Pluricentric language

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A pluricentric language, sometimes called a polycentric language,[1] is a language with different standard varieties, originating from different states (sometimes from different regions, dialects or communities), without precluding the unity of the language.

Typical and well-studied examples are:

This concept was developped mainly by two prominent sociolinguists. The German Heinz Kloss coined the term pluricentric high language (plurizentrische Hochsprache), especially from 1978 on.[2] Later, the Australian Michael Clyne promoted the term pluricentric language in 1992[3].


  1. Several authors prefer to say polycentric language for esthetic reasons, since poly- and centr- come both from Greek, whereas pluri- comes from Latin.
  2. KLOSS Heinz (1978) Die Entwicklung neuer germanischer Kultursprachen seit 1800, coll. Sprache der Gegenwart-Schriften des Instituts für Deutsche Sprache nº 37, Düsseldorf: Schwann [1st ed. 1952, Munich: Pohl]
  3. CLYNE Michael (1992) (dir.) Pluricentric languages: differing norms in different nations, coll. Contributions to the sociology of language nº 62, Berlin / New York: Mouton de Gruyter