Alsatian answer from LOC

Karen_Broome at Karen_Broome at
Wed Feb 27 01:33:26 CET 2008

I think Alsatians would be no more likely to call their language 
"Alemannic" than "Swiss German," from what I understand. Mexican Spanish 
speakers would never call their language "Castilian." I think the point 
previously made is still valid.


Karen Broome
Metadata Systems Designer
Sony Pictures Entertainment

ietf-languages-bounces at wrote on 02/26/2008 04:47:15 PM:

> Rebecca S. Guenther was quoted as writing:
> <<
> ... But if some may consider "Alsatian" to be an alternate name by
> which they refer to the language coded as "gsw", then we would add it. 
> are not certain that indeed this is the case, so would ask that you give
> evidence that "Alsatian" is used by some group of people as a language
> name rather than the name of a dialect within that language.
> >>
> While I am not so strongly against adding "Alsatian" as an alternative 
> for gsw as I was earlier
> , I stand by the argument in my third point there that the kind of 
> reasonably asked for by Ms Guenther is (as far as I know) lacking.
> Certainly in English, "Alsatian" is not used to mean "gsw as a whole", 
> only that part of gsw spoken in the territory of Alsace.
> Is the term "Alsatian" not used in the same way in other languages? Even 
> Alsace itself, would anyone say (the equivalent in French or in Alsatian 
> "the Alsatian-speaking regions of Switzerland and Germany"?  To my mind,
> this last question is the key one, and an analogy with Castilian is 
> only if the answer to it is "yes".
> If the answer is "no", we should not try to persuade LOC that Alsatian 
> the same thing as gsw to anyone, but we should instead try to convince 
> (and ourselves) that a name applied to a geographically-restricted 
subset of
> a language can be acceptable as an alternative name for the language in
> these circumstances.
> The circumstances surrounding Alsatian differ from the normal dialect
> situation - again, as far as I can judge - in that the name Alsatian is
> used, not so much because of any linguistic difference from other forms 
> gsw, but more as a result of political sensitivities, to distance it 
> other forms of gsw.  (Balkan analogies?)  It is those sensitivities 
> consciously restrict the name to Alsace, and a good example of them is
> provided by the French document referenced by Stéphane, which correctly
> calls Alsatian an "indigenous language of France", but never once hints 
> it is related to German, and actually - in its tables of languages 
spoken in
> France - contrasts it with "German" by which I assume it means
> non-indigenous German.  Recognizing those political sensitivities - and 
> matters not whether we agree with them - gives just a glimmer of
> justification for raising Alsatian to the level of an alternative name 
> gsw.
> It is arguable whether the name "Swiss German" would pass Ms Guenther's 
> either.  In principle its situation is similar to that of Alsatian, 
> it has a much greater degree of practical plausibility.  I would see
> Alemannic as the only fully satisfactory name for gsw.
> Ciarán Ó Duibhín
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