Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Subject:||Is creole considered a language?|
I've been debating with someone on whether Jamaican Creole is a
language. The person believes that it is a language since it
contains all of the features of a language. I believe that it would
be considered a dialect since English is the standard language of
the country and Jamaican Creole is used colloquially. However, I've
read that defining a creole as a language differs from linguist to
linguist. Who is correct?
English is, technically, a creole, given its historical origins. The same is likely to be claimed of many uses of language that we currently call “languages”.
A dialect, on the other hand, is usually defined as a variety of the same language. For example, American English and British English are dialects of English – each with various sub-dialects.
As you note, the choice to call a language a dialect or a dialect a language has to do with political decisions about which way(s) of speaking is/are official in a country. It has nothing to do with linguistic factors, hence the difficulty that you also note in providing linguistic criteria for a definition.
These blog posts of mine may be of interest to you:
Language “integrity”: http://beingmultilingual.blogspot.com/2012/05/language-integrity.html
Being multilingual in a single language?: http://beingmultilingual.blogspot.com/2012/05/being-multilingual-in-single-language.html
|Reply From:||Madalena Cruz-Ferreira click here to access email|