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Let's get to know some dialects of European languages!

Every language is beautiful in its own way but their dialects are even more interesting – it is something that has been formed by other languages, different historic periods, geographic locations and even cultures. Let’s see some of them.

Lithuanian language, as well as other languages, is divided into dialects. Not only the vocabulary but also phonetics, morphology and even syntax are different in those. The funny thing is – Lithuanians think that the language has a lot of dialects while the truth is that officially there are only two of them. They have dozens of subdialects though which are mistakenly considered to be independent dialects because they are very different from each other. So two main dialects are called High Lithuanian (Aukštaičių) and Samogitian (or Low Lithuanian, Žemaičių). Dialects are divided into subdialects. Both dialects have three subdialects. Samogitian is divided into West, North and South; High Lithuanian into West (Soduviečiai), Dainavian and East (the South and East dialects are also known as Dzūkian dialects due to their frequent use of dz for standard ). Each subdialect is divided into smaller units – speeches (šnektos). The modern Samogitian dialect formed in the 13th–16th centuries under the influence of the Curonian language, though High Lithuanian has preserved more authentic Baltic sounds. In general the vowels of the Lithuanian dialects differ more than the consonants so the determination of dialects depends on the pronunciation of the vowels. The basic division is made according to the correspondents of the stressed diphthongs uo (and ie) when they occur in non-final position. In the Samogitian (Low Lithuanian) dialects the correspondents are for the most part pronounced as simple vowels, long ū, long ō, or ou, long īę or ei.

Due to the wide span of territory the Polish language covers, there are a large number of different polish dialects. Those are: new mixed dialects, dialect of Wielkopolska, Masovian dialect, Silesian dialect, dialect of Małopolska, Kashubian dialect. Wielkopolska dialect originated from German language but was strongly influenced by Polish – nowadays around 8 000 people speak this dialect. Speech and its traits, such as names, intonation, grammatical forms, etc., may be completely different in Wielkopolska area. Kashubian dialect is the most popular in the northern parts of the country. Kashubian have their own alphabet which is slightly different from standard Polish. Silesian language is one of the dialects used in South Poland, to be more specific - in Upper Silesia and in Lower Silesia. Masovia dialect is mostly popular in central and north-eastern part of Poland like Mazowsze, Kurpię or ziemia łęczycka. It’s the most expansive and distinct Polish dialect - 3 million people know it.

Modern Greek also shows a rich dialectal variation. They are traditionally distinguished into Northern and Southern, on the basis of certain phonological criteria. There are a small number of highly divergent, outlying varieties spoken by relatively isolated communities, and a broader range of mainstream dialects less divergent from each other and from Standard Modern Greek, which cover most of the linguistic area of present-day Greece and Cyprus. Examples of Northern dialects are Rumelian, Epirote, Thessalian, Macedonian, Thracian. The Southern category is divided into groups that include variety groups from:
  • Megara, Aegina, Athens, Kymi (Old Athenian) and Mani Peninsula (Maniot);
  • Peloponnese (except Mani), Cyclades and Crete, Ionian Islands, Northern Epirus, Smyrna and Constantinople;
  • Dodecanese and Cyprus;
  • Part of Southern Albania (known as Northern Epirus among Greeks);
  • Asia Minor (over 1,000,000 Greeks were living throughout Anatolia—especially in western Anatolia—before the population exchange with Turkey).

Standard Hungarian is based on the variety spoken in the capital of Budapest. Although use of the standard dialect is enforced, Hungarian has a number of urban and rural dialects. There is a regular sound change in some. Hungarian dialects by omitting the sound /l/ at the end of the words and lengthening the preceding vowel. In case of vacakol <vaczakol> (potters about), singular third person, people say in some Hungarian dialects vacakó, instead of hozol → hozó "you bring", viszel → visző <vis> "you take" and for kapol → kapó "you get". In many cases syllable-final /l/ is also vocalized in the middle of words, e.g. szöl → sző "grape". Furthermore, a similar change has happened to the partner-sound /r/ by the same rule: mikor → mikó "when", and akkor → akkó "then". The following Hungarian dialects are identified:
  • Central Transdanubian;
  • North-eastern Hungarian;
  • Palóc;
  • Southern Great Plains;
  • Southern Transdanubian;
  • Tisza–Körös;
  • Western Transdanubian;
  • Oberwart spoken in Austria;
  • Csángó spoken in Rumania.
The Hungarian Csángó dialect is spoken primarily in Bacău County in eastern Romania. The Csángó Hungarian group has been largely isolated from other Hungarian people, and they therefore preserved a dialect closely resembling an earlier form of Hungarian. Speakers of standard Hungarian have difficulty understanding the Oberwart dialect spoken in Austria and the Csángó dialect spoken in Romania.

Many new arrivals are surprised to learn that more than one language is actually spoken in Spain. Castilian Spanish (known as Castellano) is the official language and is understood everywhere. However, you might not always be replied to in the same language. There are several regional languages/dialects in Spain (and not all are listed here), they range from very close to Castellano to completely different:
  • Catalán  is spoken in the region of Catalunya (whose capital is Barcelona). This is a Romance language like Castellano with French and Italian influences;
  • Valenciano is used in the neighbouring community of Valencia and is closely related to Catalán;
  • In the Northwestern region of Galicia, residents speak Gallego, which resembles a mix of Portuguese and Castellano;
  • In the País Vasco and northern Navarra, Euskera/ Vasco is the traditional language. It is unique with non-Latin roots and completely incomprehensible to all speakers of other languages in Spain. With very few exceptions, Basques usually speak Castellano;
  • In the Balearic Islands, Mallorquín is the principal dialect, similar to Catalán;
  • In Asturias, there is Asturianu (Bable), which is quite similar to Castellano and is spoken mostly in the countryside.







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2015.09.02 10:56 Wed


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