https://www.duolingo.com/WildSage

What is a Language?

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"It turns out that it’s impossible to determine precisely where one “language” leaves off and another begins."

A good article that talks about the differences between dialects and languages.

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/01/difference-between-language-dialect/424704/

2 years ago

8 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/frankenstein724
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This. So much this. The sociolinguistic term that is used because it is as yet not socially charged, is "variety". Though, it still tends to get used with some major language group. "varieties of English", "varieties of Spanish", etc.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/orde90
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I mostly agree with the article but I think it's not really hard to decide. My thought process is this

1) Does it have its own writing system and literature? If yes then it is a language.
2) If it doesn't have any writing system or literature but if it also doesn't have any mutual intelligibility with another language then it is a language by itself.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AmareloTiago
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While an established corpus of literature might be one possible qualification for a language, I don't think it should be a firm requirement. Some languages don't have literature from which to draw and many of those languages are under the greatest threat of dying or otherwise becoming lost.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/orde90
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check the second item, it's the same idea as yours.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/salivanto
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In a recent thread asking how many languages everybody speaks, I answered with a request to define "speak" and to define "language". I got several downvotes and a few nasty comments. It's nice to see this thread and be reminded that I'm not the only person in the world who thinks these things.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/WildSage
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Sometimes whether you get honest answers or just nasty trolls is a matter of what time of the day you post things.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/vilger
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We have a lot of content for English speakers. So we have to learn English first of all.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FellousIris
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a language is a dialect with an army and a navy

1 year ago
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