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On 2008-10-21 Lars Finsen wrote:
> Still I think the concept of the difference between a dialect and the 
> standard language spoken with a regional accent is a little 
> confusing. If a dialect loses all its distinct morphology, but keeps 
> its phonology, will linguists stop calling it a dialect and begin to 
> refer to it as a regional accent only? 
Yes.

> How much of the morphology 
> needs to remain for the dialect to remain a dialect? 

This can only be decided subjectively -- i.e. in terms
of a standard-speakers perception of differentness.
In the end it is a political decision.

> And to what 
> extent can you really separate morphology from phonology for this 
> classification? 

Because linguists have observed that phonology
is much more resilient against standardization
than morphology they have found it useful to
make this decision.  In the end this is also
political: it happens to be the case that in
English morphology and vocabulary are pretty
rigidly standardized, while phonological
standardization is much more fluid, changeable
over time, geographically variable and
subjective.  Before sound recording and
phonetic script it was literally harder to
codify pronunciation.  Even if you had the ideal that
each letter or di-(/tri-/...)graph of the orthography
corresponded to a phoneme -- which they hardly had
in English-speaking counries -- it was hard to
put on paper how the phonemes should be realized.

/BP 8^)>
-- 
Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se
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