In the newsgroup alt.english.usage , the term "dialect" was recently discussed, and while doing research on the matter I found the following:
From
http://www.linguistlist.org/~ask-ling/archive-most-recent/msg10790.html
(quote, from Joseph F Foster, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Cincinnati, Ohio)
All languages have dialects and there is no way of speaking a language that is not a dialect. A dialect is simply a consistent way of speaking a given language shared by two or more people. (A given way of speaking a language peculiar to only one person is called an idiolect. ) The term language is used by the ignorant or the antilinguists to mean a "standard dialect" and dialect is used by them to mean a "nonstandard" dialect. These people often believe that there is some special characteristic of a standard dialect that makes it fit to be the standard and some special characteristic either present or lacking in nonstandard dialects that make them unfit to be the standard. They are mistaken and can furnish no comparative evidence that this belief is true.
(end quote)
Under criticism from others of my description of "between you and I" as belonging to the dialect of those who use it, when they learned it from others, I began to resort to using the word "lect" for the sort of variety of language in question. I have decided I will no longer do so: I agree with the definition of "dialect" given above, and so, the construction "between you and I" is clearly a dialectal usage, as is any other nonstandard usage which is learned by one person from another.

Raymond S. Wise
Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
E-mail: mplsray @ yahoo . com
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In the newsgroup alt.english.usage , the term "dialect" was recently discussed, and while doing research on the matter I found ... I" is clearly a dialectal usage, as is any other nonstandard usage which is learned by one person from another.

I'm not sure I want an anthropologist to define linguistic terms. And if you accept what he says, what of the OED's:
> ?

Fowler also sees dialect as a variation from the 'standard' form of a language.
By your definition, every usage is dialect and the term ceases to have any use in our discussions.
I am going to stay with 'dialect as a 'variation from the standard form of a language'.

John Dean
Oxford
De-frag to reply
"Raymond S. Wise" (Email Removed) wrote on 15 Nov 2003:
In the newsgroup alt.english.usage , the term "dialect" was recently discussed, and while doing research on the matter I found ... I" is clearly a dialectal usage, as is any other nonstandard usage which is learned by one person from another.

I can agree with Foster's notion that the standard version of any language is merely the socially approved dialect of that language. Some other languages actually include that notion in their descriptions. We know that in the PRC, Bejing Mandarin (as opposed to, say Taipei Mandarin) is the standard dialect. In Chinese, the two would be called "Bejing-hua" and "Taipei-hua". In Japanese, there are many dialects too. "Tokyo-ben" is the standard, but there is also "Osaka-ben". It just so happens that we don't have the same tradition in English. We call our schoolbook English "standard English". But it's no doubt just another dialect of English.
Calling "between you and I" "clearly a dialectal usage" does not mean it isn't "standard" to some of us or "an idiom" to the authors of the New Cambridge Grammar of English. The latter call it acceptable and, therefore, standard English now. The former say things like "That's the way the language is used, so it's acceptable, grammatical, and standard".
The issue is whether "between you and I" is or should be added for prescriptivists, who are, according to Foster's definition of a dialect, just speakers of another dialect and worthy, therefore, of at least the same respectful treatment as native English-speakers rather than the scorn and derision you and other descriptivists constantly heap upon them for wishing to raise the standards of the standard dialect of a solecism or acceptable, grammatical, and standard English.
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"John Dean" (Email Removed) wrote on 15 Nov 2003:
In the newsgroup alt.english.usage , the term "dialect" was recently ... nonstandard usage which is learned by one person from another.

I'm not sure I want an anthropologist to define linguistic terms. And if you accept what he says, what of the OED's:

He might be a linguistic anthropologist, which would make him both a linguist and an anthropologist.
<< 2. a. One of the subordinate forms or varieties of a language arising from local peculiarities of vocabulary, pronunciation, ... in our discussions. I am going to stay with 'dialect as a 'variation from the standard form of a language'.[/nq]
That's not a fun attitude. What you say is true, of course, but it has serious implications for some of the arguments in this NG, viz. the ones that go "In my dialect that is acceptable" and "That's how people use the language". Now we will have to hold all usages up to the same standard, and before we can do that, we have to decide on which one that might be. And then we'll have to define all the acceptable variants of standard usages. That implies lots of serious work. Shudder.
(snip)
Under criticism from others of my description of "between you and I" as belonging to the dialect of those who ... I" is clearly a dialectal usage, as is any other nonstandard usage which is learned by one person from another.

Okay already. To your average punter, me included, a dialect is a version of a language used in a particular region (or, possibly, social grouping). (Therefore to me "between you and I" is not dialect and English is not a dialect.) That's what most people understand by it and if you're going to use it in a different way, even if it's a perfectly reasonable way, many (if not most) readers will be confused.
Adrian
In the newsgroup alt.english.usage , the term "dialect" was recently ... nonstandard usage which is learned by one person from another.

I'm not sure I want an anthropologist to define linguistic terms.

What about allowing a linguist to define linguistic terms? I'm sure I could find you numerous citations.
And if you accept what he says, what of the OED's: > ?

It is the OED's duty to record the meanings that people give words, not to prescribe which meanings are to be used in which circumstances. And besides which, notice the "usually spec." in the definition above: the definition doesn't say that "dialect" applies only to those varieties that differ from the standard. "Subordinate" in the first sentence doesn't mean 'inferior'; it means that dialects are subordinate to languages in a categoristic sense, in the same way that species are subordinate to genera.
By your definition, every usage is dialect

Yes, insofar as every usage is language.
and the term ceases to have any use in our discussions.

Nonsense. "This is grammatical in my dialect." "How is this word pronounced in your dialect?" "The standard dialect of Australia has certain interesting features.."
I am going to stay with 'dialect as a 'variation from the standard form of a language'.

You ignore the possibility that a particular language - English, for example - might have more than one standard dialect.

-Aaron J. Dinkin
Dr. Whom
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Calling "between you and I" "clearly a dialectal usage" does not mean it isn't "standard" to some of us or ... English now. The former say things like "That's the way the language is used, so it's acceptable, grammatical, and standard".

Do the authors of the NCGE really use English
this way? One of the primary meanings of
"standard" is a form to which some instances
conform and other instances do not conform.
If every possible instance is accepted as
"standard," i.e. no non-standard instance is
imaginable, it seems to me we cannot claim
that any standard exists.

Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs (Ottawa, Canada)
In the newsgroup alt.english.usage , the term "dialect" was recently discussed, and while doing research on the matter I found ... I" is clearly a dialectal usage, as is any other nonstandard usage which is learned by one person from another.

As is any so-called standard usage, if you use the above definition.
Skitt (in Hayward, California)
www.geocities.com/opus731/
(snip) and so, the construction "between you and I" is clearly a dialectal usage, as is any other nonstandard usage which is learned by one person from another.

(snip)
Between you and me, while "between you and I" certainly meets your criteria, it is less a dialectical usage than it is an affectation.

Franklin
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