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STANDARD DIALECT. A term in LINGUISTICS for a part of a language traditionally equated with the language itself, and seen as the product of such ‘refining’ forces as use at a royal court, by the middle classes, and in LITERATURE, PRINTING, publishing, and education. Because the standard has generally been set apart from and above DIALECT, the phrase standard dialect is sometimes used to indicate that, in linguistic terms, it too can be regarded as a dialect, despite its special status. In popular terms, the expression may well appear to be a contradiction in terms.