Task 4.1: Dialect Boundaries Linguistics
Unit 10: Language Variation I: Regional Variation

When a number of isoglosses cluster within the same geographical region, a dialect boundary can be drawn in that case. For instance, in the following figures, you see different isoglosses that distinguish Dialect A from Dialect B. A bunch of these isoglosses in figure (a) can easily mark a dialect boundary between Dialects A and B. However, isoglosses do not show such a clear-cut distinction in real life cases as you see in Figure (b):


The expectation Isoglosses will form neat bundles, demarcating dialect A from dialect B.


The reality Isoglosses criss-cross an area, with no clear boundary between A and B.

Source: David Crystal. (1989:28) (3rd printing) The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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