English as spoken in Northern Ireland (long)

John Clews Scripts2 at sesame.demon.co.uk
Sun Jun 1 23:51:10 CEST 2003

Thanks to Doug for his measured email.

In message <000e01c3287a$2910e4c0$7e434244 at anhmca.adelphia.net>
"Doug Ewell" writes: ...

> Let's see if we can bring a little order to a discussion that has become
> very chaotic and personal.

Thanks for that. I was also about to point out at some point in the
past that as Marion Gunn notes, the 9 counties of Ulster and the 6
counties currently in Northern Ireland are not contiguous (and I've always
been aware that not everybody realises that, either in Great Britain
or in the rest of the world).

Those differences have bred their own complications since the borders
were set up nearly a century ago, but that's several other stories.

Taking just some of Doug's points:

> For example, one can talk about "English as spoken in the United States"
> vs. "English as spoken in the United Kingdom," or "French as spoken in
> France" vs. "French as spoken in Canada."  These distinctions might
> relate to spoken accent, vocabulary, choice of formal vs. informal
> pronouns, choice of prepositions ("different from" vs. "different to"),
> etc.

Where in fact "ll-cc" tags are sufficient.

He also wrote ...

> The first thing we must do, if we want to talk about language tagging
> and not politics, is to recognize that the use of ISO 3166-1 country
> codes to denote "regions" where languages are spoken is a convenience,
> not a political statement.  People do not speak, read, and write
> fundamentally different versions of English in Detroit, Michigan, and
> across the border in Windsor, Ontario.  Any differences associated with
> national or sub-national boundaries are simply made for convenience.

Where "ll-cc" tags are insufficient, though anyway any case for having
such codes needs to be very robust, with some detailed research, and
many examples recently posited would not stand muster, for purely
technical reasons - nothing to do with political issues.

Doug makes the particular point: ...

> People do not speak, read, and write fundamentally different
> versions of English in Detroit, Michigan, and across the border in
> Windsor, Ontario.

Though if they did, as such dialects are associated often with
particular towns, locodes may be a better device for specifyig
localities, than the ISO 3166-2 tags, which often are insufficiently
precise, as noted in various emails over the last twelve months or

And it may be more useful to identify speech patterns of Armargh,
Belfast and Londonderry, for example, than just the ISO 3166-2 code
for Northern Ireland.

Locodes allows that: ISO 3166-2 doesn't.

Doug also wrote ...

> I apologize for the length of this post.  Hopefully it will add some
> light to a debate that has so far been mostly heat.

I agree: let's move  to generating more heat than light, and if necessary
take some of these issues offlist, and post any useful conclusions
later to the list, given the list's fairly narrow technical limits
which relate to registrations according to the provisions of
RFC 3066, which require some reasoably detailed research before a
form should be filled in.

Best regards

John Clews

John Clews,
Director and Editor
Keytempo directory of musicians
Keytempo Limited (Information Management),
8 Avenue Rd, Harrogate, HG2 7PG, United Kingdom.
Tel:    01423 888 432  (mobile: 07766 711 395)
Email:  keylist at sesame.demon.co.uk
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