Language Variant subtags

Michael Everson everson at
Wed Jul 14 11:05:02 CEST 2010

Discussion is extended another fortnight.

On 5 Jul 2010, at 17:42, Peter Scharf wrote:

> xml:lang="sa-Deva-vedic" = Sanskrit in Devanagari script, in the Vedic dialect.

This seems OK. Everyone is agreeing... vedisch, vedique, Ведический санскрит

> xml:lang="sa-Deva-class" = Sanskrit in Devanagari script, in the Classical dialect.

Wikipedia: According to Tiwari (1955), there were four principal dialects of classical Sanskrit: paścimottarī (Northwestern, also called Northern or Western), madhyadeśī (lit., middle country), pūrvi (Eastern) and dakṣiṇī (Southern, arose in the Classical period). The predecessors of the first three dialects are even attested in Vedic Brāhmaṇas, of which the first one was regarded as the purest (Kauṣītaki Brāhmaṇa, 7.6).

We do have Russian Классический санскрит. 

What about Classical Latin? Classical Irish? Classical Tamil? There are many of these. See 

If such a subtag goes in it seems to me that the definition ought to refer to the many languages that are actually called by this name. I suppose a term like "Classical Esperanto" or "Classical Haitian Creole" would simply be meaningless -- the latter being equivalent to French, I guess ;-)

Peter, is Kāvya a term for Classical Sanskrit?

> xml:lang="sa-Deva-epics" = Sanskrit in Devanagari script, in the Epic dialect.

What about Homeric Greek? I see the Russians have Эпический санскрит. They describe it as "post-Vedic" (поздневедийский язык).

> xml:lang="sa-Deva-buddh" = Sanskrit in Devanagari script, in the Buddhist dialect.

This is the Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit dialect, surely, not the Buddhist dialect.

I'd also like to know what, say, the German and French terms are for these dialects. OK, Vedisch/vedique we can take as read. I see the Wikipedias have Portuguese "Sânscrito híbrido budista" and Russian "Буддийский гибридный санскрит", so either buddh or budhyb might do.

Michael Everson *

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