225 Why care about dialects?

Why should I care about dialects?

When we hear the term “dialects,” most of us think in term of accents, like the British or American accents. But dialects are a lot more distinct.

Linguists compare word lists from different speech forms. If, for instance, eighty percent of the words in a given speech form are compatible with those used in a primary language, it is labeled as a dialect. This presents a definite communications problem. 

Let’s take a simple ten-word sentence, “I am going to town today to purchase some food.”

If I understand eighty percent of that sentence, it follows that there are two words I won’t understand. These two words may be crucial to the understanding of that sentence, like town and food. It may very well sound as follows. I'm going to mumble today to purchase some mumble.” The listener will not know where I’m going or what I plan to do there.

These principles are even more crucial when we attempt to communicate spiritual truths. Here is another ten-word sentence:

“Jesus died on the cross to save us from sin.”

If I don’t understand the two words save and sin, it results as follows:

“Jesus mumble on the cross to save us from mumble.”

You can see the importance of presenting the gospel to people, not only in their own language, but in their own dialect.

Dig Deeper into languages

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