German as used in Liechtenstein (was: Re: Language Identifier List up for comments)

Mark Davis mark.davis at
Mon Dec 20 16:30:42 CET 2004

It was some time ago that I lived near there (about 5km away), of course,
but my memory is that Swiss conventions were followed in Liechtenstein when
writing Standard German.

The broader point I was trying to make is that I think the criterion for
inclusion in the list is a crucial question. In some sense, one can *always"
find some difference between xx-AA and xx-BB; the question is whether that
difference is significant with respect to given goal. If you don't have some
reasonable clear idea of the criterion, (a) you don't know what qualifies
for the list, and (b) nobody can use it. To avoid misleading people that
happen upon the Language Identifier ist page, it is best to make clear (a)
that the list is not complete, (b) that the criterion is not final.

And one has to be very careful about saying that something like "de-LI is
not recommended". If you have a reasonable criterion for the list, it will
form a set of equivalence classes among all countries that have a
significant population of speakers, say:

{de‑CH, de‑LI)
{de‑DE, de‑BE, de‑DK, de‑LU}

If you present the information this way, then a user can see that instead of
using de-LI, he could use de-CH (with respect to that criterion, of course).
But if you just give the list

de‑AT, de‑CH, de‑DE, (not recommended: de‑BE, de‑DK, de‑LI, de‑LU)

and say that the (...) stuff is not recommended, then no guidance whatsoever
is given to what to do with de-LI. The two most obvious answers to the
neophyte are to choose "de" or "de-DE", both of which being wrong!


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Martin Duerst" <duerst at>
To: "Mark Davis" <mark.davis at>; "John Cowan"
<jcowan at>
Cc: <www-international at>; <ietf-languages at>
Sent: Monday, December 20, 2004 00:03
Subject: German as used in Liechtenstein (was: Re: Language Identifier List
up for comments)

> At 02:31 04/12/18, Mark Davis wrote:
>  >> The Standard German used in Liechtenstein is as different from German
>  >Standard
>  >> German as Swiss Standard German is, really?
>  >yes
> Mark - Would you care to give some examples? You have lived
> closer to Liechtenstein than I.
> I can easily give examples of differences between Standard German
> (as used in Germany) and written German as used in Switzerland
> (the easiest being the absence of a sharp s in Swiss orthography).
> German as used in Liechtenstein (if defined at all) may be a combination
> of characteristics from German as written in the three neighbouring
> countries (Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, the latest not
> being an immediate neighbour but not too far away).
> Looking at, the language used in various
> laws in Liechtenstein seems to be extremely close to what's
> used in Switzerland. And legal language may be a good example,
> because there are strong differences in this area between
> Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
> Regards,    Martin.

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