What makes a language a language?
DOI link for What makes a language a language?
What makes a language a language? book
How can we decide whether the language spoken in Washington DC is the same language or a different language from that spoken in London? Criteria in general use do not seem to work well: mutual comprehensibility fails to distinguish language and dialect, not all languages are spoken by people who share a culture and although political criteria are often said to determine the boundaries of a language, there are too many counter-examples which suggest that even such criteria do not work. Linguists’ definitions often take for granted the factors we most need explained, and can be extremely unhelpful. We may have to conclude that a notion such as “the English language” is a myth to which we all subscribe.