A variety, also called a lect, is a specific form of a language or language cluster.

Pluricentric languages like English, Portuguese or German exist in more than just one variety. English is wellknown for its varieties American and British English, as well as Portuguese comes in the flavors Brazilian Portuguese and Portuguese Portuguese.

Those different shapings of the same language are called "standard varieties" because for each of them exists separate sets of rules. Standard varieties are taught in schools, printed in newspapers and spoken by professional newscasters.

Non-standard varieties are other forms of a language that are not standardized by official rules. This can be local dialects or slangs of social groups.


German has are three standard varieties:

  • German German, spoken by about 85M people in Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium.
  • Austrian German, spoken by about 9M people in Austria and Italy.
  • Swiss German, spoken by about 5M people in Switzerland.

Non of this varieties must be claimed to be "the true German" or "the one standard German". They are equivalent.

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