Diglossia, Examples, Higher Variety and Lower Variety |Socio and Psycholinguistics|



A linguistic situation in which two distinct language varieties of the same language are used in the same linguistic community. One variety will be regarded as a higher variety and the other will be known as a lower variety.


  • Arabic
  • Swiss-German
  • Haitian

> In Arabic, classical Arabic is considered as a higher variety while many local colloquial forms of Arabic are considered as lower quality

> In Switzerland, standard German is considered as a higher variety while Swiss-German is considered as lower variety.

> In Haitian standard French is considered as a higher variety while Haitian Creole is of lower quality.

Higher Variety

It is the prestigious form of language which is used in a formal setting like:

  • Formal lectures
  • Sermons
  • Political speeches
  • News on television
  • Poetry and literature

Lower Variety

It is the form with having no or less prestige attached to it. It is also called Vernacular language.

It is used 

  • To give instructions to workers
  • To someone you are familiar with
  • In the informal settings
  • Domestic use
  • With household servants

> Higher variety is taught in schools and other educational institutions while lower variety is learned.


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