John Hudson
Mon, 18 Feb 2002 11:30:47 -0800

At 10:54 2/18/2002, wrote:

>I think (just as a Finn hobby linguist, mind, not a Sami, so what do I 
>thet "Ruija" is just a name of the area, not a Sami variant,

This discussion began in reference to a list of dialects in the SIL 
Ethnologue. Information in the Ethnologue is often supplied by field 
linguists working with native speakers, and so reflects those individual 
linguists' understanding of the dialect situation among local populations. 
It seems very likely to me that, while the broad dialect distinction may be 
characterised as Sea Sami and Inland Sami, a field linguist may have 
identified other distinctions within these dialects and decided to refer to 
them by geographical region: hence Ruija. Linguists may not agree on the 
classification of these distinctions as dialects. Linguists may not agree 
about anything.

Since the original discussion was about language code mappings, to which 
dialect distinction is not directly relevant, it seems sensible to 
acknowledge that the dividing line between dialect and sub-dialect is even 
finer and greyer than the line between dialect and language. I think field 
linguists, especially those involved in translation, tend to identify a 
greater number of dialects than those attempting to record the broad 
patterns of language use.

John Hudson

Tiro Typeworks
Vancouver, BC

... es ist ein unwiederbringliches Bild der Vergangenheit,
das mit jeder Gegenwart zu verschwinden droht, die sich
nicht in ihm gemeint erkannte.

... every image of the past that is not recognized by the
present as one of its own concerns threatens to disappear
                                               Walter Benjamin