ON LANGUAGE NAMES /// RE: Results of Duplicate Busters Survey #2

Doug Ewell doug at ewellic.org
Sat Sep 6 05:29:24 CEST 2008

John Cowan <cowan at ccil dot org> wrote:

> Unfortunately, there is no particular reason why indigenous names 
> should be unique, and we know that they are not.  The indigenous name 
> used by speakers of the Ainu language of Japan is (in romanization) 
> "Ainu"; the indigenous name used by an unrelated language of China is 
> likewise "Ainu".  The English or French names are usually ambiguous 
> *because* the indigenous names are.

Indeed, as we progress from more widely known to less widely known 
languages -- that is, from ISO 639-1 to 639-2 to 639-3 -- we find 
increasingly that the indigenous names are the only ones that exist. 
Many languages have their own names for "French" or "German," but how 
many languages have their own names for "Safwa" or "Donno So Dogon"? 
The disambiguation problems have already been worked out for most 
languages whose English and French names are different from the 
indigenous names.

Doug Ewell  *  Thornton, Colorado, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14
http://www.alvestrand.no/mailman/listinfo/ietf-languages  ˆ

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