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What's the difference between a language and a dialect? What does it take for a dialect to become a language?

asked in language, dialect

Leohuberh answers:

Now let me ask: Do you speak a language or a dialect? That’s a trick question, because ultimately, all languages are dialects, You no doubt speak one of each.Both are not objective, scientific terms. People use the words “dialect” and “language” to mean different things. “Language” can often refer to your own linguistic variety and “amiect” to the variety spoken by someone else, usually someone thought of as inferior. Or “language” can mean the generally accepted “standard” or radio-talk language of a country, while dialects are homely versions of it that vary from region to region and may not be pronounced the way the so-called “language” is. Language varieties are called “dialects” rather than “languages” because they’re not written, or because speakers of that variety don’t run the country, or because their language lacks prestige. In short, the distinction is subjective.


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