1- definitionwhat is mutual intelligibility2 – Problems1_The characterisation of LANGUAGE & DIALECT2_Degree of Mutual Intelligibility3_Nonlingustic Criteria3-Conclusion
Linguistic criterion:Mutual intelligibility YES? = dialectse.g., British vs. American vs. Irish vs. Australian(= dialects of English) NO? = languagese.g.,Arabic vs. Franch vs. English(= different languages)
The first person who had used the term mutual intelligibility wasPeter Trudgill in his book “Sociolinguistics : an Introduction” in1974. Mutual intelligibility is the extent to which speakers from two or more speech communities can understand each other.It is a relationship between languages or dialects in which speakersof different but related languages can readily understand each other without intentional study or extraordinary effort.
It is sometimes used as a criterion for distinguishing languagesfrom dialects. “ A language is a collection of mutually intelligible dialects”. This definition has the benefit of characterising dialects as subparts of a language and of providing a criterion for distinguishing between one language and another.
NORWEGIAN:language spoken in Norway SWEDISH:language spoken in Sweden DANISH:language spoken in Denmark1. The characterisation of „language‟ and „dialect‟ is not entirely successful. Scandinavian languages: Norwegian, Swedish and Danish( different languages but there is a mutual intelligibility between them) German is concedered as a single language but there are some types of German which are not intelligible to speakers of other types.
2 . Degree of mutual intelligibilityDialect continuum: when each dialect is intelligible withcontiguous neighbour but not intelligible with the dialects atthe opposite end of the continuum.1 2 … 5 … 8 9 10 e.g. Northern Arabic vs Kuwait ArabicAs we move leftward differences increase and mutualintilligibility decrease.
Dialect continuum:A quote from Stephen Anderson in one of thearticles on the Linguistic Society of America (LSA)website:“Suppose you were to start from Berlin and walk to Amsterdam,covering about ten miles every day. You can be sure that the peoplewho provided your breakfast each morning could understand (and beunderstood by) the people who served you supper that evening.Nonetheless, the German speakers at the beginning of your trip andthe Dutch speakers at its end would have much more trouble, andcertainly think of themselves as speaking two quite distinct (ifrelated) languages.”
3 . Nonlinguistic criteria (political, historical, geographic etc.) mayplay a role.e.g, Mandarin, Cantonese = mutually unintelligible, but considereddialects of Chinese Serbian and Croatian = mutually intelligible, but consideredseparate languages
• People do not want to recognize that they can understand each other.eg,A study carried out in Africa shows that one ethnic group A claimed to beable to understand the language of another ethnic group B, ethnic groupB claimed not to be able to understand language A. It then emerged thatgroup A, a larger and more powerful group, wanted to incorporate groupB‟s territory into their own on the grounds that they were really the samepeople and spoke the same language. Clearly, group B‟s failure tocomprehend group A‟s language was part of their resistance to thisattempted takeover.
Mutual intelligibility a criterion used to distinguish between languages and dialects but it is not always efficient 1. 2. 3. The Degree of Nonlinguisticcharacterisation of „language‟ mutual criteria may and „dialect‟ is intelligibility. play a role.not successful.