A standard language (also standard dialect or standardized dialect) is a language variety used by a group of people in their public discourse. Alternatively, varieties become standard by undergoing a process of standardization, during which it is organized for description in grammars and dictionaries and encoded in such reference works. Typically, varieties that become standardized are the local dialects spoken in the centers of commerce and government, where a need arises for a variety that will serve more than local needs. A standard language can be either pluricentric (e.g. English, German, Serbo-Croatian, French, and Portuguese) or monocentric (e.g. Icelandic).
A standard written language is sometimes termed by the German word Schriftsprache.