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Are you a native speaker of a language or a dialect?
Thread poster: Jacek Krankowski
Jacek Krankowski  Identity Verified
English to Polish
+ ...
Jan 7, 2003

In any case, in the galaxy of languages, each person\'s voice is a star!



The above motto comes from:

http://www.linguasphere.org/what.html#dialects



The Linguasphere Register of the World\'s Languages and Speech Communities is

a 1,000 page volume, covering over 20,000 languages and dialects.



Selected extracts from the Linguasphere Register can now be downloaded from

this page: http://www.linguasphere.org/



About differences between languages and dialects:



What does a native speak?

http://neptune.spaceports.com/~words/native.html



Linguasphere Register escapes from the over-simplified dichotomy of

\"language\" and \"dialect\" by introducing a hierarchy of three terms where

previously there were only two: outer-language, inner-language and dialect.

http://www.linguasphere.org/what.html#dialects



See also:



There\'s a saying in linguistics that \"a language is a dialect with an army

and a navy.\" In other words, there is no official ranking system with

lan-guages on top and dialects on the bottom. If you havevocabulary, a

system of sounds, and grammatical rules,you have a language. And if you have

a big army and navy, you may decide to call your way of speaking alanguage,

and the speech of people with smaller armies and navies dialects. That is a

distinction based on political power, not language structure.

www.umass.edu/aae/newsletterAAE2001.pdf



Is Scots a dialect or a language?

http://www.scots-online.org/grammar/lang.htm

European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages recognised Scots as one of the

\'lesser used\' languages in Europe in 1995. However a European study on

Ulster Scots ... described Ulster Scots as a dialect of standard English.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/education/stateapart/agreement/culture/

ulsterscots1.shtml



These are questions which will probably never be fully resolved.

http://www.northumberland.gov.uk/vg/dialect.htm



However, in the real world, it is becoming important to be able to make this

distinction. For example, the European Union\'s \'European Charter for

Regional or Minority Languages\' requires national governments to declare, on

signing the charter, what are the minority languages

spoken in their territories; dialects of the national language(s) are

explicitly excluded.

http://www.emich.edu/~linguist/issues/9/9-1792.html



To call it either a language or a dialect is also a political question.

http://aklanweb.tripod.com/language.htm



... As far as the question of whether Sicilian is a language or a dialect,

the answer may be more a matter of politics than of linguistics. ...

dieli.net/SicilyPage/SicilianLanguage/ SicilianLang.html



In a sense, all languages are dialects

http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/wirhoose/but/wan/dialect.htm



A good example is Dutch, which really is a Low German dialect

http://www.scania.org/council/salang/article.htm



Is Ebonics a Language or a Dialect?

http://fsweb.berry.edu/academic/hass/ejohnson/ebonics.htm

http://www.tesol.org/pubs/articles/1997/tm9706-01.html



Languages can become dialects, and dialects can become languages

http://www.sprakrad.no/trudgill.htm





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Jacek Krankowski  Identity Verified
English to Polish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
More examples from around the world Jan 8, 2003

Thus the variety of English that I speak is a dialect, but the variety that I write is a language. With this distinction we begin to see monolingual nations as consisting of a literate dialect (language) along with any number of spoken dialects.

http://www.msu.edu/~dwyer/LgDialPr.htm


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Elías Sauza  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 16:27
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
The battle of the words Jan 8, 2003

While reading your posting I feel I moving a step backwards. In spite of being aware of the different thoughts among linguists in the world, this seems rather word play to me. I still consider that any system that serves the purpose of communicating among their users is a language. In respect to written and spoken language I woud say that everybody writes or speaks a dialect of any language. We know that standard language exists, yes, but what is standard language? Standard language is that which everybody knows but nobody speaks. Everybody speaks a variety of such standard.



SaludoZ



Elías Sauza


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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:27
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
It's a bit more complicated, I'm afraid Jan 8, 2003

The UN language service calls Chinese a language, so how come the Chinese Students\' Association in Spain have to speak Spanish during their meetings? (It always flabbergasts me to learn they don\'t understand each other). Then I remember one congress when we hired an Egyptian interpreter who left the Moroccans and the Saudis looking at the ceiling. They all read the same literature perfectly, but...

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AlwaysMoving
Local time: 06:27
Spanish
+ ...
Politics and money Jan 8, 2003

I was raised and lived in a small state in Spain, Asturias, which they talk a dialect of spanish, BABLE.

Bable is very similar to spanish and as you move west very similar to Gallego, which is a \"Language\", now my question is. Why Gallego is a \"language and Bable a \"dialect\"?the diference between Gallego and Bable is that they WANTED to become a language, because, having \"your own\" language give you political power.

Anyone with money and time(because you have to show, somewhat that you have written literature,bal,bal,bal) and a political agenda can \"make\" a language.



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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:27
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Wouldn't it be nice... Jan 8, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-01-08 16:30, AlwaysMoving wrote:

I was raised and lived in a small state in Spain, Asturias, which they talk a dialect of spanish, BABLE.

Bable is very similar to spanish and as you move west very similar to Gallego, which is a \"Language\", now my question is. Why Gallego is a \"language and Bable a \"dialect\"?the diference between Gallego and Bable is that they WANTED to become a language, because, having \"your own\" language give you political power.

Anyone with money and time(because you have to show, somewhat that you have written literature,bal,bal,bal) and a political agenda can \"make\" a language.





... if they found something written by the half-legendary King Pelayo? Gallego got a lot of prestige from its use by Alfonso the Wise as his literary language.



Not to forget, of course, that the seminal \"core\" of the Spanish kingdom was Asturias, in the same way Wales was to the UK.

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xxxwendyzee
Malta
Local time: 00:27
Dutch to English
+ ...
Dialect? - Not! Apr 28, 2003

I had to smile on reading the comment on Dutch being a Low German Dialect. My first (native) language is Afrikaans, which was considered a dialect of Dutch until approximately 150yrs ago when it gained official language status. It is quite enlightning however when you meet a modern Dutch speaker, exchange a few words and hear them say \" oh yes, you speak a dialect of Dutch don\'t you?\"
[addsig]


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Mario Marcolin  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 00:27
Member (2003)
English to Swedish
+ ...
writing is the key May 5, 2003

I would say that is the codified standard of writing that distinguishes language from dialect. Thus Dutch is most certainly a language!

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Rick Henry  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:27
Italian to English
+ ...
I speak with no authority on this, May 5, 2003

but this subject interests me.

This document is dated 1998, but has references to the language being used in official documents dated in the 12th century (and forward).

http://www.uoc.edu/euromosaic/web/document/asturia/an/i1/i1.html



The article talks about the linguistic status in the constitution, as well as at the regional government level.



Admittedly, the article is a bit old, but if there is any truth in it, it would seem that Asturian/Bable is is on the rise, at least regionally.



R.

==



Quote:


On 2003-01-08 16:30, AlwaysMoving wrote:

I was raised and lived in a small state in Spain, Asturias, which they talk a dialect of spanish, BABLE.


Bable is very similar to spanish and as you move west very similar to Gallego, which is a \"Language\", now my question is. Why Gallego is a \"language and Bable a \"dialect\"?the diference between Gallego and Bable is that they WANTED to become a language, because, having \"your own\" language give you political power.


Anyone with money and time(because you have to show, somewhat that you have written literature,bal,bal,bal) and a political agenda can \"make\" a language.






[ This Message was edited by: Rick Henry on 2003-05-05 20:38]

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Kvasir
Canada
Local time: 16:27
English to Chinese
+ ...
what's up with the chinese anyway? May 19, 2003

Quote:


On 2003-01-08 15:25, Parrot wrote:

The UN language service calls Chinese a language, so how come the Chinese Students\' Association in Spain have to speak Spanish during their meetings? (It always flabbergasts me to learn they don\'t understand each other).





oh yes, the situation for chinese is very complicated indeed. There is much debate on whether a number of Chinese \"dialects\" are in fact \"languages\".



The official \"speech\" (to avoid confusion between language and dialect) in the People\'s Republic and the Republic of China is Mandarin, based on pronunciation in the northern region (around Beijing). Since the establishment of the official speech, the standard way of writing (ie: grammar, lexicon) is suppose to following the Mandarin way, hence the Mandarin speech is the closest to what is supposed to be the STANDARD of written chinese.



That\'s all good and well, no debate about it, but. The script is an other story, however. Simplified characters were introduced by the government in the 50s as the STANDARD implemented throughout the People\'s Republic in an effort to lower illiteracy (they claim the simplified script is easier to learn). Eventually Singapore has also adopted the use of simplified script. The \"traditional\" scripts remain in use in Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and among most oversea Chinese.



In southern China, the main speech is Cantonese, which is the 2nd most popular Chinese speech after Mandarin. This is also the speech used popular in HK, Macao and among the majority of oversea Chinese. The standard Cantonese speech is said to be from Guangzhou (formally known in the West as Canton), the capital of the Guangdong province. Now many linguists have found that Cantonese is, in fact, much older than Mandarin, since Cantonese is said to be linked with vietnamese and even japanese phonologically. Cantonese also contains much more phonetic features not found in Mandarin. So did mandarin evolved into something simpler? or did cantonese got more complex through the ages?



In that case, aren\'t Cantonese and Mandarin both dialects? and \"a standard Chinese speech\" simply doesn\'t exist? What happened to the proto-language?



other well-known chinese speeches that i can think of include Wu (shanghainese) and Min (fukinese).



If that\'s not confusing enough, there are over 30 (or is it 300?) \"dialects\" spoken in Guangdong province alone, such as Taishan, Xinhui, etc. Are they really dialects of Cantonese? Most would consider them so since a cantonese speaker can understand Taishan, Xinhui without too much difficulty.



Also, is using a different script considered a different language? i think not. But considering the case when a Taiwanese and a Mainlander may converse with each other in Mandarin without problem, but they may not readily recognise ALL the characters in each other\'s writing.



But thanks to Qin Emperor who had unified the use of chinese characters (even though they may now be in simplified or traditional form) who have made communication possible between people speaking different speeches.



So even though we may not know if \"standard Chinese\" really exist, we at least know we have a \"common\" writing system, may it be in simplified or traditional form!



-kvasir

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RafaLee
Australia
Local time: 08:27
Spanish to English
+ ...
Good topic Jun 6, 2003

I speak "Betawi" language, a creolised Malay language.
Whether Betawi is a separate language or simply just a dialect of Malay is highly debatable. Betawi has got its distinct syntax and semantic. Bahasa Indonesia, the official language of Indonesia, is very structured and logical, while Betawi language structure is very free. Even the terms used in Betawi can be quite different to Bahasa Indonesia and Malay. So, Betawi can incomprehensible to one who has never lived in Indonesia even if one has studied indonesian for more than 10 years.

For example:
English : Hey, how are you? What are you doing? Long time no see.
Bahasa : Halo, apa kabar? Anda sedang apa? Sudah lama tidak berjumpa dengan anda.
Betawi : eh, apa kabar elo? ngapain aja elo? Uda lama banget gue kaga ngeliat elo.

Betawi ppl, unlike other ethnics, are carefree and not concerned about the official status of Betawi. Betawi has not even got its own literature.


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Juan Carlos Azcoitia
Canada
Local time: 16:27
English to Spanish
+ ...
Language = sum of dialects Aug 25, 2003

I would compare a language to a fractal, no matter how much you zoom on a fractal image, you always see a shape of the same complexity.

With languages may ocurr something similar. First of all you have a set of dialects, broad dialects, but as you look at any concrete dialect, you can see subdialects, and within them more subsubdialects.

So is Afrikaans a dialect, well, if you consider a big Germanic phylum, then it is a subbranch, a dialect in a moment in time that afterwards had 'its own army'.
But within Afrikaans you can find subvarieties.

So in the case of Spanish, BABLE is a dialect, and what about Madrid's talk? Is it a language what they speak in Madrid and dialects outside this town? Absurd.


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Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:27
Member (2011)
Multiplelanguages
+ ...
does one speak a language or dialect? Jan 2, 2006

Two of my previous posts on ProZ on topics related to language and dialect:

American English is a dialect composed of subdialects, but call it variety for general public
http://www.proz.com/post/255501#255501

See the second half of the following post which provides definitions of patois, dialect, language, from a linguistic dialectology point of view:
http://www.proz.com/post/227654#227654

Jeff
==========================
Jeff Allen, Ph.D.
Advisor, LINGUIST List
Paris, France
http://jeffallen.chez.tiscali.fr/about-jeffallen.htm


[Edited at 2006-02-14 23:18]


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