Erzgebirgisch Classification Question

Tracey, Niall niall.tracey at
Tue Apr 1 17:48:06 CEST 2008

Doug wrote:

> Our goal in registering variants like 'erzgeb' is to allow legitimate 
> language variations to be tagged, not to provide tags with perfect 
> mnemonic or language-hierarchy value.

Ciarán Ó Duibhín replied:
> On that view, it comes down to whether "sxu" or "de" looks better in
> the present state of our knowledge.  Thomas has magnanimously accepted
> "sxu", but back in January he gave his reasons for regarding
> Erzgebirgisch as a form of Franconian (and I assume Franconian would
> have prefix "de").  I am uncomfortable that we might decide in favour
> of "sxu" without giving those arguments due consideration.

I have a problem here, although it may be a misunderstanding on my part of the purpose of subtagging.

I can't exactly remember where I read it, but my understanding was that with regards to the web, a subtag tree was intended to be navigable, and that it would be used to find a "best fit" page.

Taking EN as an example, if my browser identified itself as EN_UK, it would give me an EN_UK page if available, an EN page if there was no EN_UK, but if there was only EN_US it would give that and I would understand it.

But would a speaker of Erzgerbirgisch understand a page in Upper Saxon? Would a speaker of Upper Saxon understand a page in Erzgerbirgisch? The same questions stand for Franconian and Erzgebirgisch?

I suspect not, although I must confess to having no knowledge of the languages.

Wouldn't an Erzgebirgisch speaker prefer a standard German page if no Erz. alternative is available, which surely means that the only suitable options are:
A) subtag of DE
B) stand-alone tag

Of course, A) should still only be done if linguistically justifiable. (Just as I wouldn't want Scottish Gaelic or Irish to be considered a subtag of EN just because all speakers of them can understand English.)

As I said, though, I may have misunderstood the purpose of the tagging system.


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