Being a controversial subject as it is, the distinction between language and dialect often sparks heated debates not only among linguistics experts but also throughout the entire society. What makes a language to be considered a language instead of a dialect? When and under what circumstances can a dialect thrive and become a national language?
In linguistics, a dialect can be defined as a variant of a given language which is spoken by a specific group or in a particular location, but whose distinctive features – e.g. vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation – are “not distinctive enough” to be recognized as a separate language. Experts analyze mutual intelligibility among speakers in order to distinguish languages from dialects. In other words, if two speakers can understand each other although they don´t recognize the use of some words or their pronunciation is different, they must be speaking two different dialects of the same language.