Mutual intelligibility  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

In linguistics, mutual intelligibility is a relationship between languages or dialects in which speakers of different but related varieties can readily understand each other without intentional study or special effort. It is usually used as the most important criterion for distinguishing languages from dialects, although sociolinguistic factors are often also used.

Intelligibility between languages can be asymmetric, with speakers of one understanding more of the other than speakers of the other understand of the first. When it is relatively symmetric, it is characterized as 'mutual'. It exists in differing degrees among many related or geographically proximate languages of the world, often in the context of a dialect continuum.


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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Mutual intelligibility" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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