noun[mass noun] Linguistics
A situation in which two languages (or two varieties of the same language) are used under different conditions within a community, often by the same speakers. The term is usually applied to languages with distinct ‘high’ and ‘low’ (colloquial) varieties, such as Arabic.
- In cases such as these of bilingualism without diglossia, the two languages compete for use in the same domains.
- That's why it's a classic example of diglossia, a language which has two different versions, the formal one and the one you actually speak.
- In Egypt, as elsewhere in the Arab world, the Arabic language is characterized by diglossia.
- Example sentences
- Schwyzertüütsch is the common spoken German in Switzerland, a dialect more than most others in diglossic contrast with the written and printed language.
- I showed in Chapter 2 that where bilingualism exists at the societal or individual level, the two languages are functionally differentiated and coexist in a diglossic relationship.
- Thus, the fact that a language is diglossic is actually a feature of the linguistic culture of the area where that language is used, rather than of the language per se.
1950s: from Greek diglōssos 'bilingual', on the pattern of French diglossie.
For editors and proofreaders
Line breaks: di|glos¦sia
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