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a section of linguistics that deals with dialects. In analyzing a dialectal language in its territorial variation, all the linguistic features in the system—phonetic, grammatical, word-forming, and lexical—are considered. Common elements, which belong to all the dialects, as well as distinctive elements, which are present in only a few of them, are distinguished.

Dialectal differences are the primary object of dialectological study; a hierarchy of the dialectal differences pertaining to the various levels of the language system, their place on the particular level, and the interaction among the levels are established. The division of a language into dialects is the second main division of dialectology. In the opinion of the Romance dialectologists of the Paris and neo-Italian schools, only the boundaries between the individual dialectal phenomena and their projection on a map actually exist; these boundaries are isoglosses, which do not form any kind of unit, and therefore dialects cannot be distinguished. German and Swiss dialectologists have shown that dialects are a real phenomenon and that they have a nucleus and a border zone, or “zone of vibration,” represented by a bundle of isoglosses. Soviet dialectologists also hold such views, giving special consideration to the elaboration of principles for selecting typical isoglosses, those that are the most essential for the dialectal division of a language. Their work has resulted in the creation of a new dialectological map of the Russian language.

Descriptive dialectology is concerned with the study of dialects in their contemporary state; its primary research methods are the monographic study of a dialect or dialectal phenomenon and the methods of linguistic geography. Historical dialectology deals with dialects in their historical development; its main methods are the study of literary monuments in combination with a retrospective examination of modern dialectal data. Historical dialectology also uses extralinguistic facts, such as data from history, archaeology, ethnography, and social and cultural history; dialectological data are in turn used by these sciences. Dialectology is one of the most important sources for the study of the history of a language, since phenomena that have been lost from the literary language and that are not reflected in written monuments are often preserved in dialects. The interrelation between literary language and dialects has differed in various countries and eras, but throughout its history literary language has always felt the influence of dialects and has been enriched by them.

As late as the 19th century, dialectal features were viewed as deviations from the standard. In the early 19th century, interest in folk culture, including folk speech, increased; during this period dialectology was still not distinguished sufficiently clearly from ethnography and folklore. Toward the end of the 19th century a great deal of data was collected about many languages, and a new stage in the development of dialectology was beginning; linguistic geography was emerging. In the 20th century, dialectological atlases of various national languages and regional atlases have been created, work has been done on atlases of closely related languages, questions dealing with the theory of linguistic geography have been treated, and the summarization of the large amount of dialectal material presented in the atlases has begun.


Avanesov, R. I. Ocherki russkoi dialektologii, part 1. Moscow, 1949.
Zhylko, F. T. Narysy z dialektolohii ukrains’koi movy, 2nd ed. Kiev, 1966.
Zhirmunskii, V. M. Natsional’nyi iazyk i sotsial’nye dialekty. Leningrad, 1936.
Zhirmunskii, V. M. Nemetskaia dialektologiia. Moscow-Leningrad, 1956.
Narysy pa belaruskai dyialektalohii. Edited by R. I. Avanesov. Minsk, 1964.
Russkaia dialektologiia, 2nd ed. Edited by R. I. Avanesov and V. G. Orlova. Moscow, 1965.
Russkaia dialektologiia. Edited by P. S. Kuznetsov. Moscow, 1971.


References in periodicals archive ?
The case of Romance serves as an excellent example of how remarkably language can change over a relatively short period of time: if we look at 'Latin Europe' today (that is, the area of the continent that Italian dialectologists call Romania), and avoid thinking of Europe in political, 'nation-state' terms, what we find is that these Vulgar Latin varieties developed and differentiated into literally hundreds of different languages.
In the British Isles, the study of past be is not recent at all, dating back to the work of traditional dialectologists.
The answer was the dialectologists, and at the University of Leeds, slap in the middle of the Ripper's hunting ground, academics Stanley Ellis and Jack Windsor Davies got to work on the voice of Wearside Jack.
Like almost all British dialectologists of his generation, Ellis had studied with the father of British research in the subject, Professor Harold Orton, at Leeds University.
Dialectologists know that people who pronounce the word as "greezy" usually live south of a line that wiggles across the northern parts of New Jersey.
It must be due to linguists' general aversion to accepting works of fiction as reliable linguistic sources that dialectologists investigating weren't leveling in nonstandard varieties of American English (e.
Now the texts are easily available not only to dialectologists of Arabic and speakers of Arabic not used to reading transcription, but to a third, important group of readers as well: those interested in Arabic poetry and the subject matter in question in particular.
A classification scheme increasingly gaining ground among dialectologists is that used by the editors of A Linguistic Atlas of Early Middle English, 1150-1325, work toward which is in progress at the University of Edinburgh.
Likewise, dialectologists (Keem, Kasi 2002 : 20, 50) have pointed out that in Voru dialect in the case of disyllabic forms and in some Q1 verbs (e.
Look no further than Italy itself, for example--a veritable delight to dialectologists, due to the variegation of speech forms found as one travels from one village to the next.
Charles Russ has witnessed the decline of the Gurin dialect since he first started to collect linguistic material in 1978 and has now provided his fellow dialectologists with this comprehensive linguistic analysis of Gurinerdeutsch (Gurinish).