View Full Version : When does a dialect become a language?

24-02-10, 22:06
In Scotland alot of people like to pretend their heavy accent is a language of its own, to be honest I'm not convinced. There are other parts of Europe were people (from an outside point of view) seem to be speaking the same language but due to minor variations they claim it as a language in it own right. Are these regions simply trying to create a sense of self importance?

I'm going to step on some toes here but I'll put Portuguese and Galician on the table as I know some people regard then as very similar.

24-02-10, 22:16
The boundary between language and dialect is often a political one. As you said Galician and Portuguese are officially distinct languages, but should be considered dialects of a same language. Same for Flemish, Dutch and Afrikaans ; Czech and Slovak ; Croatian, Bosnian and Serbian ; Belarus, Ukrainian and Russian ; Turkish, Azerbaijani and Turkmen ; and so on. Language names are made to fit political borders.

28-05-11, 05:41
dialects and languages in todays world are exactly the same thing, the only difference is that a language has a government and a dialect does not.

You will never see a government that has a dialect as a national language.

Latest european language is Montengrian in 2007, before Montenegro become a nation , its language was a dialect. ( a serb-croat dialect).

There is no world organisation that can dictate to anyone what is a dialect or a language. If there was, Italian language would be classified a dialect of dialects spoken by no populace in its inception. Sounds like its classification is arterficial. :grin:

24-06-11, 08:50
Thats a difficult question. Have you heard of Swiss German? Their dialects are really hard to distinguish for Standard German speakers, yet, some Dutch (maybe on the border near Germany) is intelligable for German speakers.... sometimes language is more to do with Political boundaries than actually the language itself.