Adding variant subtag 'erzgeb' for Erzgebirgisch

Doug Ewell doug at
Mon Aug 10 15:25:07 CEST 2009

CE Whitehead <cewcathar at hotmail dot com> wrote:

> 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.)

As a brief and friendly re-reminder, a variant subtag can be given two 
or more prefixes only to indicate that the variation in question applies 
to two or more languages.  An example would be the subtag 'baku1926', 
which has 10 prefixes to indicate that the alphabet/orthography was used 
for all 10 of those languages.

It would not be appropriate to give two prefixes to a variant meant to 
denote only one dialect, merely to point out that we disagree about what 
the base language is, or to try to provide perfect linguistic 
derivations.  There is no way any matching engine could use the rules to 
match "sxu-erzgeb" with "vmf-erzgeb".  We must pick one.

Thomas Goldammer <thogol at googlemail dot com> wrote:

> 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).

By "change the tag" I assume you mean deprecate or remove the Prefix 
field "sxu" and add the Prefix field "vmf".  We cannot remove a Prefix 
in this way, as it would destabilize the interpretation of content 
already tagged "sxu-erzgeb".  We can only broaden the existing scope of 
what the Prefix field(s) denote(s) for any given variant.

> So I do prefer vmf, although that's going against Ethnologue.

We aren't required to follow Ethnologue in this regard.

Doug Ewell  *  Thornton, Colorado, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14  ˆ

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