Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A regional or social variety of a language distinguished by pronunciation, grammar, or vocabulary, especially a variety of speech differing from the standard literary language or speech pattern of the culture in which it exists.
  • noun A variety of language that with other varieties constitutes a single language of which no single variety is standard.
  • noun The language peculiar to the members of a group, especially in an occupation; jargon.
  • noun The manner or style of expressing oneself in language or the arts.
  • noun A language considered as part of a larger family of languages or a linguistic branch. Not in scientific use.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To make dialectal.
  • noun Language; speech; mode of speech; manner of speaking.
  • noun One of a number of related modes of speech, regarded as descended from a common original; a language viewed in its relation to other languages of the same kindred; the idiom of a district or class, differing from that of other districts or classes.
  • noun The idiom of a locality or class, as distinguished from the generally accepted literary language, or speech of educated people.
  • noun 4 Dialectic; logic.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Means or mode of expressing thoughts; language; tongue; form of speech.
  • noun The form of speech of a limited region or people, as distinguished from ether forms nearly related to it; a variety or subdivision of a language; speech characterized by local peculiarities or specific circumstances

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun 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.
  • noun A dialect of a language perceived as substandard and wrong.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the usage or vocabulary that is characteristic of a specific group of people

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French dialecte, from Old French, from Latin dialectus, form of speech, from Greek dialektos, speech, from dialegesthai, to discourse, use a dialect : dia-, between, over; see dia– + legesthai, middle voice of legein, to speak; see leg- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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").

Examples

  • The second part of my reason for not writing these poems in dialect is the weightier.

    God's Trombones Seven Negro Sermons in Verse

  • OF what shall be said herein of dialect, let it be understood the term dialect referred to is of that general breadth of meaning given it to-day, namely, any speech or vernacular outside of the prescribed form of good English in its present state.

    The Complete Works of James Whitcomb Riley, Volume 10

  • Assyrian tongue differed only in dialect from the Hebrew, but in the

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

  • Note that the a dialect is a distinctive usage of vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation.

    Matthew Yglesias » Identity Politics for White People

  • Whether you call it a different language or a dialect is academic, all that is at issue here is whether a story told from a British point of view should be read/can be understood by Americans if presented as originally written.

    I say pyjama…

  • First, although the dialect is the exact instrument for voicing certain traditional phases of Negro life, it is, and perhaps by that very exactness, a quite limited instrument.

    God's Trombones Seven Negro Sermons in Verse

  • A dialect is a variant within a language, and there's no hard and fast rule on when a dialect becomes a separate language (is Espanglish a dialect of English, of Spanish, or a separate language, por exemplo), but the point here is that a Tzotzil speaker is not using a "dialect" of Spanish, but a different language, from a different language family.

    Dialect and Language discussion - pulled from another thread . . .

  • A dialect is a variant within a language, and there's no hard and fast rule on when a dialect becomes a separate language (is Espanglish a dialect of English, of Spanish, or a separate language, por exemplo), but the point here is that a Tzotzil speaker is not using a "dialect" of Spanish, but a different language, from a different language family.

    Dialect and Language discussion - pulled from another thread . . .

  • A dialect is a variant within a language, and there's no hard and fast rule on when a dialect becomes a separate language (is Espanglish a dialect of English, of Spanish, or a separate language, por exemplo), but the point here is that a Tzotzil speaker is not using a "dialect" of Spanish, but a different language, from a different language family.

    Dialect and Language discussion - pulled from another thread . . .

  • A dialect is a variant within a language, and there's no hard and fast rule on when a dialect becomes a separate language (is Espanglish a dialect of English, of Spanish, or a separate language, por exemplo), but the point here is that a Tzotzil speaker is not using a "dialect" of Spanish, but a different language, from a different language family.

    Dialect and Language discussion - pulled from another thread . . .

Comments

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  • As a sociolinguist, I study the science of language in its social context. I began my lecture by describing the different ways that linguists subcategorize languages. Dialects, which most people are familiar with, are regional varieties of a language, like Texan or Midwestern English. But there are also ethnolects, associated with specific ethnic groups, like Chicano and Jewish English, and genderlects which refer to the distinctive ways that women and men talk.

    An idiolect is not the language of idiots, but an idiosyncratic form of language that is unique to an individual. No two individuals—not even family members living under the same roof—speak the exact same language. We all pronounce words slightly differently, have different inflections in our voices, and choose different words to refer to the same thing.

    Jennifer Sclafani, The Idolect of Donald Trump, Scientific American Mind blog, March 16, 2016

    October 10, 2016