Alemanic & Swiss German

Gerard Meijssen gerardm at
Tue Dec 5 14:20:35 CET 2006

The big advantage of the SIL material is that it is big and much more 
inclusive then any else that is around. It serves a need that is not 
addressed at present. The single biggest problem with your proposal is 
that it is an enormous step backwards when you want to address all the 
content that is currently in ISO-639-3 line by line. Just as if the need 
that ISO-639-3 addresses is not present.

 From my perspective the RFC 4646 that is seemingly inevitable is 
problematic because it only addresses on how it wants to be backwards 
compatible and is willing to sacrifice the easy understanding that a 
single list would bring with a hybrid system. A hybrid system where it 
is unclear to me how they want to link it to the ISO-639-3 content with 
the argument that they are not willing to address it until the standard 
is standard. From my perspective, when the ISO-639-3 is finally 
ratified, this list of how to link needs to be there in a finished form. 
By not having it at the time of ratification, it makes the IANA codes 
less then credible. By not having a period where these codes can be 
discussed, you will not have buy in.

Yes, you cannot have it both ways. :(  In a presentation of Google it 
was suggested that the coding of content with language codes is so 
unreliable that it is practically useless. This seems to suggest to me 
that good marketing for the codes and clear benefits for using correct 
codes is needed. To me this lack of the effectiveness of these codes and 
the lack of good marketing makes the whole argument for backwards 
compatibility increasingly weak.

The notion of having politically correct content is as dangerous as not 
being responsive. The SIL material has been available for a long time. I 
have found the people at SIL to be responsive. The ISO-639-3 list has 
been around since 2005.. Has there not been ample time to go over this 
list and find fault where it can be found and remedy it ? Personally, I 
find your suggestion outrageous.

As to political correctness, the Mapuche people have started a court 
case against both the government of Chile and Microsoft because they 
insist on an orthography not accepted by the Mapuche people. The Mapuche 
live both in Chile and Argentina. The notion that national interest need 
to be addressed is logical but up to a point. Making nationalistic 
issues the primary argument for what makes a language ignores that many 
languages are spoken in many countries which refutes the argument that 
it is for the single countries involved to be the sole judge to decide 
on such languages.


Marion Gunn schreef:
> This is exactly the kind of carry-over of errors (based on same bad 
> experiences of errors carried over from MARC into another part of 639) 
> to which some, including myself, objected years ago, but the SIL block 
> looks like being pushed through anyway.  
> I still believe that it would be far better, even at this late state, 
> to build each part of 639 ab initio, with due care for cultural 
> concerns and consulting actual language groups at National Body level, 
> as this is a better (older, more politically correct) protocol, rather 
> than take such dangerous shortcuts as swallowing undigested SIL material. 
> mg
> On 4 Dec 2006, at 17:06, scríobh Karen_Broome at 
> <mailto:Karen_Broome at>:
>> ...
>> However, the spelling "Alemannic" seems to be far more common than 
>> Alemanic. I'm wondering if that's a spelling mistake on SIL that I 
>> copied over assuming that resource to be authorative. If I were 
>> submitting this application today, I would use the spelling with two 
>> n's. 

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