Dialects

Table of Contents

    The study of various dialectics comes under the field of sociolinguistics. A dialect can be identified as any variety of a language distinguished with the help of systematic variations in pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar and sometimes accent. Every individual speaks his/her own dialect in the way ideas are expressed. Some of the common examples of larger dialect forms are: British vs. American English, French vs. Creole etc. These language variations do not exist in vacuum and are directly impacted by social, cultural and geographical factors, incorporating the value of sociolinguistics in the field.

    The difference between a language and dialect is not clearly defined. Many researchers attempted to develop a concrete division formula between the two. However, sociolinguistics broadly defines language as a social phenomenon devised to construct meaning to convey the required information. Dialect on the other hand, is a form of language variation specific to a certain area which highlights the socio-political characteristics more than the linguistic ones. Generally, factors affecting language variation can be identified as follows:

    • Speakers in a settlement
    • Geographical boundaries
    • Contact of language with outside world
    • Economic environment
    • Social and ethnic differentiation
    • Interaction of social and cultural practices

    Additionally, dialects can be classified in three broad categories:

    • Regional dialects: A regional dialect is a language spoken in a certain region or geographical area. These dialects do not differ widely from the root language or necessarily evolve into an independent language.
    • Social dialects: Social dialects are reserved for certain members of a community or social group. Not all language groups used certain dialects as it depended on social hierarchy and differences. For example, in Anglo-Norman England, French was the official language of the court and social elites.
    • Occupational dialects: These dialects incorporate jargons or terms specifically related to certain industries or occupations such as mining, theatre, engineering etc.