LINGUIST List 6.1357

Thu Oct 5 1995

Disc: Language and Dialect

Editor for this issue: Ljuba Veselinova <>


  1. M J Hardman, Re: 6.1334 Language and Dialect, espanol & castellano
  2. Dejan Djukic, Re: Dialects

Message 1: Re: 6.1334 Language and Dialect, espanol & castellano

Date: Mon, 02 Oct 1995 02:03:32 Re: 6.1334 Language and Dialect, espanol & castellano
From: M J Hardman <>
Subject: Re: 6.1334 Language and Dialect, espanol & castellano

In Peru and Bolivia the language is castellano; espanol is used for
things and people from Spain. Because of influence from English some
people do now understand the usage of espanol to refer to the language,
but I never hear it used spontaneously. Children study "castellano" in
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Message 2: Re: Dialects

Date: Mon, 02 Oct 0200 17:47:40 Re: Dialects
From: Dejan Djukic <>
Subject: Re: Dialects

I am certainly not competent to discuss whether the Platdeutsch is a
dialect of German or Dutch, but I can surely give some comments on the

> Serbian and Croatian are historically obviously
> dialects of the same language, but Serbian is written in Cyrillic
> and Croatian is written in Roman -- and politically they have
> long been considered different languages, and have different
> geographic bases.

Well, this is the linguistical illusion that propagates for some time
and is propelled by certain political forces.

Serbian and Croatian were up to now two NAMES for ONE AND THE SAME
LANGUAGE, i.e. Serbocroat. The language had two main variants,
western spoken at the West, populated manily (since a few days ago:
only) by Croats, eastern variant spoken at the East. The difference
between the two was mainly in softer pronunciation in the west of the
ancient Slavonic letter yat, and somewhat different vocabulary.
NO difference in grammar. All in all, comparable to the difference
between the German German and the Austrian variant, or Parisian
v.s. Bruxelles French, and certainly less than the British
v.s. U.S. English (I dare say). As for the different geographical
bases, there was a smooth passage from one to the other: e.g. going
from east to west, the speech would become gradually less "eastern"
and more "western"; idem for the ethnical distribution. So, the Serbs
from the area of the western variant spoke the western variant, so
called "Croat" and wrote it in cyrillic. Vice versa, the Croats
living in the "eastern variant" area speak the language of the area,
naturally, so called "Serbian", and use Latin script for it. Up to
now, according to every possible LINGUISTICAL criterion, there were no
two (howbeit close) languages, but only ONE SINGLE language, and we
could even say, one single dialect (the "dialect" difference being
greater than the "variant" difference).

But all those were the facts up to now.

Presently, the language of Croatia changes rapidly. First, there are
new words invented to replace the "serbianisms", the latter having
become politically incorrect and even bearing danger for the person
who would venture to say them. Some declination suffices are changed
(the classical forms reintroduced). The orthography of the Latin
written variant was phonetical up to now, but now it is morphological,
as to differ from still phonetical "Serbian" orthography, the
difference only in alphabet being considered unsatisfactory. But as
the people is used to the phonetical orthography, there is now the
change in the pronunciation in order to fit the spoken word to its new
spelling. All these changes, are now taking place very rapidly thanks
mostly to the television and the press.

I should very much like to see a comment from an academically trained
linguist on these, and since the rate of these changes is so great, to
see these commented or discussed from time to time.


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