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Difference between a language and a dialect

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Estro Felino, Jan 21, 2022.

  1. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    Please, feel free to express your opinion on what makes a language.
    And what makes it different than a dialect, a jargon, a slang...etc...

    Feel free to tell your personal take, without caring about mainstream definitions.:)
     
  2. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    Linguistically (and Wikipedia confirms it), a dialect is a sub-product of a language, or by the way it developped itself simultaneously to a language.
    And various dialects (of a language) are more or less mutually intelligible.


    Dialect - Wikipedia
     
  3. pearl

    pearl Well-Known Member

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    Would Yiddish be considered a German dialect of Hebrew?
     
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  4. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    That is a very good question.

    I speak German. B2-C1, apparently.
    But when I listen to Yddish, or I read it...yes...it is quite understandable. Some sentences are absolutely understandable.

    It seems to me...that there is not much Hebrew in it.
     
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  5. pearl

    pearl Well-Known Member

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    I raised the question because of my experience working in an Orthodox health care facility and the majority of members origin was Europe, especially from Germany.
     
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  6. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    To us Italians, the word dialect has a negative connotation, 90% of the times.

    To explain why, I need to be very thorough. To talk about history.
    As you guys know, Italy did not exist, before 1861 (national unity):

    Italia-853x1024.png


    As a consequence, in these states (which were considered countries), several languages were spoken by the people.

    Nevertheless, during the Renaissance the Italian language ( created almost artificially by Dante, Petrarca and Boccaccio in the 13th- 14th century), was already considered the literature language par excellence, meaning that poets, artists used it in their works.
    An academy was founded to preserve the purity of this language. And they succeeded it.
    It remained almost unchanged.
    But from the 13th to the 19th century it remained the language of the liberal arts élites.


    Italy's national unity took place in a very quick and traumatic way. It was a too fast exit from the "Italian Middle Ages".
    The new Italian state was very nationalistic and authoritarian, so it imposed the Italian as the only language allowed in any building of the public administration. Justice, education, etc...

    So...in order to impose Italian, the word dialect started having a very negative connotation, since the aim was to diss those who would not learn Italian, but still spoke a dialect.

    Nowadays dialects still exist.
    The Italian school does anything to discourage people from preserving them.
    A person who speaks dialect in school can never be accepted. The teacher will fail them.
     
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  7. pearl

    pearl Well-Known Member

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    And is cockney a dialect of English in London?
     
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  8. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    Surely.
    It is very peculiar.




    Fun fact: in the Italian dubbed version, Eliza speaks an Italian dialect. A sort of Abruzzese, I think.:p
     
  9. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    Cockney is both a dialect and an accent.

    Side note
    Recently researchers have discovered dogs also have dialect/accent and mimic their the dialect of the people of the area they live.

    Thought i have heard cockney speakers and scouse speakers, jordie speakers and more i cannot discern a dogs accent.
     
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  10. anna.

    anna. Tried and waited then got tired, that's about it

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    I read the series of books The Neapolitan Novels (including My Brilliant Friend) by Elena Ferrante, and she, as narrator, always tells the reader when a character is speaking in dialect. As a non-Italian, it's not completely clear to me at times why slipping into intentional dialect is intentional. I don't remember any specific passages to help me, but it was the first time as a reader that the idea of a dialect seemed almost a physical thing. Ferrante made clear in her character Elena's experience that to sound educated and polished, she had to leave the dialect behind, but it becomes a barrier in more than one way, the old neighborhood and family can't understand her Italian, yet the educated Italians still hear remnants of dialect in her speech and so she finds she cannot be completely in one world or the other.
     
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  11. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    It is beautiful that literature can make a foreigner understand the cultural difference between dialect and language in Italy. So well.:)

    Neapolitan is the most identitarian dialect in Italy.
    The Neapolitans have an incredibly strong identity.
    As you could see in the map, Naples was the capital of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
    So Neapolitans still consider their city a capital.
    They use their dialect anywhere.
    They consider it their language.

    If I must confess, I am not able of speaking any dialect.
    Nevertheless I do understand any dialect of the entire peninsular Italy (from Bologna, Genoa to Sicily).

    If someone tells me "translate this into Sicilian", I cannot do that. But I really can understand Sicilian.
    It is a weird thing.
     
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  12. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    As you know, my wife is a Siciliana who was born and raised there, and when we first got married, I was surprised by the fact that there was so much in Italian she didn't understand. I quickly found out that the reality was that Sicilian was a dialect that was different enough from Roman-type Italian that translation was often difficult.

    As an example, I took a class in Italian in the 1970's, and would come home and say a sentence in Italian with what I had learned that day, only to be told that "We don't say it that way". Sometimes she wouldn't even understand what I was saying.
     
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  13. Gargovic Malkav

    Gargovic Malkav Well-Known Member

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    I think the line can be vague and non consistent.
    Bosnian, Serbian, and Croatian are sometimes considered three dialects of the same language, yet they always seem to be categorized as different languages.
    In their case, their ethnic identity and histories probably plays a significant role in this division.

    However, Dutch is my native language.
    But it is also the native language of the Flemish Belgians.
    Even though it sounds different, and some words can have different meanings, both sides usually agree that we speak the same language.
     
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  14. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    It is normal.
    Because until the sixties, Sicilian was still widespread and few people could speak Italian.
     
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  15. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    It is true.
    Croatian is just Serbian with Latin letters, basically.
     
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  16. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    Read post #11:)
    My relationship with Sicilian.
     
  17. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    When i first came across you on RF i assumed you were Sicilian. For the life of me i have no idea why
     
  18. We Never Know

    We Never Know Well-Known Member

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    What about a puppy that learns from a rooster?

     
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  19. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    It is written in my bio.:)
     
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  20. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    Ya, I hear ya.

    When we were in Sicily last [2001], people there sometimes laughed even at my wife's Sicilian because she's lived here in the States since the mid-1950's, and many of the "Sicilian" words she learned here were a mixture of Sicilian & English, such as words for car and refrigerator.
     
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