List of prestige dialects

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A prestige dialect is the dialect that is considered most prestigious by the members of that speech community. In nearly all cases, the prestige dialect is also the dialect spoken by the most prestigious members of that community, often the people who have political, economic, or social power.


  • Arabic – In the Arab League countries, Modern Standard Arabic is considered the H-language, or high-prestige language. In contrast to most prestige dialects, it is not used in day-to-day conversation, but rather as a language of the political/social media programs and as a written language. If someone speaks it in streets and regular conversations, people will laugh about it.[1]


  • Chinese:
    • Cantonese - Considered the prestige dialect of Yue Chinese variants, based on the dialect of Guangzhou and surrounding areas, including Hong Kong and Macau.[2]
    • Mandarin - Specifically the standard variant based on the Beijing dialect. There are significant differences in the way this standard is defined between The People's Republic of China and Taiwan.


  • Dutch - Standard Dutch is considered most prestigious when no clear traces of a speaker's dialect can be recognised.[3]





  • Tamil - in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Sri Lanka and Singapore. High prestige dialect is Senthamizh, the proper and standard form, which is also widely used in literature, newspapers and formal documents, as well as on the Internet. Colloquial dialects differ with region and vary less from the standard form. Colloquial dialects contain loan words, slang words and heavy use of English and Hindi words instead of standard Tamil, and are used only in conversations.
  • Telugu – The standard form is based on the dialect and accent as spoken in Krishna District. In Hyderabad, the Telugu is heavily influenced by Urdu[7]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Germanus, the orientalist who loved Koran & Arabic language#The love of Arabic languuge “‘Germanus’ [...] looked forward to Cairo, to be entertained by listening the (Classical) Arabic language [...] He was shocked [...] for who were laughing at him for his speaking in (Classical) Arabic and they answered him back with vernacular vocabulary...”
  2. ^ Norman (1988), p. 215.
  3. ^ M. van der Wal, Geschiedenis van het Nederlands, 1992. ISBN 90-274-1839-X
  4. ^ Wilson, Kenneth G (1993). The Columbia Guide to Standard American English. New York: Columbia University Press. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Leo P. Chall (1961). Sociological abstracts. Sociological Abstracts. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  7. ^ Dictionary of Languages: The Definitive Reference to More Than 400 Languages By Andrew Dalby, Columbia University Press, page no. 301, ISBN 0-231-11569-5
  8. ^ a b Miriam Butt (1995). The structure of complex predicates in Urdu. Center for the Study of Language and Information. p. 8. Retrieved 31 December 2011. The Urdu spoken in Lucknow is held to be the representative of pure Urdu. 
  9. ^ a b Anwar S. Dil (1965). Studies in Pakistani linguistics. Linguistic Research Group of Pakistan. Retrieved 31 December 2011. However, the dialect which enjoys the highest prestige is the Delhi-Lucknow Urdu. 
  10. ^ a b Christopher Rolland King (9 December 1999). One language, two scripts: the Hindi movement in nineteenth century north India. Oxford University Press. p. 24. Retrieved 31 December 2011. A line of major Urdu poets arose in Delhi and continued well into the nineteenth century, while somewhat later poets in the eastern UP city of Lucknow began to rival their colleagues in Delhi.