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What is the difference between a language and a dialect?

Are Mandarin and Cantonese individual languages, or are they dialects of Chinese? Questions like these would be easier to answer if dialects and languages were easy to define, but linguists still disagree on the difference between the two.

There is too much variability in the way each is described to divide them

There are too many exceptions to the definitions of languages and dialects to clearly distinguish them.

The excessive variation in definitions means they cannot be differentiated

Languages and dialects cannot be neatly categorized as separate phenomena because none of the popular, scholarly, or sociopolitical definitions are sufficient.

Languages and dialects can be defined

Both political and linguistic factors can help distinguish between languages and dialects.

We can make a sociopolitical distinction between languages and dialects

The difference between a dialect and a language can be explained both historically and currently with political and social factors.

We can make a Linguistic distinction between languages and dialects

The difference between a language and a dialect can be explained using several linguistic guidelines as well as recent scientific evidence.
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This page was last edited on Wednesday, 5 Aug 2020 at 19:58 UTC