What is a pluricentric language?

At least one of the seven criteria must be met to constitute a pluricentric language. Full pluricentricity is achieved if all criteria are fulfilled. The following list is based on Clyne (1992: 1) and Muhr (2012: 30):


  1. Occurrence: A certain language occurs in at least 2 nations that function as 'interacting centres' (Clyne, 1992: 1).
  2. Linguistic distance (Abstand): The variety must have enough linguistic (and/or pragmatic) characteristics that distinguish it from others and by that can serve as a symbol for expressing identity and social uniqueness.
  3. Status: The language must have an official status in at least 2 nations either as (a) state-language or (e.g. German in Austria and Germany); (b) co-state language (e.g. German, French and Italian in Switzerland) or at least as (c) regional language (e.g. German in Italy: South Tyrol, Catalan in France: Department Pyrénées-Orientales etc.). The language therefore must have official recognition that exceeds the status of a minority language as it otherwise cannot function as a norm setting centre.
  4. Acceptance of pluricentricity: The language community must accept the status of its language as a pluricentric variety and consider it as part of its social / national identity.
  5. Relevance for identity and awareness about its function for identity available: The national norm has to be relevant to social identity and must be (to some degree) aware to the language community and lead 'to at least some of its own (codified) norms.'
  6. Codification in progress or done and on that basis there is deliberate use of the national norm by model speakers and state institutions.
  7. Taught in schools and made aware to the language community - promoted and disseminated.

(Excerpt from Muhr, 2012)