We explain what dialects are, how they are classified and why they are important. Also, what are its characteristics and examples.
What are dialects?
A dialect or dialect variant is one of the possible manifestations of a certain language or language . It occurs within the framework of a specific context (usually geographic), and does not present radical differences with respect to the language that make understanding impossible.
In other words, dialects are each of the specific ways of speaking a language that are distinguished in their speech, although they belong to the same system of meanings and the same grammatical logic, that is, to the same language.
It is not easy to distinguish between the dialects of a language , nor is it easy to determine who speaks a language and who speaks a dialect. These distinctions are generally of a socio-political rather than linguistic type, since “neutral” or objective forms do not really exist in verbal language .
Differences with a language
In principle, a language is the sum of all the dialects, styles , variants and manifestations in which its speakers put it into practice.
In that sense, a language is an abstraction .
This means that dialects form a sector within the order of the language , that is, they are an internal category, but not for that reason negligible or of lesser value.
It could be said that if the language is an ideal way of speaking , each dialect is a real way of doing it.
Two types of dialect are recognized:
- Geographical. Called “diatopic variants” or “geolects”, they are the variations of the same language that take place in the different populations that speak it, as a consequence of the passage of time and geographical separation .
- Social. Called “diastratic variants” or “sociolects”, they are the variations of the same language that take place between different strata, social classes , professions or social and cultural circuits.
Why are dialects important?
Dialects are the language in its most alive state that exists .
They are the specific way in which we practitioners of a language speak, taking into account our historical, cultural and anthropological context , that is, making the language a reflection of our existence.
Far from being a secondary category, dialects are the “truth” of the language .
The dialects are:
- Local. They belong to a certain sector of the speakers of a language, although the rest can understand or recognize it at least as part of the same language .
- Contextual. They present different forms of elaboration depending on the context of use, such as registration (formal, informal, colloquial), command of the language or “standard” variety (high, medium, low) and individual or personal style.
- Historical Each dialect has its own history of elaboration, which is also part of the history of the language to which they belong.
How to recognize dialects?
When it comes to recognizing whether two forms of speech are dialects of the same previous language, the following reasons are taken into account:
- Mutual intelligibility. Two dialects of the same language will appear to be very different, but between them they will present a common ground that will allow them to recognize and understand each other to a certain degree.
- Shared territoriality. Two dialects are generally located in the same territory and often the same political unit, either in the present or in some near past.
- Common writing. The dialects of the same language share writing and generally have a common literary tradition.
Bad uses of the term
The term dialect has been used as a way to discredit the language of some communities . It is used to suggest that a language does not become a language because it is minor, insignificant or despicable.
This attitude has been taken mainly with the pre-Columbian American languages . This is a conceptual error, since these languages were fully used languages that came from their own linguistic families.
In addition, a racial prejudice that diminishes or infantilizes the oppressed and exterminated civilizations during the conquest .
The Spanish language has different dialects. They can be explained taking into account a larger geographical division , which contrasts the way in which they speak in Europe and the way in which they speak in America :
- Peninsular dialect. The one spoken in Europe, especially in Spain . It is characterized by the use of you , and the pronunciation of the c and the z . It can in turn be divided into two different dialects:
- Northern dialects. Those spoken in the northern half of the Iberian Peninsula, such as the Castilian dialect (Castilian Castilian), Aragonese, Riojan, Leonese or Churro or Valencian.
- Southern dialects. Those spoken in the southern half of the country and in the Canary Islands, including Andalusian, Extremadura, Canarian, Manchego, Madrid and Murcian. Unlike the previous ones, they tend to the seseo, the yeísmo and the final aspiration of the s , as in America.
- American dialect. The one spoken in Latin America, is characterized by being yeísta, sixties and totally omitting the pronoun you . In some cases voseo is used. This Spanish has a gigantic dialect variety of its own, which can be summarized in regional dialects:
- Andean dialect. Known in Peru and Ecuador as “Serrano”, it is typical of the communities of the Andean mountain range, such as the south of Colombia and south-west Venezuela, the east of Ecuador, much of Peru, Bolivia , Paraguay, and the north of Argentina and Chile. It is distinguished by its pronunciation of the final s and its voiced fricative erre ( rr ).
- Caribbean dialect. Spoken in the Caribbean basin, from the coasts of Colombia, Venezuela and Panama, to the Spanish-speaking islands (Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic) and the US state of Florida. It is characterized by its notorious Canarian and Andalusian influence, its influence from North American English in its lexicon, and its strong African heritage.
- Central American dialect. A set of variants spoken in Costa Rica, Nicaragua , Honduras, El Salvador and the Mexican state of Chiapas. They are characterized by the predominant voseo and a tendency to the conservative norm (to the “cultured norm”) that distinguishes it from the rest of the continent.
- Mexican dialect. A set of dialects and sociolects of the Mexican territory, whose cultured norm is that of Mexico City , but it presents an enormous heritage of indigenous lexicons. The Yucatecan dialect, whose variation is such that it seems a different language, and the Neo-Mexican dialect, spoken in the state of Chihuahua and in the US states of New Mexico and Colorado, stand out, a unique mixture of Nahuatl, Anglicisms and medieval Spanish.
- River Plate dialect. Spoken in the vicinity of the Río de la Plata: Argentina (Central-East and South of the country) and Uruguay . It has a characteristic use of voseo ( you instead of you ) and a strong presence of Italianism.
- Chilean dialect. The official Chilean variant, different from all the others. It is characterized by being very fast, for its intermediate ups and downs in the sentence , and minority voseous reminiscences.
The language or language is a coding system that allows mutual understanding, as long as it is handled by both the sender and the receiver in a communicative act.
For that to be possible, the language is:
- Collective. It cannot be spoken and accepted by a single individual, but must be used by a community. Dead languages, for example, are those that no one speaks, even though it is possible to have a record of how they operated.
- Ideal . Language has to do with an order of linguistic categories and forms that are mental, not concrete. When they are articulated in real sounds , we are in the presence of speech .
- Rigid . Language operates as a linguistic mold, made up of rules , exceptions, prohibitions, and so on. An individual alone cannot change the norm, nor can he impose on others how he would like the tongue to begin to operate.
- Flexible . Paradoxically, the language is also flexible, since it allows the creativity of its users, the incorporation of loanwords from other languages or innovations , and it allows itself to change over time , as evidenced by the mode of evolution of the languages. different languages.
Contrary to language, speech is the concrete manifestation of the mental and social code contained in it. It is characterized by being:
- Individual. Everyone has their own peculiar way of speaking the same language, depending on their tastes, nationality, physical constitution, etc.
- Concrete. Speech is the specific way of emitting sounds framed in the language code, so that it consists of sound waves perceived by our ears.
- Changing Speech is pure mutability: it can vary from day to day, from context to context, from speaker to speaker, and from one state of mind to another. However, always within certain basic rules of the language.
Examples of dialects
Some examples of dialects are:
- From Italian. Tuscan, Piedmontese, Sardinian, Abruzzese, Milanese, Pugliese, etc.
- From French. Haitian Creole, Cajun, Camfranglais, Antillean Creole, Quebec French, etc.
- From Chinese-Mandarin. Yángzhöu dialect, Xï’än dialect, Chéngdü dialect, etc.
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