han.steenwijk at han.steenwijk at
Wed May 12 13:24:16 CEST 2004

Quoting "Addison Phillips [wM]" <aphillips at>:

> Dear Professor Steenwijk,
> If draft-phillips-langtags were in effect, would you be registering
> 'nedis'
> as a "variant" or as a "language" subtag?

As a "variant" subtag, a dialectal variant within the Slovene language

> Do you think that ISO 639-2
> would
> register the dialect as a language? What about ISO639-3?

I do not think so. Slovene dialects are all rather different among themselves,
and especially the marginal dialects towards Italy, Austria and Hungary are full
of loans that make them lexically very different from the more central dialects.
If we would start to treat the marginal dialects as languages on this criterium,
not much would be left to be classified a "dialect of Slovene".

Apart from that, defining an extra-territorial Slovene dialect as something
non-Slovene is "politically uncorrect" in the eyes of Slovenes living
Slovenia and to a part of the speakers of these extra-territorial dialects.
Remember my hesitation to apply for a Resian language tag at ISO 639-3 and note
that neither Ethnologue nor ISO 639-3 have honoured that request so far. With
respect to Resia, however, the sociolinguistic situation in Natisone is
different, with a generally higher level of identification with Slovenes living
in Slovenia in the latter region.

ISO 639 is less bothered with political questions and judges more by criteria
like number of extant written documents in the language/dialect. But I think
also that that board would hesitate to set such a far-reaching precedent.
> I'm also curious as to why the tag doesn't match any of the English or
> Slovene names. "nediski", "nadiski",
"natisone", ... all fit the subtag
> pattern (there is a lower limit on length which is five characters, but
> the
> upper limit is sixteen). I realize that there is an ending problem (do
> you
> choose -i or -o??) but it seems curious to me to abbreviate.

I constructed "nedis" like "rozaj". It is based on the name
in the local
dialect, not in standard Slovene (this answers Michael Everson's question), and
has the same length (I hate to do more typing than necessary). Five was the
minimum length at disposal at the time of registrating sl-rozaj, as confusion
with the ISO 15924 script tags had to be avoided.

Best regards,


> Best Regards,
> Addison

Prof. Han Steenwijk
Universita di Padova
Dipartimento di Lingue e Letterature Anglo-Germaniche e Slave
Sezione di Slavistica
Via Beldomandi, 1
I-35139 Padova

e-mail: han.steenwijk at
tel.: (39) 049 8278669
fax:  (39) 049 8278679

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