María Isabel Maldonado García, Akhtar Hussain Sandhu


History is replete with events, change, cause and effect on the basis of language. Political movements and geographical changes occurred in different corners of the world and eras have slightly and massively been linked with language. Many regions are currently facing separatist movements mainly rooted in languages or dialects. A few authors have written about the criteria for defining a particular linguistic system as a language in terms of the number of speakers, its prestige, whether they have been accepted as national languages, whether they present written forms and literary traditions, whether similar linguistic systems exist in the same country or area which present an elevated level of lexical similarity, whether they have less number of speakers, etc. It seems simple to differentiate between a language and a dialect. However, although the definition of language seems to be clear and every dictionary of the world contains it, in practical terms when facing the dilemma of whether a particular linguistic system is a language or a dialect, these definitions are blurry from a scientific point of view and sociolinguistic and political pressures may play a role in many cases. This paper will propose better criteria towards differentiation of language and dialect basing the argument on the empirical evidence of the history of linguistics.

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