Re: Variant subtag proposal: Høgnorsk variety of Norwegian

Michael Everson everson at
Fri Jan 1 21:50:41 CET 2010

On 1 Jan 2010, at 20:27, Thorgeir Holm wrote:

>> It is clear that høgnorsk is in some sense
>> Indo-European
>> Germanic
>> North-Germanic
>> East-Scandinavian
>> Norwegian
>> Nynorsk
>> Høgnorsk
> It's West-Scandinavian. And that's not just a nitpicking remark, but  
> an essential point,

It was a typo. I know that Nynorsk is West Scandinavian. Three  
genders, some strong verbs, and so on. My mistake writing East instead  
of West.

> because 'nn' is West-Scandinavian and 'nb' East-Scandinavian,  
> meaning that the macro 'no' doesn't fit into this scheme at all!

Splendid. Then nn-hognorsk is the appropriate way to do this.

> The macro 'no' is simply a political creation, and people fill it  
> with whatever ideas they have about this concept.

>> It should be sub-tagged nn-hognorsk and not further up the tree.
>> no-hognorsk is in some sense valid, but no less valid than gem- 
>> hognorsk
> It is vital that 'no-hognorsk' be valid, the practical circumstances  
> in
> Norwegian language tagging being as chaotic as they are.


We have nb and nn. You want to be able to tag a particular kind of nn.

Linguistically, that is what I think the tag hognorsk should attach to.

As I said, gem-hognorsk is just as valid as no-hognorsk might be, but  
neither seems to me to be necessary.

> I guess the motivation for the expressed wish to explicitly state  
> 'no' as a valid prefix is grounded in this fact, and in the fear  
> that what is not explicitly expressed, might one day no longer be  
> valid.

I don't follow this at all. However, as you think that no doesn't fit  
into the scheme, and as høgnorsk is a variety of nynorsk, I'm  
convinced that nn- is all that is necessary.

> Thinking exclusively normative, Michael Everson et al. are of course  
> right that 'hognorsk' should be tagged directly under 'nn'. The  
> problem is that the macro 'no' doesn't follow this normative thinking,

The "macro 'no'" doesn't "follow any thinking" at all. People do. And  
anyone who is able to recognize høgnorsk will know that it is a  
variety of nynorsk. Otherwise they will just look for ø's and k's and  
think "not Danish, must be Norwegian".

> and so there is a wish to follow the terrain and not the map.

I don't follow this metaphor either. And don't think that metaphors  
are really very helpful here.

Michael Everson *

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