Scottish English

JFC (Jefsey) Morfin jefsey at
Thu Oct 20 17:24:00 CEST 2005

At 08:40 20/10/2005, Speechways at wrote:
>Thank you your quick-fire response, even so late in the day. 
>Language is important to most of us as a means of personal and 
>social identity, as well as a means of communication.  I am not as 
>sure as you are, that our colleagues in the media will wish to dumb 
>down distinctions which are meaningful to the communities they are 
>portraying and serving.  One of the strengths of English (and even 
>more so of Chinese) is that a dominant standardised language is 
>backed up and enhanced by a rich variety of related but distinctive 
>locally spoken forms, whether these are tagged as "languages" or 
>not.  I hope you will agree that such important cultural realities 
>should not be swept under the carpet in the formulation of 
>globalised standards.
>David Dalby
>Linguasphere Observatory/Linguasphere ICT

Dear David,
I am not sure it addresses the need of Karen anyway. The discussion 
has changed to tagging a language or another one. But I read her need 
as to tag a picture version (probably more "rendering"?) where the 
background (written spots, names of shops, etc.) is the same, but 
where the speaking is partly different (I suppose the picture may 
include non Scot characters who may have the same script [cinema 
meaning]). This is the old debate: what is tagged. All the existing 
tools - including future ISO 639-6 and RFC 3066 bis are more or less 
multilingual oriented but not multimodal oriented.

The problem is always the same: in a network environment who is to be 
the master and who is to be the slave? The computer or the person? 
The support of languages is already a big problem - Linguasphere, as 
an ontology, probably addresses without controversy. But what about 
the modal aspects, the new language form (after spoken, signed and 
written: networked) and the new support (after tablets, papiri, 
stone, paper: multi-media) not to speak of the architext issue (here 
we see that the same architext [script of the picture] is rendered 
differently by the same author - this is not dubbing, which is 
another parallel problem).

I think that only an ISO 11179 (not strictly) conformant approach can 
help. But even in this case, they have not yet approached the 
"networked" nature added to language and the need to add "paradata" 
to the metadata/data model.

PS. I always asked myself how to tag the "Ecosse" post on cars.

>In a message dated 10/20/2005 6:35:11 AM GMT Daylight Time, 
>petercon at writes:
>I suspect that for the application Karen is dealing with, 
>fine-grained distinctions between varieties of Scottish English (or 
>varieties of Scots) is probably not that helpful: generally, the 
>people cataloguing the content and the people retrieving the content 
>aren’t going to know how to tell them apart. I suspect that all 
>she cares about is the difference between heavily-Scottish-accented 
>English (if it isn’t Scots) and mildly-Scottish-accented English.
>Peter Constable
>Ietf-languages mailing list
>Ietf-languages at
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