Standard language

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A standard language is a standardized individual language , i.e. a language that has at least one standard variety in addition to its other varieties .


Linguistic standardization includes, among other things, the general validity of a linguistic standard , its codification in grammars and dictionaries , the usability of the language for all important areas of life (polyvalence) and the stylistic differentiation required for this . These features only relate to the training of a certain standard and allow e.g. B. the dialects belonging to the language unchanged.

According to Ulrich Ammon , the instances of the social force field that subsequently “reinforce” a norm that has been “set” and according to which the majority of the population aligns themselves are firstly the “normative authorities” who introduce corrections, secondly the “codifiers” who formulate the language code, thirdly, the “model writers” and “speakers”, according to whose model texts the language users orient themselves, and fourthly, the “language experts”, who give expert opinions. All of these entities not only act against the population, but also interact with each other.

What non-standard varieties, i.e. H. in particular, which dialects are assigned to a certain standard language is not always determined on the basis of the linguistic characteristics of these varieties . In sociolinguistics , the concept of roofing is also used (see umbrella language ): According to this, a dialect belongs to a certain standard language if the speakers of the dialect switch to this standard variety in official situations. However, this only applies to closely related languages, such as Dutch and Standard German.

For example, the same Lower Saxon and Lower Franconian dialects are (were) spoken on both sides of the German-Dutch / Belgian state borders, but different umbrella or written languages. In earlier editions of the lexicon, the Lower Saxon, Lower Franconian and Frisian dialects of the dialect continuum were assigned to the Low German dialects and the Dutch, Flemish and West Frisians were therefore (also) referred to as Low German with their own (Low German or Dutch) written language.

For example, the same Upper German dialects are spoken on both sides of the German-French state border, but (officially) different umbrella or written languages ​​are used. In this case, the dialects are to be assigned to German based solely on linguistic criteria and the umbrella / standard language to French, since the dialect and umbrella language are compared as foreign languages ​​(West Germanic to Romanic) - unlike Dutch to (standard) German (continental- West Germanic dialects ).

In contrast to half a century ago, when the dialect was (still) the main colloquial language not only in the country but also in the cities, today the number of dialect speakers is decreasing from year to year. The native-speaking dialect speakers who are born later learn the state's standard language at an early age and mostly use “Highland” (“High German”) or “Dutch” in school and at work.

In accordance with this situation, but also for political reasons, those dialects whose speakers change to standard German (highland) at the authorities or with foreigners are called German dialects and those dialects whose speakers use standard Dutch in these situations are called Dutch dialects.

Standard languages, too, like dialects, are often pluricentric languages . Varieties of standard German can be found in the entire Lower, Middle and Upper German-speaking area. In contrast, there are the monocentric languages.

Other names

“Standard language” is the clearest and most unmistakable term and is therefore the most widely accepted today. Other terms are also used in linguistics. While “standard language” itself goes back to English standard language , the traditional German expressions are “ written language ” (which, however, is also used in the sense of written language , e.g. “written German”) and “high-level language” (e.g. “high German "). Following the example of French langue littéraire and Russian literaturnyj jazyk , “literary language” is also used, but it can be confused with the language of literature .

The characteristics of standardization established by the Prague linguist circle relate to the 20th century and cannot be easily transferred to earlier epochs. Therefore, with regard to historical languages, expressions such as “written language” or “literary language” are preferred to the clearly defined term “standard language”.

Standard languages ​​with a large distance from everyday language

Some languages ​​(usually referred to as “written” or “literary language”) are written and read, but not or only rarely used for oral communication. This is based on a kind of diglossia in which two very different varieties of a language or even completely different languages ​​take on different linguistic functions.

Such literary languages ​​can be:

Selection of language material for standardization

In many standard languages, the standard variety is based on a single dialect, often that of the capital (for example that of Paris in French or that of London in English). The question of which dialect the standard is based on is called questione della lingua , following the Italian model .

A standard language can also have been created as a “compromise” between different dialects, e.g. B. The High German of the monk Martin Luther , who created a standard language for his Bible translation from several Middle and Upper German dialects through an arbitrary selection of the basic vocabulary and a grammar based on or based on Latin and based on the courtly spelling of Saxony .

Planned languages

(not to be confused with "planned languages ")

Every standard language has something planned, but some are characterized by the fact that they were only recently brought to life with the participation of linguists:

See also


Web links

Wiktionary: Standard language  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Ulrich Ammon: The German language in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The problem of national varieties. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1995, ISBN 3-11-014753-X , p. 80 f.
  2. Brockhaus . 5th edition.