Alemanic & Swiss German

Peter Constable petercon at
Mon Dec 4 17:28:52 CET 2006

> From: ietf-languages-bounces at [mailto:ietf-languages-
> bounces at] On Behalf Of Doug Ewell

> Rather, the debate is whether "gsw" represents only Schwyzerdütsch per
> se, or other "Alemanic" languages and/or dialects which are not usually
> identified as Schwyzerdütsch, such as Swabian. 

That is not under debate. The ID "gsw" denotes precisely one individual language, which in English is commonly referred to as "Swiss German".

What is under debate is the name "Alemanic". It is a name used to refer to a collection of languages constituting a genetic subnode of Germanic. For that reason, Mark feels it is not appropriate to list "Alemanic" as a name.

I agree with Mark on the principle, that an ID should mean one thing only: either it means an individual language, or it means a collection of languages, but it does not mean both.

But what is unclear to me is whether the lexeme "Alemanic" has two distinct senses. Ethnologue indicates that the individual language denoted by "gsw" is referred to by Germanic-speaking peoples as "Schwyzerdütsch" within Switzerland but elsewhere as "Alemanisch". In other words, "Alemanisch" is a Germanic name for the individual language denoted by "gsw". That suggests the possibility that "Alemanic" might similarly be used with the meaning of that individual language.

If "Alemanic" is ever used with that sense, I think I can agree with Mark that it is not commonly used as the English name for the individual language in question, whereas it is commonly used for the collection of related languages. Thus, I will agree with Mark that it is at best misleading to list "Alemanic" as an English name for this individual language.

> Unless this thread has something to do with adding or changing an entry
> in the Registry, I agree with Michael that it should be confined to
> LTRU, and will post any future comments only to that list.

This thread very much has to do with entries in the Registry and is really out of scope for LTRU.

Peter Constable

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