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How to Define Dialect and Language – A Proposal for Further Discussion 

Zurück zum Heft: Linguistische Berichte Heft 219
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This article proposes definitions of two key concepts in linguistics, dialect and language, and formulates these in analogy to the biological concepts population and species. This allows for a much more coherent way of defining these concepts. In addition, a three-level model of language consisting of (i) an innate faculty of language (FL), (ii) I-language, and (iii) utterances will be proposed. Some of the more radical consequences resulting from this approach concern standard languages which are considered as entirely different entities, and languages traditionally known as Chinese, German, Dutch etc. which are claimed not to exist from a strictly linguistic point of view.