Word of the Day Archive
Friday June 14, 2013
diglossia \dahy-GLOS-ee-uh, -GLAW-see-uh\
1. the widespread existence within a society of sharply divergent formal and informal varieties of a language each used in different social contexts or for performing different functions, as the existence of Katharevusa and Demotic in modern Greece.
2. Pathology. the presence of two tongues or of a single tongue divided into two parts by a cleft.
Arabic took over many of the functions of Aramaic as the language of scholarship, and, as one vernacular replaced another, the original state of diglossia was restored.
-- David Biale, Cultures of the the Jews: A New History, 2002
Sociolinguistic studies indicate that diglossia and code-switching are very pertinent characteristics of the linguistic repertoires of a large portion of the population…
-- Christa Van der Walt, Living Through Languages: An African Tribute to René Dirven, 2006
Diglossia comes from the Greek term meaning "bilingual" and entered English in the 1950s.