Jaska Zedlik sub at
Tue May 1 00:01:36 CEST 2007

Lars Aronsson wrote:

LA> If I understand this right, there was a book by Mr. Taraskievich
LA> in 1918, published in its 5th edition in 1929, then an official 
LA> government reform in 1933 and one more in 1959.  Then in 2005 a 
LA> new book that connects back to 1929.  We now have 5 different 
LA> years that each could identify a slightly different version of the 
LA> language, but these five can be grouped into two major branches: 
LA> the 1933-1959 version that is today the official version in the 
LA> republic of Belarus and the 1918-1929-2005 version now to be 
LA> registered as "be-tarask".

Yes, you are right. But really there are/were not only 5 versions
but the majority of them can be put to one of these 2 branches.

>>From a philosophical standpoint, you need names for things only to 
LA> tell them apart.  If there was no difference between apples and 
LA> pears, we could just call it "fruit" and that would be it.  It 
LA> follows that if there is a difference and you need a word for 
LA> "apples", then you also need a word for "pears".

Probably. But in Belarusian if somebody eats apples, he or she doesn't
eat pears and vice versa. This means if somebody uses Taraskievica,
he usually don't want to know how to tag Narkamauka, and if somebody
writes in Narkamauka he usualy don't want to deal with Taraskievica.

LA> It is peculiar (to me) already that "be-tarask" is registered 
LA> without also registering a subtag for the other, official version 
LA> of Belarusian.  Suppose I start up my word processor and activate 
LA> the spelling correction.  Which dictionary do I want to use?  
LA> Be-tarask or the other one that doesn't have a subtag?  Is that to 
LA> be called "be" without the subtag?  The only similar case I know 
LA> is de-1901 and de-1996, where both subtags were registered at the 
LA> same time.

Yes, this is still a problem, but the first step to solve it was made
by registering be-tarask. Now it is the turn of Narkamauka users to
find an appropriate title for Narkamauka subtag if they need a subtag.
But for now be-tarask means all the Taraskievica variants and 
what means "be" depends only on the autor who tagged the data. Until a
subtag for Narkamauka doesn't exist, it is impossible to say that "be"
without a subtag stands for some specific variant of the language.

LA> The above post from Ihar is the first time I see that the 2005 
LA> version would be "VERY different" from the 1929 version.

I don't really think, that they are "VERY different". The difference
between them are mainly in non-specified then rules and in the
orthography of foreign words, because it was not relevant in 1929. And
this difference is certainly less than between 2005 version and the
official orthography.

LA> Does 
LA> that mean somebody will need to register a new subtag for the 1929 
LA> version, to tell it apart from the 2005 version?

Initially be-tarask was intended to tag all sorts of Taraskievaca. But
as we need one concrete book to specify the set of rules for it,
certainly was chosen the latest as the most full and the most modern.
I don't think that somebody will create a spellchecker for 1929
orthography and check the books written then. This version is not in
use now, but this data if ever can also be tagged as "be-tarask".
Certainly for a non-user it can be quite hazy, but to compare it to
German, only de-1901 and de-1996 exist and nobody wants a subtag to
spellcheck some Goethe poems in original because this looks a bit
crazy. In Belarusian it is sometuing like this.

LA> Are there 
LA> different newspapers printed in these two sub-sub-versions of 
LA> Belarusian?

No, all the newspapers and magazines printed in Taraskievica
during the last 15-20 years are printed in 2005 version (or in the
variant which is very similar to it).

LA>   In the light of this, was it perhaps a mistake to use 
LA> the name of the 1918-1929 author, Mr. Taraskievich, as the basis 
LA> for the subtag for the 2005 version of the language?

Probably therefore 2005 version was called "Belarusian classical
orthography" :-)

But today this one of two branches has two titles--Taraskievica and
classical orthography--which are usually treated equally.
"Taraskievica" means not only the grammar published by Taraskievic
(even his 1918 and 1929 versions are rather diffirent) but this is a
title for the entire branch, so in the respect of the subtag title
everything is ok.

Jaska Zedlik

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