Variant subtag proposal: Høgnorsk variety of Norwegian

Leif Halvard Silli xn--mlform-iua at
Fri Jan 1 22:50:36 CET 2010

Michael Everson, Fri, 1 Jan 2010 20:50:41 +0000:
> 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.

Three genders are allowed in Bokmål too. But little used - the more 
"neutral" the text wants to be, the less it tends tobe used. Although, 
lately, at least one Oslo paper has tried to revive the use somewhat. 
So the picture is, I guess, blurred that way as well. Until very 
recently, Bokmål also permitted a-infitive and many other typical 
Nynorsk  marks. This was as a result of an official language 
unification policy known as Samnorsk (Common-Norwegian, or perhaps 
better Co-Norwegian). In the tramway/underground museum near by here, a 
locomotive bears the sign 'Sognsvatn' to the West parts of Oslo (the 
West is the quint-essential conservative Bokmål part of Oslo) - where 
'vatn' is today considered a strong Nynorsk marked form of what you 
know from Danish as 'vann' (water).

>> 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.

Just ask an average Norwegian about about East-Scandinavian and 
West-Scandinvian, and he will say "bullshit". I also think some 
linguists challenge the East-Scandinavian/West-Scandianian concept.

>> 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.
> Vital?

Well, we can always do what we want anyway, of course. But it is of 
course more vital that we can legitimately write 'no-hognorsk' than it 
is to be able to write 'gem-hognorsk'. There are practical needs - that 
I have mentioned. And there is the blurred linguistic situation.

> 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.

I suppose 'no' is a linguistic tag as well.

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

That's a very theoretical point of view. As a potential user of 
'hognorsk' I find it hard to to accept the comparison.

>> 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.

If /you/ think 'no' doesn't fit into the scheme, then I guess you 
should try to immobilize it. Limiting 'hognorsk' to 'nn' will not have 
such an effect.

>> 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".

Thinking = activism?  All Norwegians know that Nynorsk is Norwegian. 
Some deny it though, especially practically. But denial is on both 

>> 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.

I take exception to the view that 'no-hognorsk' is not according to 
map. It is more _accurate_ to use 'nn' than 'no', if the text is 
Nynorsk. But still correct to use 'no'. The same applies to the 
Høgnorsk variant of Nynorsk - nn-hognorsk is more accurate, but 
no-hognorsk still has a high degree of accuracy.
leif halvard silli

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