Adding variant subtag 'erzgeb' for Erzgebirgisch (was: Requests that have been on hold)

Thomas Goldammer thogol at
Mon Aug 10 07:58:44 CEST 2009

Hi all,

>> 1. Adding variant subtag 'erzgeb' for Erzgebirgisch, originally with a
>> Prefix of "de" or "gem" or "sxu", or most recently "vmf"
> Which prefixes does Thomas want now for 'erzgeb,' [sxu], or [vmf], or both?
> (in the last case, is this then a sub-branch of two dialects, which I
> thought it was not, but I'm not a person who thinks languages descend in
> linear fashon from parents as the trees suggest, anyway.)
> Ethnologue has its family as East Middle German (like that of
> [sxu]):, why is the
> added date for [vmf] (and other new subtags) appear as:Added: 2029-09-09
> ???(I'm sorry I am new at this; it does not look right but I am sure it is
> me.)

well, I prefer vmf, and here is why:

Ethnologue 16 has Erzgebirgisch as sxu dialect ( ), but there are
so many things screwed up in there (Hessian is now also listed as a
dialect of sxu...). I know there are not really decent publications on
the classification of Erzgebirgisch, and there is no work going on, as
far as I know, to change that - I do want to do that work by myself
someday, but I'm bound to another project probably the next one or
even two years.

But I wonder how difficult a process it is to change the tag then, if
you decide now to hang it on sxu and some linguistic work perhaps
eventually shows that it rather belongs to vmf (which I'm quite
convinced of, not speaking as a speaker of that variety but as a
linguist). So I do prefer vmf, although that's going against
Ethnologue. But since Ethnologue does not give linguistically
retraceable sources - just because there are none that really go
beyond guessing - , I don't really feel bad with that, honestly. (And
as you all know, acceptable sources for any kind of subgrouping within
a group of related languages or dialects are such that use all the
nice state-of-the-art methods of historical and comparative
linguistics, which is basically gathering shared innovations all over
the language system and stuff like that.)

On the possibility to tag it for both: I guess the tags are supposed
to have some relation to the actual language genealogy. And I'm not a
person who thinks that a language or dialect can really derive
genetically from two separate languages/dialects. Another
language/dialect can influence it so that it eventually ends up having
sort of more properties from that contact language/dialect, but still,
the methods we have got to figure out subgroupings will still show the
inheritance from somewhere else - like it is in the case of English
which doesn't really look like Western Germanic, after all.

Best regards,

Thomas Goldammer
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
 - Department of Linguistics -
Deutscher Platz 6
D-04103 Leipzig

Tel. (off.): +49 341 3550 309 (I'm back in the office by Aug, 24.
Until then, try emailing me.)
Mail (off.): thomas_goldammer at
Mail (priv.): thogol at

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