Addition request: alsatian

Ciarán Ó Duibhín ciaran at
Fri Jan 11 15:58:53 CET 2008

1. Another reference on Alsatian: Liliane M Vassberg, "Alsatian Acts of
Identity", Multilingual Matters, 1993, ISBN 1853591726 (online at

2. Re the choice between gsw-FR and gsw-alsatian, I am not aware of any
Alemannic variety native to France which would not be considered Alsatian.
But that is accidental, and I feel that the principled thing is to create a
variant subtag (alsatian), as we had to do in the linguistically analogous
case of Valencian, rather than by taking opportunistic advantage of a handy
international frontier (which is actually not so handy, since the dialect
maps fail to show any distinction in Alemannic dialects even loosely
correlated with it).  It would be a false economy, in my view, to rely on
it.  Region (in practice, country) subtags like FR are most meaningful when
the difference of jurisdiction has contributed directly to the linguistic
distinction, eg. different official orthographies; or lexical influence from
different official languages.  Although the latter may be a factor here, I
still favour gsw-alsatian.

3. I dislike the suggestion to add "Alsatian" as a Description of gsw,
joining "Swiss German" and "Alemannic".  Alemannic correctly describes the
range of application of the language tag.  Swiss German may describe what
was originally the intended range, and still shows why the tag is named gsw.
Alsatian covers only a small part of the range, and seems to me to do more
harm than good as a description.  I would find a comment, such as that
proposed by Addison: "Comment: This language is also use<d> in the Alsace
region of France, where it is referred to as Alsatian" to be much more

Ciarán Ó Duibhín.

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