Please see this article for explanations of the basics of Dialects, and how to use them.
In short, CWS Dialects are variations of a Parent Language or Standard Dialect. CWS Dialects must be attached to a CWS Language, which is considered the Standard Dialect. As such, a CWS Dialect can be considered a "sub-language," which is how it will appear on CWS Language Families.
At present, CWS Dialects can be used in the dictionary entries, translations, articles, and phonology/orthography.
[top]Should I make this a Dialect or a new Language?
Linguistic definitions versus CWS functionality
CWS Dialects are not necessarily the same as 'dialects' in the current linguistic terminology. CWS Dialects are subsets of a CWS Language, the 'parent language,' which you can think of as the Standard Dialect. Hierarchically, the Dialects will appear to 'fall under' the standard dialect.
What can Languages do that Dialects can't?
Some major site features available to languages, but not dialects, include:
PhoMo rulesets, including Pronunciation Estimation Rewrite Rules
Grammar forms & Tables (morphology)
What can Dialects do?
Dialects can have words added under the dictionary of their parent Language.
The Language's dictionary can be filtered by Dialect on the Search Dictionary page.
Dialects can have their vocabulary directly contrasted against cognates in the parent Language, or against their sister Dialects (Language Menu → Summary → Relations → [Dialect] → View)
They can have their phonology and orthography set
You can add translations in a dialect
Articles specific to the dialect will appear on the dialect summary page
No other site feature is guaranteed to be made available to Dialects at any time.
It is best to make a CWS Dialect if the only differences between the Language you have already created and the dialect in question are some vocabulary items and minor phonological differences.
If the new language/dialect you want to create varies from your original Language in terms of phonological rules, morphology, or syntax - or if they only have a few words in common - it is better to create a new Language. The close relationship between these languages can be shown by putting them both in the same Language Family.
If there are any further questions on the purpose or usage of CWS Dialects, please contact a member of staff or post in the forums.