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Dialect - by Lingua TranslationsAccording to the database Ethnologue, there are 6909 living languages in the world. An immense number. This includes those, which some people (myself included) might have considered as dialects but which are given language status in the Ethnologue and other publications.

Whilst working at Lingua Translations I have been able to interact with translators and interpreters of many languages but also dialects. As a student of Italian I have come to realise just how varied Italian is across Italy. Although I was aware of the different dialects throughout the country, it wasn’t until recently that I realised some of these dialects are considered, by some, as languages in their own right.

Take Lombard for example, it is considered by official standards to be an Italian dialect but in the Ethnologue publication it is listed as a language. It is the same for the majority of dialects in Italy, despite the fact that many of them are not immediately recognisable as being related to Italian.

So what is the difference between a dialect and a language? Perhaps the most obvious categorisation is size. Dialects are viewed as smaller subcategories of larger languages. So, Italian is made up of the standard version, along with Lombard, Bergamascque, Ennese, Messinese etc. Of course not all of these dialects meet the criteria to be considered a language but when a dialect varies so much from the language to which it is linked, should it not be given a language status? Dialects in many countries bear no resemblance to the language they supposedly stem from, whilst in others it is clear that there are only minor differences.

Whether varieties are referred to as dialects depends on if they have no codified form – so if they have not gone through the official process and met certain criteria. Similarly, if they are not often used in written form but rather are simply oral, they may not be considered as a language in their own right.

As is expressed in the quotation “A language is a dialect with an army and a navy”, it is not just linguistic aspects that are used to determine the difference between the two. In fact, social and political aspects can affect how a language variety is viewed. Communities and regions where dialects are spoken might use this distinction between language varieties as another way to distinguish themselves from other parts of the same country, for example.

With so many languages in the world and so many dialects within them is it any wonder that translation and interpreting are so important? What are some of the rarest languages and dialects you’ve encountered?

To see just some of the languages we work with here at Lingua Translations, please visit our languages page.



disney-institute-lingua-translations 178 × 75
amazon-lingua-translations 120 × 28
procter-gamble - Lingua Translations 114 × 92
london-partners-lingua-translations 154 × 101
Swansea City | Lingua Translations 154 x 146
Man City | Lingua Translations 154 × 154
FC_Barcelona_(crest) 154 × 156
Star_Wars_Logo.svg_-1 1280 × 773
FiFA | lingua Translations 154 × 86
The-Score 232x120
M & S 271 × 186
Walmart-Lingua Translations 232 × 65
Welsh Government & Lingua Translations 400 × 400
Costco & Lingua Translations 232 × 155

 

TUI-Group Testimonial 205 × 46 EN

Ian Chapman – Director of Holiday Experience –

“Lingua Translations provides instant multi-lingual options for TUI’s 24/7 Holidayline, so 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year TUI’s customers are connected to an interpreter instantaneously. This service is designed to help holidaymakers who find themselves in difficulty and require non-English language assistance.

The service offered by Lingua Translations provides us with instant translation for every destination we travel to, and has proved invaluable.”

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