DIGLOSSIA [1958: a Latinization of French diglossie, from Greek díglōssos with two tongues: first used in English by Charles Ferguson]. A term in sociolinguistics for the use of two or more varieties of language for different purposes in the same community. The varieties are called H and L, the first being generally a standard variety used for 'high' purposes and the second often a 'low' spoken vernacular. In Egypt, classical Arabic is H and local colloquial Arabic is L. The most important hallmark of diglossia is specialization, H being appropriate in one set of situations, L in another: reading a newspaper aloud in H, but discussing its contents in L. Functions generally reserved for H include sermons, political speeches, university lectures, and news broadcasts, while those reserved for L include everyday conversations, instructions to servants, and folk literature.
The varieties differ not only in grammar, phonology, and vocabulary, but also with respect to function, prestige, literary heritage, acquisition, standardization, and stability. L is typically acquired at home as a mother tongue and continues to be so used throughout life. Its main uses are familial and familiar. H, on the other hand, is learned through schooling and never at home. The separate domains in which H and L are acquired provide them with separate systems of support. Diglossic societies are marked not only by this compartmentalization of varieties, but also by restriction of access, especially to H. Entry to formal institutions such as school and government requires knowledge of H. In England, from medieval times until the 18c, Latin played an H role while English was L; in Scotland, 17--20c, the H role has usually been played by local standard English, the L role by varieties of Scots. In some English-speaking Caribbean and West African countries, the H role is played by local standard English, the L role by English-based creoles in the Caribbean and vernacular languages and English-based creoles in West Africa.
The extent to which these functions are compartmentalized can be illustrated by the importance attached by community members to using the right variety in the appropriate context. An outsider who learns to speak L and then uses it in a formal speech risks being ridiculed. Members of a community generally regard H as superior to L in a number of respects; in some cases, H is regarded as the only 'real' version of a particular language, to the extent that people claim they do not speak L at all. Sometimes, the alleged superiority is avowed for religious and/or literary reasons: the fact that classical Arabic is the language of the Qur'ān endows it with special significance, as the language of the King James Bible, created in England, recommended itself to Scots as high religious style. In other cases, a long literary and scriptural tradition backs the H variety, as with Sanskrit in India. There is also a strong tradition of formal grammatical study and standardization associated with H varieties: for example, Latin and 'school' English.
Since the term's first use in English, it has been extended to cases where the varieties in question do not belong to the same language (such as Spanish and Guaraní in Paraguay), as well as cases where more than two varieties or languages participate in such a relationship (French, classical Arabic, and colloquial Arabic in triglossic distribution in Tunisia, with French and classical Arabic sharing H functions). The term polyglossia (a state of many tongues) has been used to refer to cases such as Singapore, where Cantonese, English, Malay, and Tamil coexist in a functional relationship.
詳しく突っ込んだ解説になっていると思う．まず，diglossia について，同一言語の異なる2変種の関係という狭い理解ではなく，異なる2言語の関係という広い理解のほうを前提としている点が注目される．つまり，最初から Fishman 寄りの解釈で diglossia を捉えている．
また，McArthur は英語学の事典ということもあり，英語史や世界英語からの diglossia の事例をよく紹介している．
さらに，シンガポール英語 (singapore_english) における polyglossia へも言及しており，diglossia の話題を拡げる方向の議論となっている．
・ McArthur, Tom, ed. The Oxford Companion to the English Language. Oxford: OUP, 1992.
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