Criteria for LANGUAGE vs DIALECT differentiation in Romance linguistics

Boris P. Narumov
Institute of Linguistics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian Federation


The published material is a fragment from an unfinished book by B.P. Narumov (1946–2007) on the criteria for defining and differentiating language and dialect in Romance linguistics. The criteria are basically centered around the sociolinguistic situation in the countries of Romance languages, including the language consciousness of speakers and the mutual intelligibility between various idioms. Both criteria appear to be rather ambiguous. The speakers of dialects may be unaware of their own affiliation to a certain dialectal area. As for the mutual intelligibility, it may sometimes settle between the speakers of different languages, too. Also, its level tends to fluctuate. The paper examines the adopted in Romance linguistics theoretical conception of the way language, nation and state are related to one other. Another basic point Romance philologists make is the means for language minorities to integrate into multinational and multi-language states. The criterion of a sociolinguistic status proves to be the most universal, as the process of a linguistic entity gaining official status is usually accompanied by its establishing in the capacity of language.

Keywords: Romance languages, language stratification, sociolinguistics situation

For citation: Narumov B.P. Criteria for LANGUAGE vs DIALECT differentiation in Romance linguistics. Sociolinguistics, 2020, no. 4(4) [online], pp. 198–216 (In Russ.)

DOI: 10.37892/2713-2951-2020-4-4-198-216