Definition of diglossia in English:

diglossia

Line breaks: di|glos¦sia
Pronunciation: /dʌɪˈglɒsɪə
 
/

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.
More 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.

Origin

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

Derivatives

diglossic

adjective
More 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.

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