What is diglossia?


What is diglossia?

Language Community:

Language community is a term used by linguists to identify groups of people who use the same language with regard not only to understanding and speaking the same language, but also understanding implicit language cues. Interestingly, based on the latter aspect of this definition, language communities can be narrowly identified. For example, some argue that specific neighborhoods have unique language communities.

Answer and Explanation:

Diglossia describes a circumstance in which a group of people belonging to the same language community employ two different languages or dialects. Often, disglossic communities have a "low" and a "high" language. That is, the "lower" language is used for everyday communication, while the "higher" language is used in high-social contexts like education, law, or religion. A historic example of disglossia is in 11th century England in which French was the "high" language and English was the "low" language: after France conquered England, French was installed as the language of power, but English continued to be spoken in everyday exchanges. As such, England's language community became defined by diglossia.

Learn more about this topic:

Historical & Social Influences on Language Acquisition & Development

from College English Composition: Help and Review

Chapter 22 / Lesson 8

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