Difference between language and dialect


The term language comes from the Latin language and this in turn from Greek. It is a system of oral or graphic verbal communication and even gestures typical of a human community. Languages ​​are subdivided into dialects, the criteria for dividing a language into dialects are currently not considered objective or safe, in general, to determine if two dialects are part of the same language, sociopolitical and not linguistic is used. The number of current languages ​​is between 6,000 and 6,500. According to a study carried out in 2009, there are 6,909 languages ​​in the world. There is no criterion to determine the number of languages ​​in the world as there are no criteria that allow differentiating two languages ​​in different languages ​​or if it is the same language represented by two dialects. In addition, there are unstudied areas on the planet, there are uncontacted tribes with their languages ​​and dialects. Also some extinct languages ​​have re-emerged.


For linguistics, dialect is one of the variables of a language or language. This term is usually used to refer to the geographical variants of a language associated with a certain area. A dialect is a system of signs from a common language or language, whether it is alive or missing, that is geographically delimited. It does not present a specific differentiation from dialects of a common origin. A dialect can be divided into sub-dialects. Differentiating or delimiting a dialect is a very delicate process in linguistics, as it requires characterizing the language of territory, determining its historical precision, and performing sociolinguistic analyzes on the speakers. Historically the word dialect has been used in communities with a pejorative value in such a way that a certain language is disqualified in favor of others considered official.

Key Differences between Language and dialect




1. Of

 It is considered a language when the differences are already so great that the speakers no longer understand each other (Spanish, French …): dixi / I said

 On the other hand, it is considered a dialect of a language, when the modality is not so different so that the speakers do not understand each other (Andalusian, Murcino …): horse / horse

2. phonetic :
phonetic and
phonological differentiation

 It is considered language, when the phonemes are different from the one from which it comes (the mother tongue)

 On the other hand, it is considered a dialect, when it only involves different sounds, different articulations of the same phoneme

3. grammatical : grammatical

it is considered language , when it has a studied and organized grammar (syntax, morphology)

on the other hand, it is considered a dialect, when it does not have some grammatical studies on the spoken modality

4. lexicon : vocabulary

it is considered language , when it has a rich lexicon, and scientific and technical terminologies …

on the other hand, it is considered a dialect, when it only has a rural, familiar, colloquial, vulgar lexicon

5. graphic : written

It is considered language , when it has been spoken and written for centuries at all levels (documents, literature …)

It is considered a dialect, when it is only spoken, and it is not written, or little is written

6. demographic :
the number
of speakers

It is considered a language , which has a large number of speakers (thousands, millions …)

instead, it is considered a dialect, the one with few speakers (a few hundred, a few thousand)

7. literary :

language is considered to be the linguistic modality that a literature has throughout history (recognized works and authors)

On the other hand, dialect is considered the modality that does not have literature (works, authors …, recognized); or that they have a poor literature

8. normative :
that they have

it is considered language , when it has a standard normative variety for educated, technical use … It has some constitutional statutes.

on the other hand, it is considered a dialect, when it only has the regional, local variety, for all uses and situations. It lacks official statutes.

9. political :
having an independent
state or nation

It is considered language , the one that enjoys an official recognition by the government of the Community, by the State

instead, it is considered a dialect, when they are not officially recognized by political institutions (it is not used in administrations)

10. cultural :

language is considered when it has a use rooted in culture (public events, art, music …)

on the other hand, it is considered a dialect, when it lacks cultural use in its different manifestations

11. psychological
prestige, self-prestige

It is considered a language , when the speakers have it in prestige, and the other languages ​​value it as such

On the other hand, it is considered a dialect, when even the speakers themselves have it in disrepute, they are ashamed of it …

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