Request for variant subtag "boont"

John Cowan cowan at
Tue Aug 29 20:48:44 CEST 2006

1. Name of requester:  John Cowan
2. E-mail address of requester:  cowan at
3. Record Requested:

   Type: variant
   Subtag: boont
   Description: Boontling
   Prefix: en
   Suppress-Script: Latn
   Comments: Jargon embedded in American English

4. Intended meaning of the subtag: The Boontling dialect of American English
5. Reference to published description
   of the language (book or article):

Adams, Charles C.  _Boontling: An American Lingo, with a Dictionary of
Boontling.  University of Texas Press, 1971
6. Any other relevant information:

Boontling is the name given by its speakers to a deliberately contrived
jargon which was spoken extensively between 1880 and 1920 in the upper
Anderson Valley of Mendocino County, California. This name, an abbreviated,
self-explaining compound, is itself a typical word in the jargon. "Boont"
is the local term for Boonville, the largest town in the valley and
traditionally the service center of the upper portion of the area; "ling"
is abbreviated from "lingo". Boontling, then, is the lingo of Boonville.

At the zenith of its development, Boontling contained a basic vocabulary of
more than 1000 words and phrases, and nearly 3000 specialized names for
inhabitants of the area and for local geographical features.  It was spoken
and/or understood by most of the approximately 500 people in the rural
community. Three differing accounts of its origins are given by informants;
all three agree that it originated as a secret language, but then spread,
perhaps via public school, to the general populace. A conscious effort was
made to coin additional words.

Boontling is still studied today, both as an unusual linguistic phenomenon,
and by local valley residents who wish to know more of their heritage.

Registration of this variant will cause the existing grandfathered
tag "en-boont" to be changed to a redundant tag.

Not to perambulate                 John Cowan <cowan at>
    the corridors        
during the hours of repose
    in the boots of ascension.       --Sign in Austrian ski-resort hotel

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