Standard language

A standard language (standard variety, standard dialect, standard)[1] is defined either as a language variety used by a population for public purposes, or as a variety that has undergone standardization.[2]Typically, varieties that become standardized are the local dialects spoken in the centers of commerce and government, where a need arises for a variety that will serve more than local needs.Standardization typically involves a fixed orthography, codification in authoritative grammars and dictionaries and public acceptance of these standards.

A standardized written language is sometimes termed by the German word Schriftsprache. The term "literary language" is sporadically used as a synonym of "standard language", especially with respect to the Slavic languages,[3] and this naming convention is still prevalent in the Eastern European linguistic tradition.[4][5] The designations "standard dialect" and "standard variety" have currency as more neutral replacements of the term "standard language", accentuating that the standard is only one of the many dialects/varieties of a language rather than the totality of it, and at the same time devoid of the implication that the standard is the only idiom worthy of the appellation "language".[6][7]

A pluricentric language has multiple interacting standard varieties.[8][9][10]Examples include English, French, Portuguese, German, Korean, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish, Swedish, Armenian and Chinese.[11][12]Monocentric languages, such as Russian and Japanese, have only one standardized version.[13]


A standard variety is developed from a group of related varieties. This may be done by elevating a single dialect, such as the local variety of a center of government or culture. Alternatively, a new variety may be defined as a selection of features from existing varieties.[14] A fixed orthography is typically created for writing the variety. It may be codified in normative dictionaries and grammars, or by an agreed collection of exemplary texts.[14] Whether these dictionaries and grammars are created by private individuals (like Webster's Dictionary) or by state institutions, they become standard if they are treated as authorities for "correcting" language.[15] A fixed written form and subsequent codification make the standard idiom more stable than purely spoken varieties, and provide a base for further development or ausbau.[14] This variety becomes the norm for writing, is used in broadcasting and for official purposes, and is the form taught to non-native learners.[16]

Through this process, the standard variety acquires prestige and a greater functional importance than local varieties.[16] Those varieties are said to be dependent on, or heteronomous with respect to, the standard idiom, because speakers read and write the standard, refer to it as an authority is such matters as specialist vocabulary, and any standardizing changes in their speech are towards that standard.[17] In some cases, such as Standard English, this process may take place over an extended period without government intervention. In others it may be deliberately directed by official institutions, such as the Académie française or Real Academia Española, and can proceed much more quickly.[16]

Language standardization is often linked to the formation, or attempted formation, of nation states, as language is seen as the vehicle of a shared culture.[18] Different national standards derived from a dialect continuum may become treated as different languages, even if they are mutually intelligible.[19][20] The Scandinavian languages, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, are often cited as examples.[21]

In other cases governments or neighbouring populations may seek to deny a standard independent status.[22] In response, developers of a standard may base it on more divergent varieties. Thus after Norway became independent at the start of the 20th century, the Bokmål standard based on the speech of Oslo was felt to be too similar to Danish by Ivar Aasen, who developed a rival Nynorsk standard based on western dialects. Similarly, when a standard was developed in the Yugoslav republic of Macedonia from local varieties within a continuum with Serbia to the north and Bulgaria to the east, it was deliberately based on vernaculars from the west of the republic that were most different from standard Bulgarian. Now known as Macedonian, it is the national standard of the independent Republic of North Macedonia, but still viewed by Bulgarians as a dialect of Bulgarian.[23]

Other Languages
Alemannisch: Standardsprache
العربية: معيرة لغة
Bân-lâm-gú: Piau-chún-gí
беларуская: Літаратурная мова
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Літаратурная мова
български: Книжовен език
Cymraeg: Iaith safonol
Esperanto: Norma lingvo
français: Langue standard
한국어: 표준어
հայերեն: Գրական լեզու
हिन्दी: मानक भाषा
Bahasa Indonesia: Bahasa baku
italiano: Lingua standard
עברית: שפה תקנית
Basa Jawa: Basa baku
қазақша: Әдеби тіл
Kiswahili: Lahaja sanifu
Кыргызча: Адабий тил
lietuvių: Bendrinė kalba
Limburgs: Sjtandaardtaal
македонски: Литературен јазик
Bahasa Melayu: Bahasa baku
Nederlands: Standaardtaal
日本語: 標準語
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Adabiy til
português: Língua padrão
română: Limbă standard
sicilianu: Standarduluggìa
سنڌي: ٺيٺ ٻولي
slovenčina: Spisovný jazyk
slovenščina: Knjižni jezik
српски / srpski: Стандардни језик
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Standardni jezik
suomi: Yleiskieli
தமிழ்: தகுமொழி
татарча/tatarça: Стандарт тел
українська: Літературна мова
中文: 标准语