Variant subtag proposal: Høgnorsk variety of Norwegian

John Cowan cowan at
Sat Jan 2 01:40:48 CET 2010

Kent Karlsson scripsit:

> And there are no macrolanguages, only macrolanguage codes/(primary)
> subtags (and possibly names). "Macrolanguage" is not a linguistic term;
> it was introduced by ISO 639-3 in order to deal with certain language
> *coding* issues.

Granted that the term's history is as you say, nevertheless it represents
a certain sociolinguistic reality.

> (Personally, I think it probably would have better to just classify them
> as collection codes; a preexisting class of codes.)

If people asked "What language do you speak?" always replied "Mandarin"
or "Cantonese" or whatever, that would be fair, but they often don't;
they reply "Chinese".  That is a sociolinguistic fact.

> But disregarding that, I find your reasoning here nonsensical. You are
> right that "no" is heritage (but an ISO 639 coding mistake heritage),
> but that in no way implies that "no-hognorsk" should in any way be
> recommended. "nn-hognorsk" does just fine, only one prefix to worry about
> for "hognorsk". (Well, "nn-NO-hognorsk", "nn-Latn-CN-hognorsk", etc. would
> also not be formally disrecommended, but that is beside my point.)

There are no disrecommendations, only recommendations.  The question
is not whether no-hognorsk is correct or incorrect, meaningful or
meaningless, but whether we will go on record as recommending it.

The first thing you learn in a lawin' family    John Cowan
is that there ain't no definite answers         cowan at
to anything.  --Calpurnia in To Kill A Mockingbird

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