Definition of diglossia in English:

Share this entry

diglossia

Pronunciation: /dīˈɡlôsēə/
/dīˈɡläsēə/

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.
Example sentences
  • 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.

Derivatives

diglossic

Pronunciation: /-sik/
adjective
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.

Origin

1950s: from Greek diglōssos 'bilingual', on the pattern of French diglossie.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: di·glos·si·a

Share this entry
 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.