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See Wiktionary:Dialects for the treatment of dialects on Wiktionary.


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From Middle French dialecte, from Latin dialectos, dialectus, from Ancient Greek διάλεκτος (diálektos, conversation, the language of a country or a place or a nation, the local idiom which derives from a dominant language), from διαλέγομαι (dialégomai, I participate in a dialogue), from διά (diá, inter, through) + λέγω (légō, I speak).


  • IPA(key): /ˈdaɪ.ə.ˌlɛkt/
  • (file)


dialect (plural dialects)

  1. (linguistics) A variety of a language (specifically, often a spoken variety) that is characteristic of a particular area, community or group, often with relatively minor differences in vocabulary, style, spelling and pronunciation.
    • A language is a dialect with an army and a navy.
    • 1988, Andrew Radford, Transformational grammar: a first course, Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, page 139:
      And in addition, many dialects of English make no morphological distinction between Adjectives and Adverbs, and thus use Adjectives in contexts where the standard language requires -ly Adverbs: cf.
      (81) (a)      Tex talks really quickly [Adverb + Adverb]
              (b)   %Tex talks real quick [Adjective + Adjective]
  2. A dialect of a language perceived as substandard and wrong.
    • Roger W. Shuy, Discovering American dialects, National Council of Teachers of English, 1967, page 1:
      Many even deny it and say something like this: "No, we don't speak a dialect around here. [...]
    • Linguistic perspectives on black English, H. Carl, 1975, pg. 219:
      Well, those children don't speak dialect, not in this school. Maybe in the public schools, but not here.
    • H. Nigel Thomas, Spirits in the dark, Heinemann, 1994, pg. 11:
      [...] on the second day, Miss Anderson gave the school a lecture on why it was wrong to speak dialect. She had ended by saying "Respectable people don't speak dialect."
  3. A regional or minority language.
  4. (computing, programming) A variant of a non-standardized programming language.
    Home computers in the 1980s had many incompatible dialects of BASIC.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The difference between a language and a dialect is not always clear, but it is generally considered that people who speak different dialects can understand each other, while people who speak different languages cannot. Compare species in the biological sense.

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dialect n (plural dialecten, diminutive dialectje n)

  1. dialect
  2. slang




From French dialecte.


dialect n (plural dialecte)

  1. dialect

See also[edit]