[Ltru] Alemanic & Swiss German

Martin Duerst duerst at it.aoyama.ac.jp
Wed Dec 6 02:50:27 CET 2006

[triggered by a mail from Debbie answering Mark and explaining
how to fix a perceived problem in ISO 639-3]

Sorry, I disagree, under the assumption that gsw in ISO-639-3
and in the Ethnologue is intended to refer to the same thing.

At 07:37 06/12/04, Mark Davis wrote:
>I looked at your long letter, but it doesn't change my conclusion. From all the evidence cited, "gsw" was intended to be "Swiss German".

In my understanding, gsw as described in the Ethnologue refers
to "Alemanic" in the narrow sense. Alemanic can be used both for
a wider group that includes Swabian (Schwa"bisch), as well as
for a narrower group that doesn't include Swabian. See e.g.
This is close to what Peter suggested in one of his mails.

So if a correction is necessary, it should be changing
"Alemanic" to "Alemanic (in the narrow sense)" or something

Please note that I have avoided any use of the word "language"
or "language group" above; it is very much a matter of judgement
where to draw the boundary.

>The term "Alemanic" in English ("Alemanisch" in German) encompasses a wider scope (eg including Swabian, which is clearly not Swiss German*), and should not be used.

No. Using the word "Swiss German" as the label for something that
covers parts of Austria, France, and Germany is clearly wrong.
I'll explain it in more detail in an answer to a mail from Peter.

>Retaining the word "Alemanic" in the scope of "gsw" is a bit like intending to produce a code for "bloodhound" but later saying that the code covers any "dog". If there is need for the broader term "Alemanic", which is not unreasonable, it really should be encoded separately. 
>PS. - I have a close friend who speaks Swabian, and it is very distinctly different from Swiss German -- but ask any Swiss like Martin for further confirmation. 

In Switzerland, the term "Swabian" is often used different from the
way it is in Germany. Any German may be called "Schwabe". This may
apply to the Germans just across the border (not Swabians by their
own understanding) or to Germans in general, as far as Hamburg and
onwards. Such usage often has a derogatory connotation. Therefore,
I don't consider myself a good source on the use of the word
"Swabian" in general.

Regards,    Martin.

#-#-#  Martin J. Du"rst, Assoc. Professor, Aoyama Gakuin University
#-#-#  http://www.sw.it.aoyama.ac.jp       mailto:duerst at it.aoyama.ac.jp     

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