Language vs. dialect: A lexicostatistic approach.

2017. №6, 79-101

Yuri B. Koryakov
Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow,
125009, Russian Federation;


Linguists have always seen the notion of “language” as inherently problematic, and the question of whether a particular form of speech should be classified as a separate language or a dialect of a language cannot be answered easily indeed. In this paper, criteria such as shared standard norm, common ethnic identity, and mutual intelligibility are shortly reviewed. Then another method of disentangling languages and dialects based on the number of shared cognates in the 100-word Swadesh list is proposed. The method is tested on various examples.