Home Forums Discussion Board Discussion 1.2 – Dialects & Standard English

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    • #1877
      admin adminadmin

      Being particularly familiar with Romania and Italy, I can say there certainly are tens of ‘dialects’ in these countries, and none are recognized as actual languages, as in the case of Mexico presented in the course. Wikipedia claims that Romanian dialects are all mutually intelligible, but I disagree to an extent. In my experience, you can put together a person from the south/south-east of the country with someone from the north and difficulties of understanding would arise, especially if there is a generational gap. Unfortunately, many of the regional languages of both Romania and Italy are vulnerable or seriously endangered, with older generations mostly being the ones keeping the languages alive. In Italy, these languages are so complex and have German or French influences, and one regional language I was exposed to sounded closer to Romanian than standard Italian!

      I agree with the linguistic claim that Standard English is in itself a dialect…I would say it is a ‘variety’ of the language. It shouldn’t be given more importance or status than the other varieties, in a perfect world…

      I’d be interested to learn more about others’ regional languages from their countries and their views on them.

      To view past replies go to: https://changingenglishes.proboards.com/thread/6/dialects-standard-english

      • This topic was modified 3 years ago by admin adminadmin.
    • #3321
      Joshua TanJoshua Tan

      As a Malaysia from the southern region, I professed that I couldn’t comprehend the Malay speakers from the Northern region of the country. This is because the Northern accent of the Malay language is very different from the southern accent. In some ways, I can draw a parallel experience with the New Zealand English (where “e” is pronounced as “i” and that “accent” sounds more like “accint”). These diversities among different dialects are simply beautiful.

      • #4044

        In Philippines, we also have have a lot of dialects. These dialects originated from different places and islands since our country is an archipelago. These dialects are both spoken by indigenous people or common citizens. Even our official language ‘Filipino’ is also mixed words (e.g. Chinese, Spanish and English) since we have been colonized in early years. I cannot tell if some dialects are fading though.

        As for people who are living in the city, mostly, they speak English (English is also considered as our second language, first language to some). The only time that they would be speaking in our mother tongue or dialect is when they met someone who came from the same hometown.

        As for accents, dialects affect accents too especially the if the sounds of English are not present in their dialects.

    • #3349

      In Sri Lanka, Sinhala and Tamil are the two languages used by a majority of the people. There are regional differences in spoken Sinhala, however, differences are not so great that it would make one regional variety unintelligible to the users of others. There are different varieties even in Tamil and these differences are regional as well as caste-based. However, I’m not in a position to comment on the intelligibility of each of these varieties for its different users.

      I too agree that the so-called Standard English is just another variety/dialect of English. It is that due to some socio-historical reasons this variety/dialect was codified. It is in fact the codification of this variety/dialect together with various other socio-political and economic reasons that ultimately led it to be idealized as “the standard variety”.

    • #3431

      In Thailand , there are mainly 4 dialects namely: North , South, North East and Central dialects. When people from the south are talking thier dialect , I cannot catch up all of them because they are speak very fast. I am from NorthEast I understand North dialect more than South because my dialect is close to North. When people use their dialect they probably communicate more direct than official language. Diversity is the best!!!!

    • #3499

      As there are over 100 races in our country(Myanmar), there are many dialects. But, we mainly use Burmese language to communicate. There are two parts of Myanmar, Upper and Lower. For those parts, only the intonations are different. We mostly understand what each other says.

    • #3541

      In my country (Iran) there are several languages that labeled as “dialects” and people try to adhere to standard Farsi as they have been taught so, specially in writing or formal speaking and addressing. But you can see they are far from being a dialect since for example Turkish language here in Iran is widely spoken by so many people but it is not identical to language of Turkey at all. In fact there are some overlaps in certain areas, but not all of them. So labeling all of that non-standard and non-Farsi as “dialect” is somehow wrong in my opinion and sometimes it causes the matter of social and cultural conflicts and identity for no-users of it.
      I feel it’s correct to point to the standard English as non-regional dialect but to to most of people and laymen it has no meaning and benefits at all since mostly they have raised by the monolithic educational system. So they can not get the underlying meaning of it.

    • #3629

      We speak telugu in Andhra Pradesh, India. We have many dialects in this language but we follow certain rules while writing and speaking formally. I never knew that standard English can be a form of dialect, as I am new to this area of study.

    • #3672

      In Poland most of the people use more or less the same variety of Polish. Nevertheless, we have local dialect which are very often maintained and respected by local communities. These dialects are not mutually intelligible due to big differences in vocabulary caused by historical influences of other countries. Most of the people who speak those dialects can also use the more standard version of Polish to communicate with others and are able to switch between those varieties. Regional dialect are usually respected by most Poles and their speakers are not looked down upon. Unfortunately, we also have so-called “redneck Polish”, which is mainly used in villages and many people consider it an inferior variety of Polish. Moreover, its users are thought to be uneducated or even unintelligent 🙁

      • #5505
        Saul SantosSaul Santos

        Yes, sadly the way people perceive languages shape the way they treat people who speak those languages. In Spanish there is a saying: ‘they will treat you according to how they see you’, but I think it is also true to say: ‘they will treat you according to how they hear you’. Therefore it is important to include in initial education topics related to language, language variation and so on…

        • #6527
          Wenwen GuoWenwen Guo

          Totally agree on the initial education on language. As stated in the main course, there are a lot of dialects existing in China, and due to certain socio-historical influences, Mandarin is the recognized “standard” Chinese. And students who were only exposed to regional dialects before their primary or secondary schools sometimes get bullied in schools because they cannot say proper Chinese and thus are seen as somehow inferior to thoses who can. Sadly this can also relate to the economic status that a family holds, because it is assumed that lower-income families do not educate their children properly to have the “good” Mandarin accent.

    • #3731

      In Egypt we use many dilates from Arabiv

    • #3908

      In Sri Lanka,when it comes to one of its first languages – Sinhala, there are many regional dialects: Up county Sinhala, Low country Sinhala in the spoken variety of language. However, in formal discourse i.e. in the written variety, there’s only one norm which is regarded the standard.
      The question who decides the standard, or are varieties of English regarded subordinate?, which English should be taught to students of ESL? are some doubts which linger in my mind as an ELT practitioner.

    • #4209
      Dauda PikawiDauda Pikawi

      Dialects or vernaculars are names given to a language whose ‘prestige’ is not up to the so- called ‘standard English’ in many parts of Nigeria. And the teachers of the said standard English barely have the ‘standard competence’. The question as pointed above, is who decides the standard?

    • #4240
      Julio TorresJulio Torres

      In Colombia we have the official language which is Spanish, however, some indigenous language are used in their territories. There is a stron belief about Standard Spanish anyways, despite the very many varieties of Spanish in Colombia and in Latin America. English is considered a Foreign language in the mainland and it is only spoken in San Andres Islands and Providence in a creole variety in combination with Spanish for everyday use.

    • #4248
      Damien WeissDamien Weiss

      In France, local dialects are called “patois”. They are variations on “standard” French, with difference that vary from subtle to huge.
      “Patois” are viewed with fondness, as they are part of each region’s identity. Young people with a strong sense of belonging to their home region will try and save it from exctinction. However, no one in their right mind would use them in a business reunion.
      For instance, the popular “Bienvenu chez les Ch’tis” comedy drives most of its humour from the use of northern “Chtimi”, and it is treated as both endearing and amusing for outsiders. However, the success of this movie was seen with pride by locals, who saw it as an Opportunity to give their local brand of French some well deserved recognition.

    • #4263

      A mon avi, standardization of a language are largely for political reasons as well as to foster unity among a group of people from diverse background.

    • #4606

      ‘Standard English’ as an idealized form is a regional dialect. However, it can be used in different regions and different accents. Perhaps variety is a better term as dialect has negative connotations in English. The linguistic claim is correct – ‘Standard’ English is no better or worse than any other variety. It is only the social importance attached to ‘Standard’ English that means it is viewed as being superior.

    • #4630

      In Sri Lankan, majority of the Sinhala and Tamil speakers use Sinhalese and Tamil as their mother tongue. (L1 language) English language plays a link language among both ethnic groups and most importantly, English language uses as official language in the educational and administration matters in the country. There are certain dialects existed in Sinhala language based on the region while Tamil language based on the cast. However, it is needed to mention that there are no conflicts among the language dialects of these two main languages. But when it comes to English language, there is a conflict between the Standard Sri Lankan English and Non-Standard Sri Lankan English (non-put English). Furthermore, Sri Lankans try hard to learn Standard British English variety (which is impossible)in order to pass the British exams like YLE, KET,PET,CEIP and etc.

    • #4675

      There are several dialects in the U.S. which can be unintelligible to folks from other regions. For example, in North Carolina, someone might say to you as you leave their house “Ya’ll come back now, chear?” (Which means, “All of you should come back to visit again.”) or in Boston, someone might tell you, “I took a wicken diggah in my dooryard.” (Which means I fell down in my driveway).

      We can also tell which part of the U.S. we’re in based on what a person calls bubbly, sugary water. Is it soda, pop, or coke?

    • #5200

      Q1: There are three dialects in the territory of Latvia: the Livonian Dialect, the Middle Dialect, and the High Latvian dialect. Latvian literary language has been formed on the Middle Dialect. Also, we have Latgalian (it is still debated whether it is a separate language with heavy Latvian influence or an eastern dialect of Latvian). The name was derived from the name of one of the four regions where Latgalian is mostly spoken: Latgale (the easter part of Latvia). So, Latgalian is based on the Latgalian subdialects of the High Latvian dialect. It differs significantly from the Middle and Livonian Dialects as well as the Latvian literary language. Unfortunately, there are various prejudices against Latgalian outside the region of Latgale. Sometimes, it is even labelled as a ‘language of the farmers’ meaning ‘uneducated’. However, within the region, speakers of Latgalian are proud users of this, I would say language.
      Q2: Treating StE as a single entity with coherent and solid boundaries is an empirical mistake especially in the 21st century (globalisation, internationalisation, ELF (Jenkins)). However, for many people, the folk belief that there ought to be a ‘correct’ way of speaking and writing for all contexts and times persists to be the only acceptable way of using a language. As Milroy (1999) stated ‘standard languages are fixed and uniform-state idealisations – not empirically verifiable realities’ (p.18). Standard language can only be ‘an idea in the mind rather than a reality – a set of abstract norms to which actual usage may confirm to a greater or lesser extent’ (Milroy &Milroy, 2002:19). Therefore, it is crucial to change an assumption of language having only correct and incorrect forms to an assumption of language having multiple linguistically legitimate forms.

    • #5263

      There are several dialects in my country (which is a pluricultural one). However, dialects are usually considered low-quality variations of the “right” or ‘standard’ version of language which is spoken/written by ‘educated’ people and that appears on the news on TV. It is typically said that every dialect should be respected and preserved. However, more and more people are trying to lose their own dialects in an attempt to be “accepted” by the “educated” group of the big cities (when looking for jobs, for example).

    • #5270

      All nations with their languages and dialects should be respected and valued. What makes languages interesting and practical is relevant to human’s mutual understanding.

    • #5273

      Yorkshire forever

    • #5314

      In my home country, there aren’t many dialects and/or accents. That is why for most of us, it is unbelievably challenging to wrap our heads around the concept of regional Englishes. I am an teacher of English and when I speak in a Cockney or a Yorkshire or even in an Edinburgh accent, my learners are perplexed. Sometimes they even get angry when they do not understand what I say. For them Standard English is the only way (not Essex) 🤣. So expressing their frustration, they tend to ask me to speak ‘good’ English in their frustration. Then I try to make them understand how inaccurate their view is.

    • #5346
      Bruno BritoBruno Brito

      IN my country, Brazil, there are a lot of dialects because of th strong brutal colonization. Still nowdays some accents are marginalized while other are better viewd.
      In my opnion, standard english can definitely be understood as non regional dialtec and it’s simple to understand: The so-called standard English didn’t begin like this. I has chaged for years and it will keep changing because languages changes through time. New experiences, new words and even new syntax.

    • #5378

      What do you feel about the linguistic claim that ‘Standard English’ is (just) a non-regional dialect?
      As an expat whose L1 is GBEng (and listening to the BBC all day long!), it is a salutary lesson to be reminded of my L1’s place in the universe! Even worse for shaping my beliefs, I am an ELT tutor, working in a context in which English is either right or wrong, where accuracy is king. I find myself promoting fluency and communication with my students (but accuracy when I proofread EAP texts for an international readership).

    • #5392

      This is prevalent in my country, the Philippines. If you don’t speak the national language which is English or Filipino/Tagalog, then you speak a “dialect” which is construed to be lower in rank since these “dialects” are mostly spoken in the countryside. It is sad and I hope language teachers should clarify this misconception in their instruction.

    • #5404

      Having grown up in an Italian family dialect was the first language learnt and then the so called standard Italian was learned which was quite different. The italian dialect was a different language to the standardised Italian. Dialects, especially that there are so many in Italy, are fascinating and very different to the standard language. You could say that the dialect I learnt was a lingua franca as it was a way of communicating to a specific community.

    • #5413

      There are many dialects in Greece. Almost every region has its “language” which may bear similarities to the standard language or may be totally different. Mainly, dialects are spoken in the countryside and not in urban centres.

    • #5475

      In Brazilian Portuguese, dialects are linguistic variations that have geographic boundaries. People of certain regions in the same country speak the national language in different forms with different words.
      I believe “Standard English” is a myth sustained by North Global countries to impose their false ownership of the language.

    • #5504
      Saul SantosSaul Santos

      I am from Mexico. As the reading says, in Mexico, for a long time, indigenous languages were not given the status of ‘language’. Arguments have to do with the number of speakers, the fact that they have not developed a written system, and no ‘literature’ has been developed in those languages. Hence, they were considered ‘dialects’. For people in general, a dialect is a way of speaking that is not sufficently develop as to be considered a proper language. Recently, in 2003, mexican indigenous languages have been given the status of national languages in the constitution, but for most people, including indigenous people, they are dialects in the sense described above.

      Standard varieties of a language have more to do with ideological than linguistic stands. I associate the notion of a standard variety with prescriptive beliefs of good and bad versions of a language. Rather than ‘corrrect’, the notion of ‘appropriate’ may help in understanding thet different ways of speaking respond to geographical, social, contextual circumstances.

    • #5550

      As the admin said in the first post (and someone else mentioned in one of the replies), there are many “dialects” in Italy, which are in fact local languages. Unfortunately, only a few of them have obtained the legal status (and financial support) of a “real” language, including my own (Sardinian). In one of the replies, somebody rightly pointed out that language standardisation has political reasons. I totally agree: when national states were born, that was one of the most important elements on which they were based.

    • #5564

      I live in Salta, in the north of Argentina. Here we have the official language Spanish, however, some indigenous languages are used such as “QUECHUA” or MBYA GUARANI. But I have to say that there are a lot of accents and typical words according to the region

    • #5578

      I am from Cornwall, South West England. It is particularly interesting that in the UK many dialects stem from other languages. In fact, the Cornish dialect, spoken by a few today stems from the Cornish language. We must remove all snobbishness when talking about dialects and accents and rather view them as curiosities. If, for some reason, government and the printing press were centred in Cornwall then maybe people around the world would be speaking a variation of Cornish. In other words, there is no more valid version of a language, but techniques should be developed for understanding and conversing with the spectrum of accents and dialogues that we could encounter.

    • #5728
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    • #5962
      Olga KravetsOlga Kravets

      It is quite possible to assume that standard English is merely a dialect which historically began to be considered a standard.

    • #6323

      There are four main dialects in Thailand based on its four regions, including North, North East, South and Central ones. Not only these dialects are different from each others in terms of tones, words and meanings, each dialect, used in different cities of the same region, has also dissilar intonations and words for the same meaning.

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    • #6513

      Q1. The Chilean Spanish could be considered a dialect itself. It is a reflection of the diversity of the Chilean population, the free use of the language, and the geographic isolation of the country. It includes particular features such as words, word usage, grammar, intonation, pronunciation, and gestures, which makes it a rare variety of Spanish. Another interesting characteristic is how easy is for Chileans to adopt foreign words (e.g. shopping, backstage, wifi, show), and adapt words from indigenous languages (e.g. Guata from huata [stomach] in Mapuzungún; Guagua from wawa [baby] in Aymara; Anticucho [seasoned meat dices] in Quechua). In addition, it is possible to find sub varieties of the Chilean dialect according to socioeconomic status, age, and region of residence.
      Q2. I agree with StE being just a specific codified and institutionalised dialect. I don’t think is better or worse than other varieties but a convention for specific purposes. However, taking into account the fuzzy boundaries of a high-speed globalised world, I think trying to crystalise a dialect or a language into a ‘Standard’ is neither natural nor realistic.

    • #6715

      Q one. in Vietnamese language, we also have a lot of dialects, regional language spreading from the north to the south.
      Q two. I don’t agree with the assumption that standard English is just non regional dialect. from personal perspective, it is the prevalence of a regional dialect that we named “standard”

    • #6760
      Trang NguyenTrang Nguyen

      Dialect is defined as a particular form of a language which is peculiar to a specific region or a social group. In Vietnam there are numerous dialects but they are usually divided into three categories, which with a variety of accents: North, Central and South. I also agree that the so-called Standard English can be considered as a dialect due to the codification together with various other socio-political and economic reasons.

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    • #7331
      Brian LairdBrian Laird

      I think that Standard English lacks many of the features of a dialect and cannot really be described as such. The most obvious missing feature is a common mode of pronunciation, for example. I prefer to think of it as one variety of English among many, used mainly for the purposes of intelligibility.

    • #7416

      I live in Vietnam which has many different dialects. Although I am Vietnamese, I still find it difficult to understand dialects from different regions, especially Central Area and Western areas in Vietnam. So I think that languages itself are not universal and so complex so I agree with the statement that Standard English itself is dialects.

    • #7435
      Quan Duong HongQuan Duong

      I do believe dialects play the paramount role in standardizing any language and English is not exceptional. It’s the dialects that help diversify the language and transform it into a standard version itself.

    • #7640

      I disagree with the statement that anything other than standard English is referred to as a ‘dialect’, I think that your own views on English (monolithic or pluralithic) shape your opinion.

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