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The author of this seems to think that non-standardness is an essential part of the definition of dialect. My understanding of the way linguists will use this term is that that is not part ct".

I prefer the definitions:

"A dialect is a variety spoken by a geographically defined speech community."
"A sociolect is a variety spoken by a socially defined speech community."

-- Ruhrjung 05:35 9 Jun 2003 (UTC)

Dialects have not died out in France. If you click on the Occitan link you wil discover it's still widely spoken. Perhaps another country could be adduced as an example, or the statement could be clarified. Trontonian

Since it hasn't been clarified, I removed this bit: "In many countries dialects pretty much died out, for example in France, where many dialects and languages like Occitan (once a literary language) were spoken." Dialects are widespread in France, as are other languages. Breton, Basque, Alsatian, Corsican, and Flemish are widely spoken. Alsatian is often considered to be a dialect, come to think of it, and it could be argued that Flemish is one. Trontonian

I have read that linguistics (maybe not sociolinguistics) refers to varieties of language, whose variations may be shared by members of similar class or education level (the sociolect or social dialect of above) or by members a certain region or town (the traditional dialect). The standard variety of a language is considered a dialect along with less prestigious varieties.

Your socalled "valid" information does not help to understand the problem, it only confuses. Read the Abstandsprache, Ausbausprache, Dachsprache concept and try to understand it and you will learn that it works very well. Get aout of you language closet! (User:, unsigned)

English-speaking linguists don't use those words, and they don't define 'dialect' in the way you want them to. Salsa Shark 02:31, 28 Jan 2004 (UTC)
Search Google for ausbausprache or ausbau language in english texts and you will find they do, even if it's only a few educated linguists and not ordinary people, e.g.:
Nationmaster is a copy of Wikipedia contents, thus you can also quote Language (or maybe an old edit, in case that fact was deleted in the meantime). andy 11:26, 28 Jan 2004 (UTC) indicates that Ausbausprache is a german word often used by english speaking linguists.

The dutch wikipedia site nl:Standaardtaal uses the Abstanssprache/Ausbausprache/Dachsprache/dialect-continuum-concept without naming the german terms. This concept was developped mainly to explain why Dutch and German are two different languages and why many German dialect are not, even though many German dialects differ more from standard German as the Dutch languages does. This concept today is used to solve many disputes about the question what is a "language" and what is a "dialect", e.g in the case of Scotts, Galego, the french based languages spoken on the channel-island and so on. PLEASE restrain your preconceptions against Germans and German scholarship!

I will continue to label your work as vandalism, for the following reasons.

1. Your argumentative tone ("Dialect IS a linguistic term ...") and your use of "if only" in the last paragraph are not only unscholarly, but violate the neutral point of view espoused by Wikipedia. Such comments are fully appropriate for your own user page (of course you haven't got one - you haven't got the guts to sign in with a proper user name, so of course you haven't got a user page) but they have no place in an article. I will continue to delete such subjective arguments.

2. Your accusation that I - and others who are "watching" this article - are harbouring "preconceptions about Germans and German scholarship" proves to me that YOU are NOT a scholar. Your accusation is completely false. In a lot of ways, I consider myself to be pro-German - and I see nothing wrong with the Abstanssprache/Ausbausprache/Dachsprache concept AS A USEFUL TOOL for analyzing the dialect/language problem. However, it is NOT the only possible frame of reference. It is good - as far as it goes. Other frames of reference yield different results, however. To say that only the Abstanssprache/Ausbausprache/Dachsprache paradigm is correct is a subjective judgement, not an objective fact, and should not be presented as a fact.

3. I have read the associated articles. There is nothing wrong with the concept as an analytical tool akin to a measuring device. When you measure something, do you use inches or centimeters? They yield different results, don't they? But neither renders the other invalid. Likewise, there are a number of tools for analyzing the relationship between dialects and languages. They give different results that are not directly comparable. *That is a major part of why the distinction between a language and a dialect is a very subjective one.

As I said, the paradigm you shared has its merits. I would hope that somebody (maybe even you) will incorporate it into the article, along with the other analytical tools that are discussed. If nobody else does it, I'll do it myself when I can squeeze in the time over the next few days. (David Cannon 28 January 2004 02.30am)

could you explain how the Abstanssprache/Ausbausprache/Dachsprache categorization system applies to Chinese. Mandarin is clearly a Dachsprache, but I have no idea how say Cantonese, Min-Nan, and Shanghaiese fit into the system. -- User:Roadrunner
It only fits in this categorization because originally it was used only as a written language in a form of writing, that does not tell anything about the pronunciation. Like 2+2=4 can be unterstood by everybody, who uses western numbers, Chinese characters can be used by everybody, who ever learned them, all the same how they are pronunced. Many Japanese can read a text written in Chinese characters, without having leanred Chinese at all, only because the same characters are also used as "Kanji" in the Japanese writing system. Therefore replacing traditional Chinese writing by the much easier Pinyin system would destroy Chinese unity and Cantonese cold not be seen as a dialect of Mandarin, because it is so different, thus a Abstandsprache. Shanghaiese is not that different, it could be integrated in a system written in Pinyin, as Swiss dialects are intergrated in the Standart German system. Vietnamese adopted a latin based spelling system in order not to be incorporated into "Chinese" and Korean developes "Hangul" for the same reason. Both Vietnamese and Korean are Abstandsprachen in regard to "Chinese". The Chinese writing system in a way can work like a programming language, which can easily used by speakers of different languages.

Reading the Dutch (nl:Dialect) and German (de:Dialekt) article about dialect may be VERY helpful. With the obove mentioned concept the long lasting confict if Dutch is a German dialect was solved! [[]]

For your information, I'm not even American - as you would know if you had bothered to check my user page. Irrelevant controversies such as the Iraq War have NO bearing on a discussion of linguistics, and give the appearance of a man grasping for straws. Stop bringing up irrelevant side-issues. (David Cannon)Davidcannon 19:21, 28 Jan 2004 (UTC)

Thanks for the rearrangment, incorporating and giving equal preference to the viewpoints of numerous contributors. Sometimes a hardy controversy may result in a better mutual understanding of different viewpoints. "The evil vandalizer"

  • Thank you, too. I'm sorry I called you a vandal - I no longer think you were. Just a passionate person who got a bit carried away; I can see that I got a bit carried away, too. Yes, vigorous debates can eventually lead to a more comprehensive article, too. Again, I'm sorry I used the word "vandal" too carelessly. (David CannonDavidcannon 02:07, 29 Jan 2004 (UTC))

Hey folks. I just wanted to point out, in this bit:

Parallel examples abound. Macedonian, although mutually intelligible with Bulgarian and often considered to be a Bulgarian dialect, is touted by Macedonian nationalists as a language in its own right. Taiwanese nationalists make similar claims for Taiwanese to be recognized as a language, rather than a Mandarin dialect.

This is misleading. You begin by talking about Bulgarian and Macedonian being mutually intelligible languages/dialects, and then go on to suggest that Mandarin and Taiwanese are similar. This is not correct. If anything, this parallelism could only be used to suggest the dynamic nature of the dialect/ language divide: that is, Macedonian/Bulgarian -- considered seperate languages for political reasons, in fact very closely related, and Taiwanese/Mandarin -- considered dialects for political reasons, but in fact not more closely related than French and Spanish and certainly not mutually intelligible.

Further, no one has ever suggested that Taiwanese is a dialect of Mandarin; even the very pro-Mandarin ROC government does not suggest this. Rather, it is suggested that Taiwanese (and Cantonese, Shanghainese, Hakka, etc) are all dialects of an overarching 'Chinese Language' with anchors in a common written form. Whether or not this is true is more a question of politics than Linguistics, of course -- as is pretty much any argument about languages and dialects, as this article demonstrates quite well.

At any rate, I would suggest that someone clarify that Mandarin is not to Taiwanese as Bulgarian is to Macedonian, which is currently being (falsely) implied.

Latin languages are very easy to learn by Latin language speakers[edit]

Only a person that isn’t a Latin speaker believes that the Latin language are the same. They are not; thought a cult Latin speaker can easily read any Latin language. In the past few days I attested that when I’ve read Occitan and another language of France (I would NOT consider it a dialect!!!) that I don’t even remember its name. I’ve never eared that language and I didn’t know its existence. Thought I could understand most of it. Why… because we all have the same origin. And because of Etymology, the written languages are similar cause they are based on Latin. We in Portugal write and speak differently. We write “ouro” (gold). Doubt we say (in my region) “ourum” (in English would sound like awooroong) though “awoouroo” is also valid, and in Spanish is “oro” (sounds like awraw) In the writen language, Ouro is very similar to Oro. But is spoken very differently. We really only use the O in the end, just because we had make it always. I thing is also almost impossible that two speakers from different Lantin languages don’t understand something of those languages. If they say that is it probably a nationalist/regional pride or lack of interest in understanding. Between Portuguese and Spanish. This is what happens:

  • A Spanish speaker can easily read Portuguese
  • A Portuguese speaker can easily read Spanish
  • A Spanish speaker normally gets confused with the sounds of Portuguese and doesn’t understand half of the conversation. If he is smart and interested he could understand most of it, but will have difficulty to do the Portuguese sounds and use proper portuguese grammar.
  • A Portuguese speaker understands Spanish. Some call it “simplified Portuguese”, or Portuguese as “complex Spanish”. Or say that Spaniards are lying when they say that don’t understand them.

Because Latin languages are so connected some stronger languages declare the others are dialects of it. And start a real dialectization of that language. Others that are the same language are declared different, by the same reason. For me a dialect is a slit different pronunciation, some different words and some small different grammatical differences. At least is what we use in Portugal, Brazil, São Tomé, Angola and others (locally speaking, we only declare Brazilian and São tomense as a variety, and this varieties and the other are composed with dialects).

Portuguese dialects are fully understandable locally and by other Portuguese-speaking country, with some rare exceptions - some say that dont understand any dialect of the other because of Pride Portugal-Brazil Angola-Mozambique (false unintelligible dialects), dought when speakers of the other dialects are put in the environment of the other, they dont say that. Others like Açoriano (Azorian) are really difficult to understand for other dialects, but it is because of the strong and different accent and not words or grammar. Portuguese dialects normally form a continuum of very small differences from the neighbour dialect, and to very different dialect. In Portugal Transmontano-Açoriano In Brazil: N ordestino-Gaúcho. The link dialects between Portugal and Brazil (form a continuum by the north of Brazil (Nortenho or Alto-Minhoto or Beirão to Nordestino) by the south of Brazil (Estremenho - Carioca) = Lisbon - Rio de JaneiroPedro 20:42, 10 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Couldn't Spanish and Portuguese be considered a language continuum?
I think language continuum implies a smooth transition from one language to the next. This might be true in some parts of Portugal, but from what I've read and heard (I've only ever been to Brazil, and it is my second language so I can't say for sure), the northern dialects tend to show a smoother trasition to Spanish, but if you went from Lisbon to Madrid, you would find a pretty sharp line weaving in and out of the border. Pedro makes a good point that within Portuguese there are communication difficulties springing from the dialectual differences. Middle class people from Rio sometimes have a hard time understanding working class bahianos, which isn't that far off geographically. I understand that the same situation exists in the spanish speaking world. It makes me wonder about people who lump Italian, Spanish and Portuguese into one big language without considering the complexities involved. Kyle543 18:52, Apr 21, 2005 (UTC)
Language continuum doesn't necessarily imply a smooth transition but it does imply a series of small steps from one end of the geographical area of the continuum to the other. There is a Romance continuum across southwestern Europe from northern France to southern Italy. and from western Portugal to eastern Switzerland. This doesn't imply that French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian are mutually intelligible but it does imply that the people living just north of the French/Spanish border speak a Romance dialect which is mutually intelligible with the one spoken by people living just south of the border. -- Derek Ross | Talk 05:11, 2 July 2006 (UTC)


Would Frisian really be part of the Dutch-Low German-German continuum? As far as I have understood it, it is quite different, although it has borrwed a lot of vocabulary from these aforementioned languages..

Dialect and Sociolect[edit]

The article explicily distingiushes dialect (geographically determined) from sociolect (detmined by 'social stratum') - yet in almost the same breath defines Black American English as a dialect (rather than a sociolect). Would it not be better to allow a more general definition of dialect (eg. variety of language used by people from a particular region or a particular social background) that would allow Black American English to fit the definition?

p.s The second paragraph insists that dialect is oral and verbal. However clearly there are dialects in Deaf Sign Languages - Australian Sign Language (Auslan) has at least two.

Would regular contributors to this page like to incorporate these observations or allow me to make the neccessary changes? -- ntennis 15 Mar 2005

No offense intended, Ntennis, but I (at least) missed your comment since it wasn't added at the end of the page. Of course it could be said that I was lazy when I didn't use "Page history" to find out what you'd added, but maybe I'm not the only one.
In any case, I do disagree. I think it would be more logical to add that "strictly speaking" "Black English" is not a dialect, maybe rather a sociolect, but that it actually is a bit hard to fit into the scheme — and, of course, remove the words "or a particular social background".
Anyway, yes you were and are allowed to make the change - obviously! But you must always be prepared on someone else being less considerate than you are. A certain amount of carelessness, ones one have made an addition, is only good for one's psychological wellbeing.
--Ruhrjung 08:25, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)
I've done some changes, chiefly to avoid repetition in the introduction, but I commented out Black English at the same time. Now, littering Wikipedia with html-comments is no good practice, I know, I know, but my thought (I actually had one! :-) was that it's too commonly mentioned as an example of a non-standard language, so maybe, maybe, its return to the text can be avoided if presumtive contributors (but not readers) can see the comment.
--Johan Magnus 14:06, 4 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Thanks Ruhrjung for pointing out that comments should be added to end of the page. I personally feel that the AAVE example illustrates the point well (though as mentioned above contradicts the stated definition of dialect). There should at least be some example here of a non-standard dialect. Maybe Schwyzerdütsch as a non-standard dialect of German? However for readers of an English-language article, I think the AAVE example will be immediately understood in relation to the prestige of standard English.
I still believe that the word dialect is commonly used to refer to the language of socially-defined speech communities as well as geographically defined ones - it's even used this way in this article! The concept of a prestige dialect ('standard dialect') used by instituions is one example, even if the AAVE example is removed. I've now come to believe that the best definition for dialect is already in the body of the article: the specific form of a language used by a speech community. (with it's own grammar, vocab etc). Other encyclopedias and online dictionaries seem to concur.Whaddyas think? (the very vernacular ntennis) 14:51, 4 Apr 2005 (UTC)
AAVE maybe is rather a non-standard language ? ;-)))
Any well known dialect (Texan, for instance?) would surely do as an example, don't you think?
It's for sure true that usage of terms often is indistinct in ordinary speech, and this affects Wikipedia articles too, but that is per se no reason to express a definition more vaguely.
Prestige dialects and standard dialects are geographically defined. If they are not, then one ought to find other terms for them, as for instance meso- or acrolect. (Prestige dialects aren't necessarily standarcized, but standard dialects tend to develop into prestige dialects, ahem... prestige sociolects. Yes, undoubtly, a prestige dialect must be both socially and geographically defined. Tricky, isn't it?)
--Johan Magnus 15:37, 4 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Max Weinreich[edit]

Reading the article, I found the quote on a language being a dialect which owns an army attributed to Max Weinreich. I had previously seen it attributed to Hubert Lyautey and so decided to research on books and ask some professors from my Italian university. All the sources stated that the quote is indeed by Lyautey and was used by Max Weinreich in a work, being afterwards erroneously attributed to him. I am correcting both the 'dialect', 'Hubert Lyautey' and 'Max Weinreich' articles, please contact me in casa of doubts. I tryed to act as a good-wikipedian as possible, really! :) tresoldi 16:34, 14 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Could you please provide the names of some of the sources?
Florian Laws 16:09, 12 May 2005 (CEST)
Currently the article quotes both Weinreich and Lyautey!?
--Error 21:14, 19 July 2005 (UTC)
I've edited out the redundancy and added a separate article about the origin of the aphorism. One of the reasons the confusion about its authorship has arisen is the lack of care with which people have noted Weinreich's own explicit statement of not being its originator. Unsubstantiated references to other sources will, however, do little to get the discussion back onto an objective track.
Futhark 8:50, 6 Sept 2005 (UTC)

I am rather confused. Are there any linguistics involved in this page at all??? 'Dialect' is often used as a synonym but in linguistics it does not means in itself 'regional dialect/variation'.

Even in the hit & miss world of etymology it is clear it just means divergent modes of speech.

Perhaps there a mention of this early on and the rest of the article stick to a strictly scientific use of the word? (talk) 09:45, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Italian and Spanish[edit]

The article says 'Italians and Spaniards, for example, can understand each other when speaking what are their supposedly separate "languages," whereas Lombards and Sicilians, speaking what are supposedly "dialects" of the same language, cannot.'

I know that Italians can get the drift of a spanish conversation. As in, if two spaniards are talking about the weather, an italian would know that they're talking about the weather, but maybe miss alot of the details. I've heard that this is also true between the different Italian dialects or languages, (depending on how you define them). I've even had a native Serbocroatian speaker tell me in simular words that she can sort of follow Polish, and pick out quite a bit of Russian, but I wouldn't imply, in an encyclopedia, that all Slavic languages are 'supposedly separate "languages,"'.

Either way, this paragraph more or less states that Italian and Spanish are the same language, which is very POV. As far as I can tell, there is more or less a consensus that they are seperate, distinct languges. I really wouldn't call something that unconventional encyclopedic. It does make a good point however, so if no one has any objections I'll come back next week and reword it to make it a little more neutural. Kyle543 19:18, Apr 21, 2005 (UTC)

By all means do so. David Cannon 22:48, 21 Apr 2005 (UTC)
If you don't come back shortly, I'll be forced to delete it. At the moment it's nonsense (unless I miss something, in which case it needs correction). Lombards and Sicilians are both Italians. Something's either wrong with that sentence, or the Spanish are a pretty tricky bunch. Felix the Cassowary 1 July 2005 11:53 (UTC)

The changes made to the article make it make sense, but I suspect it says nothing now. Are Sicilian and Lombard closer than Standard Italian and Standard Spanish Spanish? Sicilians and Lombards have difficulty understanding each other (talking their native dialects). Standard Italian–speakers and Standard Spanish Spanish–speakers, it seems, have difficulty understanding each other. But is the difficulty between Standard Italian and Standard Spanish Spanish less than the difficulty between Lombard and Sicilian? Unless it is, it doesn't say anything (and should be removed because it's worse than useless). If it is, it should explicitly say so. (Even if it, I don't think it's necessarily a problem with calling Lombard and Sicilian dialects of the one language and Italian and Spanish dialects of another even by mutual-intelligibility criteria, but that's a different matter and would rely on other arguments I don't have.) ~

Yes, it IS a problem with calling Lombard and Sicilian "dialects" of Italian, a BIG one. Both Sicilian and Lombard are separate languages from Italian. Sicilian has some distinct words from Italian, and Lombard is a Gallo-Romance, not an Italo-Dalmatian language like Italian. Doesn't Ethnologue recognize these and many many other so-called "dialects of Italian" as languages in their own right???Frosty 22:57, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
Sicilian is closely related to standard italian and Lombard is closely related to french.Kasumi-genx (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 16:15, 10 February 2010 (UTC).

Polysemy of 'dialect/language'[edit]

I think it's obvious from the discussion so far that the polysemy of 'dialect' and 'language' causes some confusion, and will certainly do so for non-specialist readers of the article. I suggest that the article should begin with a discussion of the various uses of the terms 'dialect' and 'language'. Both are defined in linguistics in terms of mutual-intelligibility, but are also commonly used in a political sense to show unity or diversity. The classic example of this is Chinese, which is described politically as one language with a number of dialects, whereas on linguistic grounds these 'dialects' would be considered distinct languages. - Dougg 04:41, 13 July 2005 (UTC)


Please add Category:Dialects to your favorite articles about dialects MPS 16:52, 8 March 2006 (UTC)

Divergence between national varieties of the same language[edit]

I am trying to compile a table with a subjective assessment of the degree of divergence (in vocabulary, pronunciation, spelling and/or grammar) between so-called "New World" varieties of major European languages and their source languages. For each New World language, I considered 3 modalities, respectively the standard written language, the educated colloquial spoken language, and the popular (substandard) vernacular. The degree of divergence between each of the 3 modalities and the standard variety of the respective European source language was then classified as "negligible", "low", "medium", "high" or "very high" according to the criteria explained below. I call the comparison "subjective" because it is based on somewhat impressionistic criteria as opposed to hard quantitative metrics such as correlation coefficients and so on. Here is what I could come up with so far (since it is a purely subjective comparison, please feel free to disagree/criticize it).

Source Language Regional Variants Standard Written Language Educated Colloquial Spoken Language Substandard Vernacular
Portuguese Brazil x Portugal Low Medium High
English United States x United Kingdom Low Low Medium/High (*)
French Québec x France Negligible Low/Medium Medium/High (**)
Spanish Mexico x Spain Negligible Low Low
Spanish Argentina x Spain Low Low/Medium Medium/High (***)
German Switzerland x Germany Negligible Very High Very High
Dutch South Africa x The Netherlands Very High Very High Very High

(*) Includes African American vernacular English.

(**) Includes Joual.

(***) Includes Lunfardo.

Criteria for Classification:

  1. Negligible: identical in both countries with the same spelling and grammar and a mostly common lexicon.
  2. Low: minor differences in spelling, vocabulary and grammar; in the case of spoken varieties, pronunciation may differ greatly, but differences do not preclude mutual intelligibility.
  3. Medium: broader differences in grammar and/or differences in pronunciation and/or vocabulary that might (occasionally) preclude mutual intelligibility.
  4. High: major differences in grammar and/or differences in vocabulary and pronunciation that often preclude mutual intelligibility.
  5. Very High: varieties under consideration are normally considered separate languages (e.g. spoken Swiss German in Switzerland versus standard German, or Afrikaans in South Africa versus standard Dutch).

PS: Switzerland of course is not a "New World" country, but it was included on the table out of linguistic relevance.

Argentina x Spain: High? I disagree. I've never heard of a single encounter where mutual intelligibility was precluded. I'm from Argentina and currently live in Spain and am in touch with the local "expat" community of all ways of life. User:Ejrrjs says What? 18:01, 18 May 2006 (UTC)

Sociolect vs. diglossia[edit]

Sociolect is stated to be distinct from dialect, yet the article mentions diglossia as concept within dialectology. Both seem to be about language varieties spoken by different social classes. Is there a contradiction or just a need for some clarification? --InfoCan 18:50, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

Sociolect is just a contraction of 'social dialect'. And yes, there can be instances where teh speaking of regional variations can have a social element. In English, there is a social prestige attached to standard English for many. In German, ther isn't. So, in Germany you are not necesarily working class if you speak a considerably divergent regional dialect. (talk) 09:40, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

"Dialect" is determined solely by geography?[edit]

Can't dialect also be influenced/determined by ethnicity? For example, American Black English (aka AAE, AAVE, etc.) is a consistent variety spoken in many locations. As is Hispanic English (aka Border English, Spanglish). It seems this definition is working from the notion of a dialect developed by 19th century German linguists and drawn upon by early-mid 20th century American dialectologists. However, sociolinguists and linguistic anthropologists have moved beyond this simple dialect to neatly-bounded geographical location equation.

I happen to speak English, German (also regional dialects), French, Latin and Greek (both ancient and modern) . But I have noticed that in Wikipedia, even though noone ever questions that Bavarian, Saxon and Swabian are simply dialects of the same language, even though they are not mutually intelligible, several modern Greek dialects, such as Pontic, Cypriot, Cretan, are speculated to be, not dialects, but languages, due to regional differences in their vocabulary and pronuntiation. It seems to me that this is done rather for simple political that scientific reasons, and also stated by persons who don't have a personal knowledge of the dialects, but have only heard or read about them .

REPLY: Well, there seems to be a real agenda for some people to cling onto the 19th Century notion of language versus dialect for reason of national pride or the notion of language = prestige and dialect = inferior as a matter of personal psychology. In reality, ther eis no real distinction between a language and a dialect... especially when you think that all lost most likely have a common ancestor.

The denomination of language, only really has any use when you wish to study and plot the currents of historical development... and some sociolinguistic stuff. As a paradigm for grammar, lexis and phonology etc. there is no mechanical difference. (talk) 09:38, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Definition of "Dialect"[edit]

Unfortunately, linguists have taken the common word "dialect" with a hitherto popular meaning (deviation from a standard speech ) to apply to an entire language within a geographical area. To tell someone in Oxford speaking Oxford English that he's speaking a dialect or a German in Hannover, a Swiss in Zürich or an Austrian in Vienna is tantamount to an insult.

Wikipedia is not concieved exclusively for a segment of a population trained in a certain field like linguistics. Taking this into consideration I propose to alter the definition in the article about as follows:

A significant deviation of a language is popularly known as a dialect, for example Low German is considered a dialect of High German. Since many languages simply do not have a single standard, linguists have extended this common definition to include any language in a particular geographic area which may well contain subareas. A good example is English. This means that all Americans speak a dialect and all Englishmen also speak a dialect but a different one.

Please comment.

Cakeandicecream 11:18, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

I'd be surprised if the Greek-derived learned word "dialect" had made its way from popular usage into linguistic usage. Au contraire, surely? As for "deviation": deviation from what? And as for Americans or English people each speaking "a dialect", which one might that be? Man vyi 17:43, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for your comment. Since linguists have to do with languages a "Dialect" of a language falls in their domaine. Before using such terms a definition is unavoidable. However, when a defination requires an entire article, the value of that defination is questionable. I personaly think they should look for a different term.

A "deviation" means a deviation from an accepted standard. The question is: which dialect is the standard.

Cakeandicecream 07:25, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

I'm afraid I disagree with some of the claims above. It is certainly not tantamount to an insult to tell a speaker of RP (which I suppose is what you mean by Oxford English) that he's speaking a dialect. I'd be very surprised to find such a person insulted at all. And Low German is not a dialect of High German. High and Low German are what one might call dialect groups. And do we have a source for the claim made in the article that, "In popular usage, the word "dialect" is sometimes used to refer to a lesser-known language"? If not, it'll have to be removed. garik 08:34, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

"To tell someone in Oxford speaking Oxford English that he's speaking a dialect or a German in Hannover, a Swiss in Zürich or an Austrian in Vienna is tantamount to an insult." Well, in terms of linguistics that's just tough. They do speak a dialect... we all do.

Just because the authoritarian notion of 'Standard English' pervades our primary and secondary school systems, doesn't mean that its projected role as a central source or legal superior is anything but the emperor's new clothes.

The dialects have often been around LONGER that the 'standard'. Oh and from my experience, Swiss people are rather proud of their dialects.

"Since many languages simply do not have a single standard, linguists have extended this common definition to include any language in a particular geographic area which may well contain subareas. A good example is English. This means that all Americans speak a dialect and all Englishmen also speak a dialect but a different one." THIS however is UTTER garbage. You do not NEED a 'standard language (dialect!)' to have regional dialects. It starts on the false premise that dialects are the children of a standard parent= utter drivel bordering on Victorian vanity. (talk) 09:10, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Soviet/Cyrillic Dialects[edit]

Editors of this article may be interested in the proposal for closing the Siberian Wikipedia, on which a vote is currently being held in Meta. Please, take the "Addressing sockpuppetry" warning into consideration. - Best regards, Evv 04:49, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

Just as there is the European Dialects Chart above, I thought it would be nice to see a Cyrillic language chart.

Source Language Regional Variants Standard Written Language Educated Colloquial Spoken Language Substandard Vernacular
Russian Russia x Ukraine Medium? Very High? Very High?
Russian Russia x Belarus Medium? Very High? Very High?
Russian Russia x Ukraine Medium? Very High? Very High?
'Mongolian Russia x Mongolia Very High? Very High? Very High?

Criteria for Classification:

  1. Negligible: identical in both countries with the same spelling and grammar and a mostly common lexicon.
  2. Low: minor differences in spelling, vocabulary and grammar; in the case of spoken varieties, pronunciation may differ greatly, but differences do not preclude mutual intelligibility.
  3. Medium: broader differences in grammar and/or differences in pronunciation and/or vocabulary that might (occasionally) preclude mutual intelligibility.
  4. High: major differences in grammar and/or differences in vocabulary and pronunciation that often preclude mutual intelligibility.
  5. Very High: varieties under consideration are normally considered separate languages (e.g. spoken Swiss German in Switzerland versus standard German, or Afrikaans in South Africa versus standard Dutch).

Dairyfarmer777 (talk) 22:09, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

This seems to be a dead issue, and I'm glad. Cyrillic is a script, not a language or language group at all. --Thnidu (talk) 05:07, 13 July 2013 (UTC)


should topolects be included within this section on dialects?

top·o·lect (tŏp'ə-lĕkt') n. A set of similar dialects constituting any of the larger distinct regional varieties of a language. For example, Mandarin Chinese is a topolect that includes the dialects of Beijing and Nanjing, and is distinct from Hakka, another topolect of Chinese.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright © 2004, 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


Moldavian situation more complex than it may appear[edit]

The reality of the situation is completely avoided by the article Moldovan language, which deals almost exclusively with the official language. More details about colloquial Moldavian speech and the history of language standardisation in the area have either been deleted or moved to the separate article on the history of the aforementioned language (viz Romanizators vs Originalists).

Similar examples of colloquial Moldavian speech can be found at sites such as faces.MD (roughly the Moldavian equivalent to MySpace) or certain jocular comments on jurnal.MD (some comments here for example), albeit usually without the important diacritics. This variety has many linguistic features (grammatical, syntactical, vocabulary) that are not shared with Standard Romanian, and a certain (albeit smaller) number of features which are not shared with the dialect of Romanian spoken in neighbouring areas of Romania.

Given the huge Rusophone population in Metro Chişinîu, it is not surprising that the linguistic situation in the area is very much fluid. Research does not seem to exist on the language usage of youths in the area although I have been told such research is currently in progress.

In fact, prior to Soviet control over Bessarabia, there was in fact a debate over the standardisation and valorisation of the local language, with some advocating using Standard Romanian and others advocating the usage of the local dialect with original (rather than French and Italian) words for technical terms. Although it did not succeed (with both sides being suppressed by Soviets), there was certainly a move for a Moldavian standard which would have been very different. -- 04:07, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

Dialect continuum[edit]

1) The article essentially states that there is a continuum between French and Italian. s that really so ? I.e. is the French of Fréjus mutually intelligible with the Italian of San Remo ? 2) I also removed Romanian as that language is isolated and thus obviously doesn't have a continuum with any other language. Travelbird 03:54, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Are you sure? The Romanian language article seems to suggest that speakers of Romanian are able to understand Italian to a certain degree. —Umofomia 05:00, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
The main idea of a dialect continuum is that you have a continuous area where, when looking at local dialects there is not clear-cut line which differenciates one language from another. I.e. between Belgium and Germany the language becomes more and more German as you moved east from Brussels until you reach a point where most people would call in German proper.
Romanians may be comprehend a bit of Italian, but there is no such continuum between the two, as the two languages a seperated by Slavic languages.
Essentially it may be similar to Afrikaans and Dutch - which the two are very closely related and may even be (and were in the past) considered to be dialects of the same language, there is no dialect continuum between the two. Theew is no area "in-between" where Dutch slowly becomes Afrikaans and vice-versa. Travelbird 06:13, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
True... point taken. —Umofomia 06:39, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
As to the first question: In most European countries dialects are gradually falling out of use and those dialects that are still spoken are being influenced by the standard languages. Thus, many cross-border dialect continua do not exist any more (or only exist in the speech of the oldest generation of traditional dialect speakers).
Though I cannot prove it, I am sure that today the San Remo dialect of Italian would no longer be understood in Fréjus, as practically all Occitan dialects are moribund today. But a century ago, a fisherman from San Remo would have had no serious difficulties understanding the local language of Fréjus.
The same is true for the Dutch - German dialect continuum. Most dialects on the German side of the border are moribund these days. A Dutchman would still find people who understand his local dialect in, let's say Aachen, but his children or grandchildren will have to resort to one of the two standard languages or to English. Unoffensive text or character 07:18, 4 April 2007 (UTC)
OK. If that was that way (and would still be that way for local dialect speakers), then we indeed have a dialect continuum. Travelbird 11:44, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Dialect continuum: Spanish[edit]

The article states that there is a dialect continuum that encompasses, among other languages, French, Occitan, Catalan and Spanish. To the best of my knowledge, there is no mutual intelligibility between any dialects of Occitan/Catalan and Spanish (Castellano). Furthermore, there is a sharp line separating Portuguese from Spanish. There may be a sort of continuum in the North (Castellano - Asturo-Leones - Gallego - Portuguese), but I am not sure about it. Unoffensive text or character 11:50, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

The misunderstanding here -- as also in several other areas on this talk page -- is due to conflation/confusion of two distinct levels of language: Spanish-Portuguese, for example (the national languages) and what survives of the local dialects that pre-date the establishment of national languages and are cognate to them but not variants of them. Someone asked above if the French of Fréjus and the Italian of San Remo are mutually comprehensible. No, and there's no expectation that they would be: French originated in the north of France and Italian originated quite a distance from San Remo, in Florence. But if there are any speakers left of the local languages of Fréjus and San Remo, they can understand each other if they speak those languages. Move the speakers closer in origin -- e.g. Menton and Ventimiglia -- and total mutual comprehension is possible, in principle inhibited only by possibly indecipherable intrusions from French or Italian. In a nutshell: the Romance dialect continuum refers not to national languages but to the languages that were present before displacement by national languages. (talk) 18:07, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

"languages that were present before displacement by national languages" Can anyone describe the "displacement" process being referred to above? LookingGlass (talk) 16:06, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Sure. The simplest process is the obvious one: older speakers of the local language die, younger speakers are brought up speaking the national language. Individuals can also choose to simply abandon the local language. I've witnessed this happening to Navajo right now: a typical situation is grandparents can still speak the language, parents can understand and speak some, teenagers can really speak only English. In the Romance area, displacement is easiest to notice in France, and the extreme case of Corsica is an especially striking one. A few decades ago, most Corsicans could speak their local language. Now there are lots of native Corsicans who speak French but not Corsican. It needn't be that extreme to be noticeable, however; it's happened just about everywhere in France to varying degrees -- most usually to a great degree. In Italy, on the other hand, there are plenty of places, especially small towns, where children even now are raised with the local language as their first and home language, whereas in very general terms, the larger the city, the more Italian has displaced the local language. Milanese is no longer used much in Milan, for example, whereas it was a few decades ago. (talk) 22:36, 3 September 2013 (UTC)
You will notice,, that I did not write about national languages but about mutual intelligibility between (...) dialects of (...). When the dialects or local languages are extinct, the chain of mutually intelligible dialects is broken. This is what happened or is happening in many places, especially in France but also, starting in the Middle Ages, in Spain.
My question was: Is there still a continuum encompassing the dialects of Portuguese, Gallego, Asturo-Leones, Castellano, Aragones, Gascon and Catalan. I think there isn't, and as for Spanish and Portuguese, there probably never was one except via Gallego in the North.Unoffensive text or character (talk) 07:39, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
No time for elaborating just now, but the difficulty here may lie in the conceptualization "dialects of." Where the Romance continuum survives, the languages aren't "dialects of" anything (other than Latin, if one chooses to label them that way). By definition of being naturally-evolved local Latin, the Ibero-Romance varieties along what is now the Portugal-Spain border would have been part of a continuum, eventually disturbed through history by various political events, including the Reconquista to some extent (though not precisely at the border), and the obstacles to movement created by the border itself. If the local languages spoken in the home and to varying extent in the community are now varieties of Portuguese and varieties of Castilian, then yes, the continuum is gone. This needs to be established empirically, though, not guessed at. (Since mutual intelligibility between speakers of closely cognate dialects is in principle zero or minimal only if the speakers involved want it to be, I assume that by mutual intelligibility you mean effortless mutual intelligibility.) (talk) 13:27, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
On the territory of Northern Spain a variety of local dialects still exists. However, in most places the only language is and has been for centuries a regional form of Spanish. So while there clearly is a present-day dialect continuum between, say, Montpelier and Northern Aragon, there is an abrupt language boundary between local dialects of Aragones/Catalan and the regional Spanish of Northern Spain. The same is probably true for Cantabria/Asturias. If you start your voyage in, say, Santander and then move on to Gijon, you will start in a region which has only a regional form of Standard Spanish and then, at some point, come to a region that still has a rural dialect of Asturiano.
Of course it makes sense to assume that at some point in the past there was a continuum, but can this be proven? The situation may just as well be as in Germany/Denmark, where there has never been a continuum between dialects of Low German and dialects of Danish or Frisian. Unoffensive text or character (talk) 13:47, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, I'm not going to engage in pointless bickering. You might enjoy this, though: RibargorzanoRead up on Cantabria/Asturias and you'll find that what's left of the local autochthonous languages there exist in the expected continuum. Etc. (talk) 02:31, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
Just because you do not see a point does not mean it is not there. Unoffensive text or character (talk) 16:18, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. Very clearly put. I'd thought you might be making some other distinction between "national languages" and "dialects" and therefore the processes involved, but I guess there are a number of strands here: urbanisation (the socio-cultural impact of this); nationalisation (the impact of the language of power); and inheritance (the natural process of language aquisition). AS for the "continuum" it can be seen as a "tree" growing through time with some branches coming to an end and others continuing and continuing to fork. The issue of our ability to map this tree into the past is another thing. If nobody recorded a language and nobody is left who speaks it there is no ability to even know it existed but that is not the same thing as it not having existed. The only "continuum" that continues is that of the languages that are spoken today. That is not the same as saying there is no link between languages that are spoken and languages that are known. LookingGlass (talk) 08:40, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
Not sure if I've grasped what you're saying. If I have, you're describing the usual language tree, and the metaphor may be misleading unless it's specified clearly that the view is pan-chronic and the central source from which all originally emanates in the case of the Romance continuum, Spoken Latin, no longer exists in that form, i.e. synchronically the early growth of the tree is not visible. Going beyond the usual tree, your metaphor could be very useful though: branches that start out essentially the same size evolve so that one (local speech X promoted to national language) grows larger than than its neighboring branches, so much so that the smaller ones eventually wither and die. The flaw in the metaphor, though, is that it obscures the fact that the small branches wither as a result of human agency, even if that agency is just passive abandonment. (talk) 13:27, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
"panchronic", I don't know this word I guess it's the opposite to "synchronic". I didn't know of the word "synchronic" (linguistic term) before. The "tree" image wasn't meant as a metaphor. It was just the closest I could get to describe the branching process of languages over time (panchronic?), though presumably branches also come together and merge as well as divide (and of course die). The synchronic "view" seems to me like viewing one slide in an MRI scan. Useful but not a good guide on its own. LookingGlass (talk) 19:07, 4 September 2013 (UTC)
Synchronic just means 'point in time,' as opposed to diachronic 'through time', i.e. historical. A panchronic view combines the two. A tree-like illustration is a common metaphor in the field of Historical Linguistics, You can find numerous examples if you google language tree indo-european and then go to images. Keep the concept of dialect in mind (not "dialect of") and you'll notice what the tree not just misses, but usually misrepresents. Enjoy! (talk) 02:31, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. And I did as you suggested. After less than a minute I was infuriated. Anyone who believes "English" belongs on an entirely different originating branch to "French" would appear to have no remarkable knowledge of either. LookingGlass (talk) 12:45, 5 September 2013 (UTC)
Don't know what you're referring to. English is (far) West Germanic, French is (northwestern) Romance, i.e distant origins. Some trees try to show the post-1066 infusion of French in English. (talk) 01:08, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

Excellent article about the politics being a dialect factor in English and SerboCroatian language[edit]

Your explanation on how the politics can be in some extent 'a factor' about the dialects being dialects or 'standard' languages, hits the point. The comparison of the 2 english with the 2 serbocroatian main dialects respectively is an excelent example of how these languages are treated by some politicians on one, and what's the the real state of the things on the other side. The good thing is that the real side of the things (english and serbocroatian being each respectivelly just 1 language with 2 main dialects) is always what's accepted as a fact and treated as a fact in all the scientific circles...and also between the majority ordinary and normal people who speak those languages as well..Regards, and cheers. (talk) 07:31, 8 January 2008 (UTC)


The article says: "erroneous belief that the minority language is lacking in vocabulary, grammar, or importance. " While the notion that a minority language is lacking in vocabulary or grammar is definitely erroneous, I'm not so sure about the inclusion of importance here. The sentence is ambiguous: importance to whom? To its speakers? Well, then it definitely is important, but taken overall, there's little question in my mind that Scots is not nearly as important as standard written English. I think there should be some sort of qualifier inserted, or maybe importance should just be removed. Punning (talk) 12:24, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

I think they may have been groping for the concept of 'prestige'? (talk) 09:22, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

External links[edit]

I cleaned up the external links section, see also WP:EL. I removed the following links:

Han-Kwang (t) 12:45, 8 August 2008 (UTC)


Like a hobo with a British accent.

I don't quite get the logic of illustrating an article about dialects with an example referring to accents. Besides, there is no such thing as a 'British accent'. There are English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish accents, and regional accents within each nationality, but no one speaks with a 'British' accent. So I thought the safest thing do with this sentence was to delete it. R Lowry (talk) 19:16, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Well, done! I second that decision. The author probably thinks Britain is in France too (talk) 09:20, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Fancy that![edit]

"Anthropological linguists define dialect as the specific form of a language used by a speech community. In other words, the difference between language and dialect is the difference between the abstract or general and the concrete and particular. From this perspective, no one speaks a "language," everyone speaks a dialect of a language. Those who identify a particular dialect as the "standard" or "proper" version of a language are in fact using these terms to express a social distinction."

I can't get my head around this one now.

'In other words, the difference between language and dialect is the difference between the abstract or general and the concrete and particular. From this perspective, no one speaks a "language," everyone speaks a dialect of a language.'... This seems to imply a notion that all dialects extend from a common source ('specific language')... which would be complete tripe in the face of dialect continuum.

In fact it is THIS that really makes that resonate with me: 'the difference between language and dialect'... is there anyone left who makes such a distinction in anything other than broad shorthand reference to mutual intelligibility or historical linguistics?


"Those who identify a particular dialect as the "standard" or "proper" version of a language are in fact using these terms to express a social distinction.""

... seems to suggest the opposite and something more inline with current siociolinguistics!

Am I the only person that can't make head not tail of this? Could this not be written more clearly, as it seems to say nothing distinct. (talk) 09:19, 2 December 2008 (UTC)


"A dialect that is associated with a particular social class can be termed a sociolect. Other speech varieties include: standard languages, which are standardized for public performance (for example, a written standard); jargons, which are characterized by differences in lexicon (vocabulary); slang; patois; pidgins or argots. The particular speech patterns used by an individual are termed an idiolect."

This section makes patois/pidgins and argots sound like something to do with sociolects. They need to be flagged up in their own group,a s there are very clear issues to do with crystallisation of grammar (and the lack of it) that make them very distinct to a straight dialect.

Aren't jargon sociolects???

At the very least the paragraph needs breaking.


This whole article needs to be reviewed by a subject matter expert lol! It's a mess of gibberish and rubbish! (talk) 10:04, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Dialects of English (in Great Britain & Ireland)[edit]

"Southwestern * /s/ instead of /z/ in six" is teh wrong way around. Fixed it with another typo.

HOWEVER THIS IS NOT DIALECT!!! This is phonology! It is pronunciation, not dialect!

This whole section should go! (talk) 14:59, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Okay, it was irrelevant: it's gone! (talk) 09:07, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

SERIOUS problems with this article. PLEASE READ BEFORE MAKING EDITS![edit]

This article has some GRAVE fundamental errors:

It persistently confuses the lay terminology and scientific definitions of 'dialect', willy nilly.

In linguistics, there is NO difference between a language and a dialect. In linguistics, ALL divergent modes of speech which effect variation on a scale also encompassing mutual unintelligibility are DIALECTS. (oversimplified I know, but I'm keeping it plain).

The demarcation of 'languages' is not especially useful for the classification of dialects. 'Language', in the sense it is used here, is a political status not a linguistic status. At best language is an inelegant shorthand for many different aspects of linguistics.

There is no natural parent/child status between 'standard languages' and 'regional or social variations'.

In linguistics, pronunciation is not generally considered in itself to constitute 'dialect' (as usually native speakers can adapt to extremes in phonology ... much better than they can in extremes of grammar and lexis')

Dialect concerns itself with mainly grammar and lexis.

Standardised language spoken with a regional or social accent is still NOT dialect.

"In popular usage, the word "dialect" is sometimes used to refer to a lesser-known language (most commonly a regional language), especially one that is unwritten or not standardized.[3] This use of the word dialect is often taken as pejorative by the speakers of the languages referred to since it is often accompanied by the belief that the minority language is lacking in vocabulary, grammar, or importance.""

THIS is complete tosh in the sense of linguistics; it sounds like it has been written by a primary school teacher. There isn't a true statement in the whole paragraph!

Someone needs to pour kerosene on this mess and torch it, then start afresh!

Please unless you have some good scholarly knowledge of teh linguistics of regional & social variations leave this article alone. (talk) 14:37, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Removed innacuarate & irrelevant gibberish[edit]

"In popular usage, the word "dialect" is sometimes used to refer to a lesser-known language (most commonly a regional language), especially one that is unwritten or not standardized.[1] This use of the word dialect is often taken as pejorative by the speakers of the languages referred to since it is often accompanied by the belief that the minority language is lacking in vocabulary, grammar, or importance.

The number of speakers, and the geographical area covered by them, can be of arbitrary size, and a dialect might contain several sub-dialects. A dialect is a complete system of verbal communication (oral or signed, but not necessarily written) with its own vocabulary and grammar. "

I think that signing should be given some mention, but if the non-scientific semantics of the word dialect is to be examined, it should be as an after thought AND it should be explained better and indicated HOW it diverges from the scientific definition. The lay version is very woolly and amorphous and without anything approaching a single theme, and will vary from language to language. What Germans understand by 'Dialekt' is not what the English would necessarily recognise as 'dialect'.

As it stood. This was giving too much prominence to a loose definition that is too wide of the scientific mark. (talk) 09:17, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

  1. ^ Note, for example, the use of "dialect" in the following sentence from a biographical portrait of Theodore Roosevelt (The river of doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's darkest journey (2005) by Candice Millard, Doubleday), "... and Rondon, although he knew ten different Indian dialects..." (p. 80). A perusal of current newspaper columns shows the same usage.

Concepts in dialectology[edit]

The specific issues discussed in this section are in the subfield of dialectology, so wouldn't it be better to move the content to that article in order to make this article a little more conveniently arranged? Solejheyen (talk) 19:47, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done. Cnilep (talk) 19:08, 14 September 2010 (UTC)


I've made some rearrangements to the hierarchy of sections in the article as it seemed to me to read as more of a magazine article than an enclopedic one and had become hard to reference. This reorganisation has not changed the content. I've also added the reference into the intro to the article on Ausbausprache, Abstandsprache and Dachsprache which seems to me to be central. I propose deletion of the Interlingua section as it does not seem relevant. LookingGlass (talk) 10:35, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

Opening para is a mess and OR[edit]

I suggest that the first thing needed is a simple reordering of the sentences in the opening para so that the opening sentence, which states there are two distinct uses for the word dialect, is then immediately followed by a statement of what those two uses are. At present there are a number of sentences in between referring to topolects etc etc etc. Looking at this further I note that this second usage has no citation. One is required. If it has none then reference to two distinct uses of the word should be scrapped as it is OR. LookingGlass (talk) 06:46, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

Reference added. (talk) 11:26, 5 September 2013 (UTC)


The section regarding the Balkans lacks citations and as a speaker of English and Croatian (Serbo-Croatian if you prefer... I do not intend this to be a political statement), I do not feel that the comparisons of Serbian and Croatian to British and American English are accurate, even if the overall point is true (they are mutually intelligible). The differences between Croatian and Serbian are more like the differences between Norwegian and Danish (i.e., there is a little more depth than you give credit). I would also argue that Makedonian would be like Swedish in this comparison. (talk) 16:31, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Dialect group and dialect cluster[edit]

Dialect group redirects here, dialect cluster to dialect continuum. My understanding is that a dialect cluster is a group of related dialects, though not necessarily a continuum, and thus essentially the same as a dialect group. Am I mistaken? --Florian Blaschke (talk) 06:00, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Template Harv and short notes[edit]

Is it ok if I apply the {{Harv}} style with short footnotes (since footnotes are already in use, but style in them is not homogeneous) throughout the article? --SynConlanger (talk) 09:59, 31 August 2015 (UTC)

I am not a major contributer to this article, but I think it would be a good idea.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 10:03, 31 August 2015 (UTC)

"not derived from the standard language"[edit]

The second definition of "dialect" in the lede goes to great pains to continue emphasizing that what is called a "dialect" in this sense is "not actually derived from the standard language". While this is true, it seems to me that it's misleading to dwell on it so much in the second definition specifically: dialects according to the first definition (i.e., any variety of a language mutually intelligible with other varieties) are also not necessarily or typically derived from the standard. Is there any way to salvage this? AJD (talk) 15:55, 15 December 2016 (UTC)