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Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 240
  #75 Old 23-01-2011 Default Re: Studying a foreign language

Originally Posted by bush View Post
Hokkien is part of min, 闽. Which is a language on its own. Hakka can be considered as a separate language too.

This situation is similar to Spain(and France) where you have Catalan, Basque, Castilian, Galician etc
Personally, I would consider all of this as dialects. A language is what everyone speaks compared to a dialect where only a certain amount of people in a certain area speaks. I'll give some examples to better explain this:

In Spain, only people in Barcelona speak Catalan and the people in some northern region (I forgot where and am lazy to search for it) speak Basque, but all Spaniards speak Spanish. So Spanish is a language and the others are all dialects.

In France, I can only think of a dialect for the moment and it's Alsatian. Only people in Alsace speak this dialect. Some of the kids nowadays only know a few words of it. But everyone here speaks French. In southern and nothern France, there are the so-called southern and northern accents respectively. As the name indicates, they're actually French with their own accents. In conclusion, French is a language and Alsatian is a dialect.

In China, there are all those dialects that you all know so well of (including Shanghai dialect, Sichuan dialect, etc.). But what they all learn at school is Mandarin. So it's the same conclusion here.

In Japan, there is the well known Osaka "ben" for Detective Conan fans. They (Japanese) call it a dialect but it's actually more like an accent. Again, everyone in Japan speaks Japanese so it's a language and the Osaka "ben" that only Osaka residents speak is a dialect.

Hope that clears all the misunderstandings between languages and dialects.
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