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Language or Dialect? – The History of a Conceptual Pair - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Language or Dialect?: The History of a Conceptual Pair

Raf Van Rooy


‘What is the difference between a language and a dialect?’ is one of the questions most frequently asked of linguists. A notorious and oft-repeated answer is ‘A language is a dialect with an army and navy’, wrongly attributed to Max Weinreich. Linguists have mostly used this witticism as a handy way to end the discussion and dismiss the distinction between language and dialect as a political question irrelevant to their discipline. This book does not attempt to answer this seemingly unsolvable puzzle either but aims to shed light on a simple fact usually overlooked by linguists and laypeople a ... More

Keywords: Language / dialect distinction, history, linguistics, dialect, language, conceptual pair, antiquity, Middle Ages, early modern period, modern linguistics

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2020 Print ISBN-13: 9780198845713
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198845713.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Raf Van Rooy, author
Postdoctoral Fellow, Research Foundation-Flanders (FWO), KU Leuven

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