ISO 639 name change: Songhai languages

John Cowan cowan at
Fri Jan 5 21:55:22 CET 2007

Kent Karlsson scripsit:

> If they really aren't mutually intelligible (to a very high degree),
> they are separate languages that cannot be given a macrolanguage
> umbrella.

That turns out not to be the case.  Go to China and try to get someone who
speaks only Mandarin talking with someone who speaks only Cantonese.
Now get them to agree that there are 14 different Sinitic languages spoken
in China.

Good luck.

> Chinese is macrolanguage just because the usually used
> writing system is so abstract that it is not phonetic (and thus
> there is a high degree of mutual intelligibility between those
> languages for written documents; simplified vs. traditional aside).

The same is not true for Arabic.

The man that wanders far                        cowan at
from the walking tree                 
        --first line of a non-existent poem by:         John Cowan

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