Diglossia Definition

dī-glôsē-ə, -glŏsē-ə
Within a speech community, the use of two varieties of a language having different degrees of prestige, with speakers regularly using each in its appropriate social contexts.
Webster's New World

(linguistics) The coexistence of two closely related native languages or dialects among a certain population, one of which is regarded to be more prestigious than the other; also, that of two unrelated languages.


(pathology) The presence of a cleft or doubled tongue.


Origin of Diglossia

  • From the New Latin diglōssia, from the French diglossie, from the Ancient Greek δίγλωσσος (diglōssos, “bilingual") + -ία (-ia) (-ia, whence the French -ie and the English -ia).

    From Wiktionary

  • From Greek diglōssos speaking two languages di- two di–1 glōssa tongue, language

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

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