Guernsey Jersey and Isle of Man ISO 3166-1 Codes

Luc Pardon lucp at
Mon Apr 3 18:09:25 CEST 2006


    I'd love to elaborate on this as I think it would be interesting, if 
only because I might learn quite a few things. But isn't it off-topic 
for this list?

    Luc Pardon

John Cowan wrote:
> Luc Pardon scripsit:
>>   I would appreciate a reference here, because to the best of my 
>>knowledge this is plain wrong.
> I am quite prepared to believe I am wrong about this, and I can no longer
> trace down the chain of evidence that led me to this conclusion.
>>   Note that very little of the Etnologue's entry for Belgium makes 
>>sense to me. For example, the number of speakers of Vlaams is listed as 
>>1 million and it says it is spoken (in Belgium) only in the province of 
> It doesn't say "only".  The text of the Ethnologue is not edited as such,
> but is assembled out of fragments taken out of a database.  I suspect that
> West-Vlaanderen is rather the present center of the language, the place
> where the tradition is most nearly unbroken, the area with the largest
> number of people who speak Vlaams as distinct from (local varieties of)
> Standard Dutch.
> Of course this distinction will be hard to draw in any regional-language
> situation where the RL is closely related to the standard; there are
> probably a whole chain of dialect mixtures from essentially pure Vlaams
> to essentially pure Dutch, with different varieties spoken by people
> under different circumstances.
> (I'm not speaking out of particular knowledge of this situation, merely by
> analogy with other related situations around the world, notably Scottish
> English and Scots.   Please correct me if I have it wrong.)
> I would say the presence of the named dialects of Vlaams is a clear
> indication that the language is spoken to some degree in every part of
> the Flemish Region.
>>  b) Then it goes on to list the inhabitants of all five Flemish 
>>provinces, including West-Vlaanderen (!), 
> Remember that to a linguist "dialect" just means any variety, not
> just a local or stigmatized one.  The purest ABN out of the mouth of a
> highly trained television announcer is just another dialect of Dutch,
> different only in social ways from the most peculiar local patois.
> Thus there is nothing inconsistent in saying that West-Vlaanderen is
> the center of Vlaams language use on the one hand, and saying that its
> usage is a dialect of Vlaams on the other.
>>   c) In linguistic circles, "Vlaams" seems to refer to the language 
>>spoken in both Oost and West-Vlaanderen, which would still bring the 
>>total speakers over 2 million, and in that case Oost-Vlaanderen should 
>>be listed among the regions where it is spoken.
> The question then is how many of those two millions actually speak Vlaams
> as distinct from local Dutch, something which will never be subject to
> an entirely objective answer for reasons given above.
>>   As an aside, I found it also interesting to see that Low Saxon is 
>>listed as "a language of Germany" but there is no trace of Nedersaksisch 
>>in the Netherlands, although I am told that Nedersaksisch was recognized 
>>in 1996 as a regional language by the Dutch government.
> That seems to be because Ethnologue, for whatever reasons, treats the
> Dutch varieties of Low Saxon as the separate languages Achterhoeks,
> Drents, Gronings, Sallands, Stellingwerfs, Twents, and Veluws.  It also
> dubs them all "official languages", perhaps of the respective provinces,
> or perhaps in error -- I don't know.
>>   All of this to say that the Etnologue should not always be seen as 
>>gospel when judging about language tags, and that it is, in any case, 
>>probably wrong to treat Picard and Walloon separately because of what 
>>the Etnologue says. I can write short mails as well, sometimes.
> True enough, but for better or worse it's about to become the ISO 693-3
> standard for such matters, as the U.S. Library of Congress's list of
> useful languages and language groups for bibliographic purposes became
> the ISO 639-2 standard.  It's not perfect, but it's the best available
> balance between accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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