, e.g., a petrol-head from my own city. Is that not your experience? If so, could you please write something to that effect? My main issue is that articles such as this one have two types of readers: native speakers who are fascinated by unusual differences, and non-English speakers who are reading this article via Google Translate, seeking to understand how much variation they actually need to deal with. (I first chanced upon this article when seeking to understand how mutually intelligible are various versions of Spanish.) One bottom line is that, perhaps because of global consumption of video media and spell-checkers, English is remarkably uniform, probably more so than any other language ever. And I think that fact should be conveyed. The fact that there are disappearing outposts of quaint dialects that are only spoken between peers should not dominate the fact of the remarkable uniformity of English. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 123.243.24.38 (talk) 00:01, 29 November 2012 (UTC)
I remain unhappy with Taivo's
There is much dialectal variation within these areas, but amongst well-educated speakers the standards are nearly completely mutually intelligible.
my complaint is that it misleads by leading with 'much dialectical variation', when in fact the headline should be the homogeneity of that standard forms that are understood by virtually all listeners and which can be spoken by most speakers. So I have changed it to:
Each variety of English has a small vocabulary of words peculiar to their country or social group; in most cases the speaker knows that an outsider may not understand those particular words or phrases. Within the UK and the USA there are areas where speakers have strong regional accents and (to a less extent) grammatical variations, and an outsider may find it very difficult to understand two such speakers talking between themselves; such speakers may find difficulties in making themselves understood to an outsider not familiar with the dialect. However, almost all native English speakers can completely understand the standard forms of American English, British English, Canadian English, Australian English, and New Zealand English, and most native English speakers can make themselves understood in one of the standard forms. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 124.168.182.131 (talk) 02:08, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
This article isn't about "dialect variation" or the details thereof. Your assertion that all dialects are nearly perfectly intelligible with each other is completely wrong and not based on actual fact. The facts are exactly as I have stated them--that within each region, there is much dialect diversity, but between educated speakers of the standard dialects there is a very high degree of mutual intelligibility. I challenge you to listen to Tangiermen speak to one another and understand any of it. You won't. I challenge you to listen to native speakers in the fish markets in Aberdeen and understand more than just a tiny bit. You simply don't know what you are talking about in terms of dialect diversity in English. But this article isn't about dialect diversity other than the broad statement I have written. English is cited as the quintessential pluricentric language in reliable sources. That's the important thing here, not whether you think that speakers can understand one another or not in all circumstances. I don't really care whether or not you approve of the linguistic dictionaries which are reliable sources. They are reliable sources and that's the only thing that matters. Crystal is one of the foremost linguists in the UK, so doubting him is like doubting Stephen Hawking when it comes to physics. It doesn't matter what you personally think. --Taivo (talk) 04:11, 2 December 2012 (UTC)
Sigh, Taivo, it would help if you read and engage with what I actually wrote - I have not asserted that "all dialects are nearly perfectly intelligible with each other" - I already wrote that outsiders may not be able to understand two dialect speakers speaking dialect. Again as I wrote before, to avoid misleading ESL readers, we need to distinguish between the mutual intelligibility between the standard forms of English that can be spoken by virtually all native English speakers, and the mutual intelligibility between rare and extreme forms of dialects. Q1: Is it not true that the standard forms are both pluricentric and virtually completely mutually intelligible? Q2: Is it not true that mutually intelligible versions of the standard forms are spoken at home by the vast majority of native English speakers? Q3: Is it not true that dialect speakers such as your 500 Tangiermen can make themselves understood via a sufficiently close approximation to a standard form? Q4: If so, then how does it not mislead to lead with "There is much dialectal variation" rather than the leading with the remarkable homogeneity of the (pluricentric) the standard forms spoken by the vast majority?
You have not engaged with what I actually wrote, so I have rolled back your rollback - it is better to be verbose than mislead. I do not doubt that what I wrote could be better and more tersely written, but my verbosity was in response to you undoing my previous clarification - you did not detail your objections to my terser version, so I added more detail to be non-controversial, but you rolled that back as well with a comment indicating insufficient comprehension. Ego-less editing, please.
btw, as above, I accept sourcing from a dictionary. However, a dictionary's task is to be comprehensively inclusive (including obscure terminology), while an encyclopedia's main task is to provide informative balanced coverage (rather than be mislead by rarities given too many words). We are editing Wikipedia, not Wikidictionary, so I remain doubtful about the relevance of the whole article. Whether or not the whole article remains, no part of it should mislead. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 124.149.39.20 (talk) 06:39, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
Q1: True: the standard forms are highly mutually intelligible. Q2: False, standard forms are not spoken by the vast majority of speakers, local dialects are the most widely spoken at home. Whatever makes you actually think that standard dialects are spoken in homes? That's not true of any pluricentric language or any language with any level of dialect diversity. Q3: The issue isn't whether people practice diglossia, but the issue of dialect diversity. Q4: It is not misleading to state that there is a great deal of dialect diversity in English because there is. The standard forms are highly intelligible, but outside the limited range of the standard forms there is a great deal of diversity and a much lower level of comprehensibility especially when dealing with forms beyond the neighboring varieties. The impression that you are pushing is that English is somehow quite uniform across its range. It is not. I don't understand why you are opposed to the truth about English. And there is absolutely NO misleading in what I've written. It is better to have a short, accurate summary statement in this article than to have a verbose inaccurate statement that misleads into readers thinking that there is less dialect diversity in English than there actually is. I'm not editing by ego, so you need to remember WP:AGF. You simply keep pushing a vision of English as somehow more uniform than it actually is. --Taivo (talk) 07:23, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
Cheers Taivo, lets both WP:AGF. Re Q2, I agree that local dialects are the most widely spoken at home, but that was not what I meant, so I'll try rephrasing with Q2a: Is it not true that local dialects which are mutually intelligible with the standard forms are spoken at home by the vast majority of native English speakers?
Your answer to my Q3 is the heart of it. I disagree that diglossia is not an issue, and I do not think it is up to you to rule on whether diglossia / capacity for wider communication is relevant.
Re Q4, the issue is one of emphasis. I accept that if one is to include 500 Tangiermen isolated on an island for hundreds of years and ignore their diglossia then there is "much dialectal variation", in the sense of extremes of variation. But, when you consider that the population of Tangiermen is 0.0001% of native speakers, then "much" ...? And having that clause first? I guess that if we have to confine ourselves to a single sentence, then we should aim to indicate the extent of the spectrum of Scottish dialects, in which case I think the metrics are rather less than many other situations in which the vague term 'dialect' is used. (My thinking here is that the Scottish range of variation is about as broad a range as is numerically significant, but I stand to be corrected. Jamaican?) If I am correct in thinking that the spectrum of Scottish dialects is not as broad as other accepted uses of the term 'dialect', then IMHO you should avoid saying that there is "much dialectical variation" without clarification. Pro tem, I'll change the 'much' to 'significant', re-order, and change 'well-educated' to 'educated' (given that the vast majority of native english speakers get enough education for completely adequate diglossia). The sentence is now clunky, but briefer than my previous clarification.
Bottom line: diglossia / capacity for wider communication is numerically and commercially far more important than dwindling dialects, and is an important aspect of pluricentricity - e.g. some pluricentric languages are held together as the same 'language' because of diglossia with a prestige form. I don't mind you indicating just how different the Tangiermen are, but if you insist on a phrase that incorporates such rare extremes then I insist that you provide enough clarification so that, e.g., an ESL reader can make sensible decisions re language acquisition. btw, as far as I can see, all the 'false claims' you allege I have made are actually the result of you not understanding what I meant, so I hope we can achieve higher mutual intelligibility. E.g. before you again leap to the conclusion that I have made a false claim, could you please re-read to see if there is another interpretation of what I have written that you might agree with. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 124.169.0.207 (talk) 23:32, 3 December 2012 (UTC)
This now appears to be resolved. My 3rd attempt was the self-described "pro tem" "clunky":
Educated native English speakers using their version of one of the standard forms of English are nearly completely mutually intelligible to each other, but there are significant dialectal variations in the language used between peers, even amongst native English speakers.
which Taivo changed (with the Edit Summary: "Simplified and clarified". ('Clarified'?!))
Educated native English speakers using their version of one of the standard forms of English are nearly completely mutually intelligible to each other, but there are significant dialectal variations between non-standard forms.
I'm happy to leave it at that. The whole section now looks like this:
, so at least the egregious / misleading claims have been removed/clarified. The reason for this additional Talk comment is that I feel that I had to work unduly hard to get valid points considered, and it really has put me off Wikipedia. This is largely my own fault - deleting an entire section without bothering to create an account is probably raising a red flag, and the way Taivo was asked to help would not have kindly disposed him/her to me. Sorry guys, I'll create an account if I return to Wiki editing, and thanks Horologium for doing the obvious thing. I guess my 2nd newbie mistake was to not look at Taivo's home page until just now. I have left some comments there, because I suspect that the feedback may be useful.
btw, I remain doubtful that this article on Pluricentric language should exist as anything more than a dictionary definition. Notwithstanding the Dunning–Kruger effect (my main field has been IT analysis and biology, with languages as a side-interest), I suggest that most of the content of this article should be farmed out to the individual language articles. The reason for this is that I guess Pluricentricity is a useful taxonomic device but a counter-productive analytical device. My reason for thinking it is counter-productive is that pluricentricity can operate independently in at least 3 independent dimensions, i.e.: spelling, vocabulary, & grammar, with each dimension having many different environmental factors and evolutionary histories. Given the insufficient sample size of sufficiently similar conditions, this means that pluricentricity probably can't be used to to make predictions, let alone test them so as to check whether any predictions are usefully reliable. Instead, I suspect one is reduced to using Pluricenticity as a taxonomic framework for discussing issues that actually need to be discussed case-by-case (because I suspect that for every example of an alleged tendency of some combination of the pluricentric dimensions, there will be enough counter-examples to require endless caveats re that alleged tendency). Maybe there will be some citation inches in it, but I reckon it sounds like dodgy science, dodgy analysis, and spreading knowledge too thin (if we have the same information repeated in different articles, it is harder to keep them accurate). Could some expert confirm that there are enough papers re pluricentric languages (beyond dictionary definitions) to justify its existence on WP? Meanwhile, I do apologise for being so curmudgeonly as to delete the entire English section, notwithstanding that it was un-cited and full of errors.
And while we are at it, the definition consists solely of:
A pluricentric language or polycentric[1][2] language is a language with several standard versions, both in spoken and in written forms. This situation usually arises when language and the national identity of its native speakers do not, or did not, coincide.
Perhaps someone could clarify that "both" - can it include "either/or"? (Chinese is considered pluricentric in its written forms, but is described as different languages in many of its spoken forms. And is the opposite true re Serbo - Croat?) Similarly, afaik, "several" should be changed to "two or more". Also, to help newbies like me, it might help to discuss how e.g. British English and Australian English are regarded by the experts as being 'different versions of a language', despite that there are probably more differences between northern UK English and London English than there are between London English and Australian English. Come to think of it, perhaps not even the definition should remain as a separate article, but instead be defined in articles re language, dialect, and standard languages. Will consolidation be the next phase of WP, or will it die of fragmentation like a universe that expands so much it runs out of enthalpy?

I'm dubious that this concept exists. Isn't every language pluricentric?[edit]

I speak a few languages and I've learned bits of maybe twenty languages and I've never encountered a language that wouldn't fit this articles floppy criteria of being pluricentric.

Even the smallest language, spoken on just one little island, will have a difference between the northerners and the southerners.

What is the actual criteria for being pluricentric, and where are the examples of languages that are monocentric? Thanks. Gronky (talk) 08:11, 27 November 2013 (UTC)

There are really many non-pluricentric ones. Any language that is not standardized or has only one standardized version is not pluricentric. --JorisvS (talk) 10:03, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
So, for a start, German should be removed from the page. It has one standardised spelling and no standardised pronunciation. I've added your criteria and removed German. More removals to follow. Can you add the many non-pluricentric languages to this section: Pluricentric_language#Examples_of_non-pluricentric_languages. (I'll take a break now to give others time to think about this.) Thanks. Gronky (talk) 10:14, 27 November 2013 (UTC)
There are numerous papers on German as a pluricentric language. In the linguistics it is rather uncontroversial conclusion that German is a pluricentric language. See German as a pluricentric language pp. 20-65
Hier a definition of pluricentric language from a German linguistic lexicon:
“Sprache mit mehreren nationalen Standardvarietäten, die sich zwar in einzelnen Punkten unterscheiden, aber nicht so stark, dass sie eigenständige Sprachen konstituieren würden, z.B. Englisch (britisches, amerikanisches, australisches usw. Standardenglisch), Deutsch (deutsches, österreichisches, Schweizer Standarddeutsch), Portugiesisch (portugiesisches, brasilianisches Standardportugiesisch).” (Glück H., Metzler Lexikon Sprache, Stuttgart/Weimar, 2000, p. 535.)
I hope it's more clear now.--Darigon Jr. (talk) 16:47, 28 November 2013 (UTC)
Ok, so the definition requires that multiple countries have made independent standards for the language. At least that's a concrete criteria. So German is back in, but now Catalan, Galician, Armenian, Komi, and many others in the "Others" section should be removed, right?
To clean up this article, we need to find a definition and apply it. Gronky (talk) 06:01, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
There is a well known book on pluricentric languages. In it you can find a definition, the history of the theory of pluricentric languages and the description of many pluricentric languages including Armenian.--Darigon Jr. (talk) 07:37, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
I won't find time to read it, but I hope that someone who's read it or generally knows this topic can improve this article. I'm not here as an expert in pluricentrism, or even a linguist, I'm just a language enthusiast who reads Wikipedia a lot, so I can point out when articles don't make sense, or have contradictions internally or with other articles on Wikipedia.
Can you (or anyone reading this) add a firm definition to the introduction of this article, with references, so that others can at least apply the definition and add and remove languages from the list? Gronky (talk) 07:48, 29 November 2013 (UTC)
Catalan has multiple standards, too, see Valencian. The minor difference with languages such as English, German, Spanish etc. is that these are between political entities within the same sovereign state. --JorisvS (talk) 18:33, 1 December 2013 (UTC)
Ok, but how do we improve the article? Gronky (talk) 10:06, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
I've tackled the lead. --JorisvS (talk) 12:10, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
And to add some examples of non-pluricentric languages, are Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Danish, Polish all acceptable? Gronky (talk) 12:22, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

Should be renamed "Linguistic pluricentrism"[edit]

The more I look into this, I think the problem with this article is that title suggests that languages are either pluricentric, or they're not. But when I try to apply this to individual languages, I find arguments for and against:

  • German: one could argue it has a monocentric spelling. The spelling is regulated by an international organisation, composed of the German speaking countries and regions. (Then there's the counter argument that because Switzerland doesn't use the "ß", there are indeed two standards, but that's really making a mountain out of a molehill.) But for pronunciation, Austria has its own, so it would be easy to argue that the pronunciation is pluricentric. (But a counter argument is that there are zero official standards for German pronunciation, so it's back to being monocentric.)
  • Dutch: Belgium and the Netherlands (not to mention other Dutch-speaking countries) have markedly different pronunciations, and slightly different grammar (conjugated verb order) and vocabularies. But the spelling and certain grammar points are officially standardised by the TaalUnie.
  • Portuguese: A single unified spelling, but that single standard allows some words to be spelled a Portuguese way or a Brazilian way, so is it really unified?
  • ...

I'll stop there, but I could easily continue adding languages or developing the arguments, counter-arguments, and counter-counter-arguments for each. Trying to categorise languages as being either pluricentric or not is a fool's errand.

But the concept does have some merit (and it is indeed used by some linguists), so deletion would also be wrong.

What do others think of renaming this to "Linguistic pluricentrism", so that it's clearer we're talking about a spectrum and subjective application rather than just building a list of "These languages are pluricentric" ? Gronky (talk) 19:11, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

The article should just state how linguists have used the concept, including which languages have been called pluricentric, why and by whom. It should not state that some languages are or arent pluricentric, especially not using Original Research. The title should be whatever appears most frequetly in reliable sources.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 19:41, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
Since the article is almost completely without references, that would involve deleting everything and starting again. I think that's a bad idea. (And I don't have time or the interest to rewrite the article.) The current pile of original research is a better starting point than a blank page. At least we have some ideas for what claims we can look for references for.
But the title gives the wrong impression. It's causing contributors to add languages as if compiling a list of pluricentric languages. I think the quickest way to get to where you say the article should be, is to make slight changes such as the title, and let everyone improve the current text. "Linguistic pluricentrism" (or "linguistic polycentrism") is indeed used by linguists. Gronky (talk) 09:53, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
The titles of reliable linguistic books and papers include the term "pluricentric languages" Clyne, Muhr, so the article should not be renamed.--Darigon Jr. (talk) 11:06, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
Ok. That's a good reason to do nothing. Got any ideas for how to help? Gronky (talk) 11:48, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
I made a few changes in the lead in accordance with a reliable source and added references.--Darigon Jr. (talk) 12:01, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
Excellent. (Sorry if my comment sounded a bit snappy, and thanks for not reacting to that.) I'm gonna take a break, but I'll try to come back in a few days/weeks and review the body of the article while reading some reference works. It would also be good if the article had a section about what it means for a language to be pluricentric - is it as yes/no thing, where do experts disagree, etc. Gronky (talk) 13:24, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
As per my comments at the end of the previous section, I think the essential problem is the relevance and competence of the academics who published re pluricentricity. Personally I think other academics should point out how pluricentricity is a poorly defined terminology that confuses rather than assists analysis, but until such time, WP requires that we follow scholarly work. If anyone can find such academic criticism, I think it would be useful to flag at the start of the article that the whole topic is considered by some to be a waste of time, and misleading for many practical intents, such as students choosing language schools. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 124.168.171.80 (talk) 23:31, 3 June 2014 (UTC)