Dialect continuum

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Dialect continuum

Post  fearlove on Sat Nov 12, 2011 5:22 pm

A dialect continuum, or dialect area, was defined by Leonard Bloomfield as a range of dialects spoken across some geographical area that differ only slightly between neighboring areas, but as one travels in any direction, these differences accumulate such that speakers from opposite ends of the continuum are no longer mutually intelligible. (It is analogous to a ring species in evolutionary biology.) The lines we can draw between areas that differ with respect to any feature of language are called isoglosses.[1] According to the Ausbausprache Abstandsprache Dachsprache paradigm, these dialects can be considered Abstandsprachen (i.e., as stand-alone languages). However, they can be seen as dialects of a single language, provided that a common standard language, through which communication is possible, exists.

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