Quoting Jake X <[log in to unmask]>:

> [kr\IstAf r\oUt]:
> > Indeed, but dialects don't care about political border, and there is a
> > continuity of dialects between Flemish and Dutch. My boyfriend comes from
> > the South of Brabant (at a few kilometers from the border) and his dialect
> > is very close to Flemish dialects.
> Which reminds me of something that has always vexed me,
> though it makes perfect sense:  the way languages start and stop
> at the borders of a country.  It always seemed artificial and forced
> to me.
> Am I alone on that one?

In Scandinavia, you've essentially got a continuum of dialects, which are
classed as Swedish, Norwegian or Danish solely based on which side of the
borders they are. This has seen Scanian going from a Danish dialect to a
Swedish one.

Similar situations occur elsewhere.

Another reason is that both linguistic and political borders have a tendency
to approximately conform to natural borders. In modern times you've also got a
tendency to base political borders on linguistic ones (Soviet redrawing of
Central Asian borders, for instance) and force linguistic borders to conform
to political ones (expelling of Germans from Poland and Czechoslovakia in the
aftermath of WWII, for instance).