(iso639.450) SV: Analysis of ISO 639 and mappings to SIL Ethnologue

John Clews Scripts@sesame.demon.co.uk
Sun, 17 Feb 2002 23:47:56 GMT

In message <200202171557.QAA10825@dkuug.dk> Michael Everson writes:

> John this has been argued a thousand times. The preferred form of the
> word, as found on page 1644 of the New Oxford Dictionary of English 
> (2001) is "Sami", with no accent.

Well, the New Oxford Dictionary of English may represent use in the
UK in times past, but it does not necessarily represent English use
worldwide, or even an international source. When it boils down to it
it's a proprietary usage. Well used, I grant you, but it remains
proprietary, and it is not explicitly accepted as a standard (UK or
wider) in the same way that other reference sources (e.g. Duden in
German speaking countries) is.

"Saami" certainly appears in some American general usage dictionaries
and encyclopedias.

> "Saami" does not appear in this dictionary,

which remains Oxford University Press's problem, rather than the rest
of the world's problem. Generally - and certainly with the start of
the Oxord Dictionary series of publications - they always prided
themselves on recording various usages.

> and in any case should be avoided because people may
> hypercorrect it to S=E5mi, confusing it with equivalences like =C5lborg 
> and Aalborg.

The councils for Saami speakers in Norway, Sweden and Finland have
recommended the use of the term "Saami" and they, more than anybody,
are all used to needing to deal with specific uses of the string "aa"
in words.

If the Saami and non-Saami speakers in Norway, Sweden and Finland can
cope with it, and indeed recommend it, I don't see why anybody should
propose over their heads that they have to think that what is done by
a UK publisher, just because we on standards committees think we know
better, particularly when the term that they recommend is already in
widespread use in various English language publications worldwide,
in both linguistic and more general publications.

Best regards

John Clews

John Clews,
Keytempo Limited (Information Management),
8 Avenue Rd, Harrogate, HG2 7PG
Email: Scripts@sesame.demon.co.uk
tel: +44 1423 888 432;

Committee Member of ISO/IEC/JTC1/SC22/WG20: Internationalization;
Committee Member of ISO/TC37/SC2/WG1: Language Codes