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What is the difference?


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What is the difference between a language and a dialect? My first impression would be that a dialect is a derivation of the language, but it's still the same language right? Or has it something to do with the number of speakers?

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Dialect is a subset of language that is particular to a specific region or social group.

Even though, a dialect is based on the main language, only a specific group of people speak that particular way. Those who speak a dialect, may have to alter their language, if they leave their region or social group, to be understood. So, while dialect is a language, it hasn't deviated enough to be considered it's own language.

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That's a really good and interesting question, capa :)  This question doesn't have a very simple answer, because in everyday use the dialect is considered a simple contrast to language, but linguists see language and dialect as a completely different thing that has more to do with  politics/power/geography. 

It's really complex depending on who you ask ;)  I personally see a dialect as the extension of a language.

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Dialect is the localized version of a language specific to a certain region. Let's say, everyone speaks English but in different regions and states, people have different interpretation of the language like different words and way of speaking.

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I see it pretty much as Daimashin puts it, we have a language and for some reason some of their speakers start to make some changes in the way words are spoken, if the changes are big enough it turns into "another" language - a dialect.

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Dialects are different forms of the original language. In some cases (such as Algeria in North Africa) the dialect combines two different languages. The Algerian dialect combines French (a result of several years of French occupation) and Arabic. I'm pretty sure only Algerians understand other Algerians.

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Language is the main and recognized form of speech. Dialects are part of the main language spoken but deviates from the original language either through pronunciation, accent, use of words, meaning and the like. Language is the recognized form of speaking a particular tongue and dialects are part of the the language which differ accordingly.

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As the other posters have pointed out, language is the general most well-known form whereas dialects are almost like accents and slang typically isolated in areas. They can evolve so much that speakers of the language might not necessarily understand or be able to speak a dialect.

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Dialect is a subset of language that is particular to a specific region or social group.

Even though, a dialect is based on the main language, only a specific group of people speak that particular way. Those who speak a dialect, may have to alter their language, if they leave their region or social group, to be understood. So, while dialect is a language, it hasn't deviated enough to be considered it's own language.

I agree with most of what you said. Language is looked at as the aggregate, while dialect is simply one of the units in the language. It has it's own variations, but it is still a derivative.  :emo:
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Dialects are different forms of the original language. In some cases (such as Algeria in North Africa) the dialect combines two different languages. The Algerian dialect combines French (a result of several years of French occupation) and Arabic. I'm pretty sure only Algerians understand other Algerians.

So in this case you mention what's the outcome, is Algerian a language or do they speak a dialect from French or Arabic?

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I'd venture to say, it's a dialect of Arabic that is spoken.

Arabic has been an official language, if theirs, since 1963.  In 2002, they added Berber as a national language since, apparently, the majority of the population speaks Arabic, Berber or both. French is not listed as an official language; although, many can speak it, only a small percentage can read and/or write French. Therefore, I'd have to say, because it's spoken French, words have slipped into their Arabic; thus making it an Arabic dialect.

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Dialect is definitely different from language. Language is a specialized way in which a group of people communicate and this does not have to be by speech only. It could also be by sounds or symbols.A dialect is the characteristic speech of a district. Meaning,  smaller groups within a bigger group speaking differently.

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In our country the Philippines, Filipino or Tagalog is our mother tongue but we have different dialects in every region within the 3 big islands, our archipelago consists of. The difference is that language is on a national scale while the dialect are locally used in a certain region. The two though are used by the same people who live in a certain country. :)

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In our country the Philippines, Filipino or Tagalog is our mother tongue but we have different dialects in every region within the 3 big islands, our archipelago consists of. The difference is that language is on a national scale while the dialect are locally used in a certain region. The two though are used by the same people who live in a certain country. :)

I think it depends a lot on the country. In your case lizbeth, can everyone the Philippines understand each other or are there some dialects that are not understood by the Tagalog speakers?

At the same level, is Catalan a dialect of Spanish or an independent language?

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Dialect is similar to language, but I think that dialect is endemic to a particular area, just like what Lizbeth said. We also come from the same country and there are lots of dialects over here, especially in the provinces.

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