dialects and languages

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Sat Feb 23 02:42:38 UTC 2008

One more item occurred to me that might be confounding this issue. It
might be that her husband is a linguist in the sense that he
speaks/studies more than one language and is not actually familiar with
linguistics. It is very common in the translation/interpretation
industry to refer to translators and interpreters as linguists. BB

James Harbeck wrote:
> I've been having a discussion on another list
> with someone, and I seem to be having trouble
> persuading her, so I just wanted to make sure
> that what I was saying was agreed on by linguists
> with more standing than I. Here's what she said
> initially:
> ----
> Mandarin is a language. Cantonese is a dialect.
> This is what I've been told by my husband, who is
> from the PRC & speaks both.
> ----
> Her response was as follows:
> ----
> In fact, my husband is Cantonese. His 2nd
> language is Mandarin. Other Cantonese speakers
> have said that same thing, that Cantonese is a
> dialect. Mandarin is what they call standard
> Chinese. My husband is also a linguist,
> translator & interpreter. Chinese grammar is
> based on Mandarin rather than on dialects such as
> Cantonese, Shanghainese, etc.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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