Set of linguistic items with similar social
distribution _ they are used by the same speakers
or community. (Hudson, 1996, p. 22)
Any body of speech patterns which is homogeneous
to be analyzed. (Ferguson, 1972, p. 30)
Any identifiable kind of a Language.
Linguistic items: Lexical items, Sounds and
The term language varieties refers to any form of a
language---whether a regional or social dialect, a pidgin,
creole, or some other language code. (Trumbull and
Linguists commonly use language variety (or simply
variety) as a cover term for any of the overlapping
subcategories of a language, including dialect, idiolect,
register, and social dialect. (Tom McArthur, 1992)
Two broad types of variety: "(1) user-related
varieties, associated with particular people and
often places, . . . [and] (2) use-related varieties,
associated with function, such as legal English
(the language of courts, contracts, etc.) and
literary English (the typical usage of literary
texts, conversations, etc.).” (Tom McArthur,
If we consider language as a global phenomenon
which includes all the languages of the world,
variety of a language refers to different
manifestation of a language. (Hudson, 1996, p.
The term was introduced by Charles
Ferguson, (1959), and refers to the language
situation in which two varieties of the same
language is used in different situations.
Ferguson lists nine specific characteristics of a
diglossic language situation ( involving the
Functions, Prestige, Literary
heritage, Acquisition, Standardization, Morphology
, Syntax, Lexicon, and Phonology of the H and L
varieties). (Ferguson, 1996)
Superposed /Standard/High Variety
It is used for Literacy and Literary purposes and for
formal, public and official uses (Spolsky, 2008)
Regional Dialect/Vernacular/Low Variety
It is used for informal conversation and daily use.
Holmes in his book, An introduction to
Sociolinguistics, (2008), stated that Diglossia has
three crucial features:
1. Two distinctive varieties of the same language:
High/Standard and Low/Vernacular
2. Unique function of the varieties
3. Not using H Variety in everyday conversations.
Diglossia refers to the societies with two
distinctive codes of speech which are employed
in different situations. (Wardhaugh, 2006)
Diglossia is the characteristic of a speech
community_ groups of people with common
rules of speaking _ rather than individuals.
Ferguson, C, A. (1996), Sociolinguistics
Perspectives. New York: Oxford University
Ferguson, C, A. (1972), Language Structure and
Language Use. Stanford, CA: Stanford
Holmes, J. (2008), An introduction to
Sociolinguistics. 3rd edn. London: Longman.
Spolsky, B. (2008). Sociolinguistics. 6th edn.
New York: Oxford University Press.
Tom, M. (1992), The Oxford Companion to the
English Language. New York: Oxford University
Wardhaugh, R. (2006). An Introduction to
Sociolinguistics. 5th edn. UK: Blackwell