When a country has two official languages but one is used more than the other

Discussion in 'English Only' started by lilalfyalien, Dec 8, 2005.

  1. lilalfyalien Member

    Canterbury, UK
    England, English

    What's the word for a linguistic situation when a country has two or more official languages but one is used in more formal circumstances. For example:

    During Franco's regime in Spain, there was a ______________ situation in Catalonia where the people were bilingual but only spoke Catalan at home and Castillian in public places.

    I think it begins with 'd'. It's driving me mad!

    Please help!

  2. clapec

    clapec Senior Member

    I think it is 'diglossia'.
  3. Anna Più

    Anna Più Senior Member

    Catalonia, Catalan
    Diglòssia (in Catalan) Diglossia (English)it could fit.

    I try to give you a translation of the DIEC definition of diglosia:
    The sociolingüistical situation in wich two lenguages o speakings are used with a diferent social value: one is used for formal functions, generally in writen issues, in front of the other, that is used for informal functions, oral basically.

    The situation of Catalan in that period was a hard diglòssia...

  4. lilalfyalien Member

    Canterbury, UK
    England, English
    diglossia is the word thanks!
  5. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I can offer the following explanatory examples of the use of diglossia:


    Oops - too slow.
  6. DAH

    DAH Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    Best regards!
  7. elroy

    elroy Sharp-heeled Mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    "Diglossia" does not denote the situation you describe in your question.

    One language exists in a state of diglossia when it has two principal varieties, one formal and the other colloquial. Arabic is probably the most widespread language that exists in a state of ubiquitous diglossia. Swiss German is another example.

    Diglossia has nothing to do with multiple languages, nor does it have to do with official languages in a country.

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