Criteria for languages?

John Cowan cowan at
Fri Dec 4 22:47:19 CET 2009

Randy Presuhn scripsit:

> > A strict approach would be that if Latgalian is indeed a different language
> > from (mutually incomprehensible with) Latvian, then it was incorrect to tag
> > any Latgalian with "lav", and we just encode a new language and move on.
> > Same for Walliserdeutsch.
> Precisely.  The question is just how mutually (in)comprehensible the are,
> and regardless of one's faith in reasonable people, that leaves a lot
> of wiggle room.

In cases of a minority language with Abstand status, the usual tests for
mutual intelligibility often break down.  For example, every Welsh-speaker
(in Wales, at least) above the age of five speaks and understands English,
but that does not mean that Welsh and English are mutually intelligible,
even in one direction.

If I read "upcoming" in [the newspaper]              John Cowan
once more, I will be downcoming            
and somebody will be outgoing.                       cowan at

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