Variant tags for sl-rozaj: History and preliminaries

han.steenwijk at han.steenwijk at
Sat Jun 9 06:35:49 CEST 2007


here is something on the current state of affairs concerning tags for Resian.

1. The attempt to register the language with ISO 639.

A long time ago, in October 2003, I submitted to this list proposals for a
series of subtags to be added to the then freshly approved tag "sl-rozaj".
In the discussion that followed it was deemed more appropriate to first
request a primary language tag from ISO 639-2 to replace "sl-rozaj". I
promptly handed in such a request with ISO 639-2, where it somehow lay
around long enough to make the request obsolete, as ISO 639-3 was coming
into existence. I then contacted the editor of ISO 639-3 in order to
prepare a request to be filed with that authority.

Differently from the ISO 639-2 form, the ISO 639-3 form wants to know
about additional supporters of the request. Therefore I contacted some
Slovene dialectologists of foreign as well as of native descent, asking
for support. In the process the matter came up for discussion at the
Slovene Academy of Arts and Sciences, where fierce opposition to the idea
was vented. Personal and official meetings with members of the Academy
followed, but to no avail. The following (translated) quote from an email
dated May 31st, 2007 sums up the Academic position:

<quote>... We have now come to the conclusion that we cannot agree with
any of the variants of completing the [ISO 639-3] "Request for New
Language Code Element" form, because this is simply not possible. In the
form and the request reference is made to a language (in the title and in
the text), however, we are convinced and insist on the point that Resian
is a dialect of Slovene. This basic conflict cannot be resolved, one can
hide it in the text but the conflict still exists. Therefore, until the
possibility exists to register dialects, we cannot support your request
for an ISO standard for Resian.
Bostjan Zeks, president of the Slovene Academy of Arts and Sciences</quote>

Faced with this position I will not further insist on handing in a request
at ISO 639-3 for a primary language tag for Resian. Standards should have
wide support in order to be functional and this wide support is not
guaranteed at the moment. To be sure, I am not completely isolated and
there are fellow scholars who support the request, but consensus is not
within reach.

2. A new attempt to register variant tags for the languages with IANA.

I now intend to submit a series of new proposals for variant tags to be
used with the prefix 'sl-rozaj'. Before drawning you with them, let me
here dwell upon some preliminaries. Basicly, two types of variants are
concerned, one for local dialects (subdialects) and one for standardized

a. Local dialects.
Within Resian, four major local dialects exist, to wit the dialects of the
villages of San Giorgio, Gniva, Oseacco and Stolvizza. Alongside these,
minor local dialects should be distinguished in the hamlets of Lipovaz,
Prato, Crisacis, Coritis and Uccea. Some of the latter are mainly of
historical importance, though. This may seem exaggerated, but the
ideodialect of an important contemporary Resian author is not even
included in this enumeration. The terms "major" and "minor" refer to the
number of speakers as well as to the number of isoglosses separating the

b. Standardized orthography.
Apart from individual and poorly defined ways of writing Resian during the
past three centuries, a standardized orthography proposal was published in
1994. This proposal aims at constructing a Resian written standard that is
an abstraction from the local dialects while at the same time
standardizing the orthography of the four major dialects. From then on, it
has been used in various publications, mainly those edited by the
association "Rozajanski Dum". Alternative writing systems continue to
exist, though.

This boils down to the following list of variant tags to be proposed, in
order of urgency:

- major dialects

- standardized orthography

- minor dialects

The abbreviations are based on the Resian names of the villages and
hamlets, in their adjectival form. The list of minor dialects contains two
tags, 'kriza' and 'korit', that did not occur in the original series of
requests from October 2003. With these, all known local dialects are

Han Steenwijk

Prof. Han Steenwijk
Cattedra di Lingua e Letteratura Slovena
Universita' di Padova
Dipartimento di Lingue e Letterature Anglo-Germaniche e Slave
Sezione di Slavistica
Via Beldomandi, 1
I-35139 Padova

tel. 049 8278669
fax. 049 8278679

More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list