literary language

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literary language (uncountable)

  1. (literature) A register of a language that is used in literary writing.
  2. (sociolinguistics, Slavistics) A language variety used as an institutional norm in a community, opposed to vernacular dialects; a standard language.[1][2]
    • 1977, Magomet Izmaylovich Isayev, National languages in the USSR: problems and solutions, Прогресс, p. 316:
      Literary languages have been enriched by dialects and have at the same time assisted the levelling out of dialectical differences which in its turn has contributed to [...].
    • 1990, United States. Congress. House. Committee on Foreign Affairs. Subcommittee on International Operations, Views on the Serbo-Croatian Language Service at the Voice of America:
      I would note that almost 12% of the population of the SRCroatia are Serbs and that they are obliged to use the "Croatian literary language" for official purposes even though this is not their native language.
    • 2003, Alex J. Bellamy, The Formation of Croatian National Identity, page 44:
      Gaj argued that the establishment of a common literary language was essential for the development of an Illyrian national consciousness and he attempted to bring together the three main dialects used by the Southern Slavs...
    • 2013, Suomalais-ugrilainen Seura, Mémoires de la Société finno-ougrienne, Volume 268 of Suomalais-ugrilaisen Seuran toimituksia, Nimilehti painettu Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seuran kirjapainossa, →ISBN, page 14:
      The Erzya and Moksha population, especially in urban areas, has become increasingly exposed to Russian; within this context, both the literary languages and the dialects have been affected to a considerable extent. In the course of being update the literary languages have experienced radical changes. An abundance of Russian terminology has been introduced in dictionaries; grammars have been prescribing the use of concurrent forms of the native and Russian languages as a norm.
    • 2014, K. Langston, A. Peti-Stantic, Language Planning and National Identity in Croatia:
      As they explain, 'the literary language is first of all a collection of expressive habits and customs, and to preserve the purity of the literary language can mean nothing other than to preserve these habits and customs' (Guberina and Krsic/ 1940: 77).

Usage notes[edit]

  • The "standard language" sense is primarily used with respect to the Slavic languages.[1] It is likely a direct translation (calque) of the Eastern European linguistic term.



  1. 1.0 1.1 Keith Langston; Anita Peti-Stantić (2014) Language Planning and National Identity in Croatia (Palgrave Studies in Minority Languages and Communities)‎[1], Springer, →ISBN, pages 26
  2. ^ H. Schuster-S̆ewc, Grammar of the Upper Sorbian Language: Phonology and Morphology, Lincom Europa, 1996, p. 249, →ISBN