Principles of Operation (was: LANGUAGE SUBTAG REQUEST FORM, Erzgebirgisch)

Frank Ellermann nobody at
Thu Jan 24 11:48:08 CET 2008

Doug Ewell wrote:

> Upper Saxon, the language, exists.

You say.  It's not like "gsw" or "nds", where
my intuition is "different enough".  Without 
linguistic background I could make a case for
"nds" as a separate language, but I couldn't
for "sxu" (as of today, not centuries ago).

> "sxu", the subtag,  doesn't yet exist, but
> will in a matter of months.

Maybe.  The registration request is now, and
now our referene list is ISO 639-2, where I'm
confident that it's no nonsense modulo "tlh".

> Ethnologue does list Erzegebirgisch as a
> dialect of both German (in the Czech Republic)
> and Upper Saxon.

Which would be indeed odd, why should the same
dialect switch its "language" depending on old
pre-WWII political borders.  I could understand
that the northern Harz colony founded 400 years
ago in some way switched from "sxu" to "de" (or
in theory to "nds", but not really).

The issue would be less confusing if the modern
form of "sxu" would be handled as "de" dialect,
with "erzgeb" either belonging to it, like we
have variants of a Slovenian dialect, or on the
same level, "erzheb" as another "de" dialect...

> I didn't think there could be such a thing as
> a single dialect of two "parent" languages. far as tagging content for the Internet
is concerned, the main job of the IANA registry,
"sxu" could turn out to be not very helpful, it
is no "minority language" like "nds".

> I'd much rather wait for the Ethnologue people
> to weigh in on this than go off making our own
> judgments.

Experts might consider facts relevant 2000 years
ago as important enough to justify a different
"sxu" language, they're likely not interested if
"sxu-erzgeb" matches "de" for say Karen's job.

IOW if "we" (or in fact Michael) would never make
our own judgement we could hand over the registry
maintenance to Ethnologue, and maybe get "ork". 

> The Reviewer could always deny the proposal with
> specific instructions to come back and submit it
> again after 4646bis is published.

That's a kind of "reject" decision with the known
rules for appeals.  The zh-* registrations weeks
before 4646 made them redundant were not rejected.

>> unless the proponent prefers a prefix "sxu"
>> instead of "de".

> s/unless/if/  ?

Was 'unless' DEnglish ?  Certainly not SXUnglish ;-)

If the proponent feels that what he really wants 
is "sxu-erzgeb", then waiting until "sxu" exists
is the best he can do.  Registering "saxon" under
RFC 4646 rules as ersatz-"sxu" would be messy.


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