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Dialect in the linguistic sense of a variation of a language.

English, the language of the Angles foreigners who came to Britain, has left its mark on this Island. Ænglisc or English a Germanic language started out pure to a degree and went to Old English(written in Roman script). There are few people today, who can read Old English. From Old English it went on to Middle English and today we have Modern English. (I read and understand Old Dutch, as well as Modern Dutch.)

Today English has been more than 50% diluted than what it was. It is 26% of what it used to be.

The question of how divergent dialects must be to be considered different languages has never been resolved. As a guide, we might look to cognate percentages between what are generally recognized as distinct European languages. For example, Czech -Russian 74% English- German 60% English -Czech 25% (Fairbanks 1955:118)

Swadesh (1954:326) suggested that 81% cognates or better indicate that the dialects belong to the same language. Today: According to surveys,[1][2] the percentage of modern English words derived from each language group are as follows: Latin ≈29% French ≈29% Germanic ≈26% Greek ≈6% Others ≈10% (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_English_words_by_country_or_language_of_origin#/media/File:Origins_of_English_PieChart.svg )

Bede writes: In the year of our Lord 449 A.D. the nation of the Angles, or Saxons, being invited by the aforesaid king( King Vortigern), arrived in Britain with 3 long ships, and a place assigned them to reside in by the same king, in the eastern part of the island, that they might thus appear to be fighting for their country, whilst their real intentions were to enslave it.

closed as unclear what you're asking by AmE speaker, JonMark Perry, tchrist Aug 17 '18 at 2:35

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    Things like "pure" and "diluted" are not useful ways of discussing a language as it implies that loanwords are somehow bad. – Azor Ahai Aug 15 '18 at 18:58
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    Can you explain what the point of your last two paragraphs is? – Azor Ahai Aug 15 '18 at 18:58
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    In order for English to be a dialect, wouldn't it have to be a dialect of something? And I don't know any language that English might be thought to be a dialect of. – Tanner Swett Aug 15 '18 at 20:03
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    What are you asking? – user184130 Aug 15 '18 at 22:22
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    @SylomunWeah No one disputes that English is a Germanic language. What is it that you asking here? If you wish to advance the proposition that English is not a language but a dialect of German, then say that. – tchrist Aug 17 '18 at 2:35
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English is definitely a language. English may have many loan words, but that's true of pretty much any global language. Japanese, for example, has thousands of English words in common use (cleaning, soccer, calorie, allergy, etc.), but it would be ridiculous to say that Japanese is a dialect of English as the grammar and syntax are entirely different, even for loan words.

The language may derive from over half French/Latin, but the rules for conjugating and using those words in a sentence are wildly different. English has no grammatical gender agreement. English has no subject-adjective agreement. English establishes aspect and all future tenses using auxiliaries rather than conjugation. English has a strict SVO word order, while Latin has a flexible word order that tends towards SOV. English has zero adjective declension and negligible noun declension (singular/plural without any grammatical cases).

These differences are why, even if English used identical vocabulary as another language, it would still be a distinct language.

  • Take away the loan words in Japanese and you'll still have pure Japanese. If you take away all the loan words in English you'll have almost nothing. – Sylomun Weah Aug 16 '18 at 13:18
  • Take away the loan words built from old Chinese and you'd have as little in Japanese as you would without Latin/French in English. All languages are influenced by others, especially by the largest powers of the ancient world. What distinguishes Japanese from Chinese isn't the writing (which is either taken or derived from Chinese, like English letters are taken or derived from Latin), it isn't the vocabulary (which is similarly borrowed), but the grammar and usage, which is distinctly Japanese just like Latin/French words are used in a distinctly English way. – Drazex Aug 16 '18 at 13:44
  • Old English shared its Germanic heritage in vocabulary, sentence structure and grammar with its sister languages in continental Europe Old English was fully inflected with five grammatical cases: the nominative, accusative, genitive, dative and instrumental It had dual plural forms for referring to groups of two objects, in addition to the usual singular and plural forms It assigned gender to all nouns, including those that describe inanimate objects: for example, sēo sunne (the Sun) was feminine, while se mōna (the Moon) was masculine (cf. modern German die Sonne vs. der Mond) – Sylomun Weah Aug 16 '18 at 14:09
  • Yes, and modern English does not. A single language can diverge into multiple languages over time. This isn't a discussion of Old English, this is a discussion of Modern English. Modern English, which has lost the majority of its inflection, and Modern German, which has retained much of it, have very different grammar, and so are clearly different languages. – Drazex Aug 17 '18 at 3:59
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So, you're looking for the difference between "Language" and "Dialect"?

It seems finding an useful difference is hard?

According to Wikipedia - Language:

"There is no clear distinction between a language and a dialect, notwithstanding a famous aphorism attributed to linguist Max Weinreich that "a language is a dialect with an army and navy"."


Or, are you asking the general question: "How much does one language have to diverge from another, to be considered a separate language?"

It might just be the "army and navy" requirement, as said by Wikipedia - Dialect

A standard dialect (also known as a standardized dialect or "standard language") is a dialect that is supported by institutions.

...

A nonstandard dialect, like a standard dialect, has a complete vocabulary, grammar, and syntax, but is usually not the beneficiary of institutional support.

Well, "complete vocabulary, grammar, and syntax" too...

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"The question of how divergent dialects must be to be considered different languages has never been resolved."

I would be surprised if this question had ever been asked, never mind resolved, as a dialect is not defined by the amount of divergence.

There are two common models, not necessarily mutually exclusive, of dialect: intelligibility and autonomy. The intelligibility model works well for English - if an English speaker can understand it, it is an English dialect. A Brit can understand an American and an Australian and a Singaporean and so on, so they are all dialects of English and "language" becomes basically a blanket covering all the dialects. It works for English because English has no close relatives.

However, it gets more complicated in other languages. Danish and Swedish are close enough for mutual intelligibility. So are Urdu and Hindi, but they are usually viewed as separate languages regardless, and this is where the autonomy model kicks in. In this model, a language is defined as having a culture of its own, hence being a non-linguistic model. For example, people living on either side of the Dutch-German border can speak to each other with no problem, but on one side they speak the German language because they are culturally and politically oriented with Germany, and vice versa on the Dutch side of the border.

One thing that both these models have in common is that the dialect has to be a dialect of some language. English has no language that it can be a dialect of, so it cannot be a dialect.

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