diglossic /duy glos"ik/, adj.
/duy glos"ee euh, -glaw"see euh/, n.
1. the widespread existence within a society of sharply divergent formal and informal varieties of a language each used in different social contexts or for performing different functions, as the existence of Katharevusa and Demotic in modern Greece.
2. Pathol. the presence of two tongues or of a single tongue divided into two parts by a cleft.
[1955-60; Latinization of F diglossie, equiv. to Gk dígloss(os) speaking two languages (see DIGLOT) + F -ie -Y3]

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Coexistence of two varieties of the same language in a speech community, with each variety being more or less standardized and occupying a distinct sociolinguistic niche.

Typically, one variety is more formal or prestigious while the other is more suited to informal conversation or is taken as a mark of lower social status or less education. Classic diglossic situations can be found in Arabic-speaking communities, where Modern Standard Arabic coexists with dozens of regional Arabic dialects, and among speakers of Dravidian languages such as Tamil, where different words for basic concepts such as "house" or "water" are chosen depending on the speaker's caste or religion.

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      the coexistence of two forms of the same language in a speech community. Often, one form is the literary or prestige dialect, and the other is a common dialect spoken by most of the population. Such a situation exists in many speech communities throughout the world—e.g., in Greece, where Katharevusa, heavily influenced by Classical Greek, is the prestige dialect and Demotic is the popular spoken language, and in Egypt, where there are two dialects of Arabic. Sociolinguists may also use the term diglossia to denote bilingualism, the speaking of two or more languages by the members of the same community, as, for example, in New York City, where many members of the Hispanic community speak both Spanish and English, switching from one to the other according to the social situation or the needs of the moment.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • diglossia — di·glos·sì·a s.f. 1. TS ling. coesistenza, nella stessa comunità o in uno stesso parlante di due sistemi linguistici di diverso prestigio 2. TS med. malformazione della lingua consistente in una fessura nel senso della lunghezza {{line}}… …   Dizionario italiano

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  • diglossia — noun /ˌdaɪˈɡlɒsi.ə,ˌdaɪˈɡlɑsi.ə/ a) the coexistence of two closely related native languages or dialects among a certain population, one of which is regarded to be more prestigious than the other; also, that of two unrelated languages b) the… …   Wiktionary

  • diglossia — A developmental condition that results in a longitudinal split in the tongue. See bifid tongue. [G. di , two, + glossa, tongue] * * * di·glos·sia dī gläs ē ə n the condition of having the tongue bifid * * * di·glos·sia (di glosґe ə) [di +… …   Medical dictionary

  • diglòssia — di|glòs|si|a Mot Esdrúixol Nom femení …   Diccionari Català-Català

  • diglossia — pl.f. diglossie …   Dizionario dei sinonimi e contrari

  • diglossia — n. condition in which the tongue is separated in two …   English contemporary dictionary

  • diglossia — [dʌɪ glɒsɪə] 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. Derivatives diglossic adjective Origin 1950s: from Gk… …   English new terms dictionary

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