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A dialect continuum or dialect chain is a spread of
Dialect continua typically occur in long-settled agrarian populations, as innovations spread from their various points of origin as
Since the early 20th century, the increasing dominance of
Dialectologists record variation across a dialect continuum using maps of various features collected in a
Secondary studies may include interpretive maps, showing the areal distribution of various variants. A common tool in these maps is an
In a dialect continuum, isoglosses for different features are typically spread out, reflecting the gradual transition between varieties. A bundle of coinciding isoglosses indicates a stronger dialect boundary, as might occur at geographical obstacles or long-standing political boundaries. In other cases, intersecting isoglosses and more complex patterns are found.