Lower Saxon as a group

Gerard Meijssen GerardM at wiktionaryz.org
Tue Feb 24 14:48:10 CET 2009

I have applied for a code under the ISO-639-5 for what Ethnologues indicates
as "Low Saxon.

When they allow my reasonable request, the resulting code will be of a same
value as any other ISO-639-5 code. The point as far as I am concerned that
this code has an intended practical use.  When you indicate that there is a
reversion of accepting "groups", you will agree with me that a language is
often a group.. a group of dialects. It has been often said that the
difference between a language and a dialect is an army / a navy...

Language recognition do not imply that there is to be one orthography or
that there is one dominant way of expressing the language. In the case of
Lower Saxon, there is a difference in the way the German and the Dutch
linguistic entities were treated. The question that should be answered in my
opinion is: does this request serve a practical purpose and is the grouping
sound. If they are, any aversion against this request prevents the
functioning of this IETF process.

These questions can already be answered and in my opinion they do serve a
purpose and the grouping is sound.

2009/2/24 Doug Ewell <doug at ewellic.org>

> Gerard Meijssen <GerardM at wiktionaryz dot org> wrote:
> > In Ethnologue the Dutch variations of "Low Saxon" have been split into
> > separate languages while the German entities are left as dialects. The
> > WMF Low Saxon community wants to start a Wikisource that will be
> > inclusive of both German and Dutch Low Saxon texts. In my
> > appreciation, we need an overarching group for the whole of Low Saxon.
> > Now as we are supporting groups in ISO-639-5, it seems reasonable to
> > ask for this,
> I see at least four possibilities:
> 1. There is no ISO 639-5 code element finer-grained than 'gmw' for "West
> Germanic languages" to meet your needs.  Use it, either now or after the
> Registry is revised to include it, with the understanding that for your
> purposes it covers only a subset of the West Germanic languages.
> 2. Request a new code element from the ISO 639-5/RA.
> 3. Attempt to register a language subtag here to represent the Low Saxon
> group.  This requires that you go through (2) first, and it could be
> problematic, because not only have we never registered a language subtag
> (and have a fairly strong aversion to doing so), but I'm not sure RFC
> 4646 allows for a language subtag to be registered for a group.
> 4. Use a private-use tag such as "x-lowsaxon".
> Any of these options is better than using a tag that looks official, but
> was invented outside this process, which several of the Wikipedias are
> still doing.
> --
> Doug Ewell  *  Thornton, Colorado, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14
> http://www.ewellic.org
> http://www1.ietf.org/html.charters/ltru-charter.html
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