Milos Rancic millosh at
Wed Jun 16 11:12:22 CEST 2010

On Wed, Jun 16, 2010 at 05:32, CE Whitehead <cewcathar at> wrote:
> I personally think that the decision to deprecate these three codes ( [sr],
> [hr], [bs] is thorny coming from outsiders to the region.

True. Although I am not outsider, my position that things should be
solved linguistically, not politically is not the part of majority.
People from the region, especially from Croatia and at the less extent
those from Serbia -- would storm ISO if they wake up and see that hr
and sr are deprecated codes. In other words, while I would like to see
that, I don't think that it is a realistic option. The right time for
thinking about that was 15-20 years ago.

> We have other relatively slightly differentiated languages encoded as
> separate languages now.
> (I have limited knowledge of Iranian Persian but notwithstanding I checked
> out a youtube video for learning Dari [Afghan Persian] and what I saw was
> what I already knew in Iranian Persian . . . of course the lessons did not
> go far enough for me to be sure there were no real differences -- and
> there are differences I am sure that I missed as someone who probably did
> not get the accent quite right  but I just can't say which group of
> languages [the Persian group or the Serbo-Croatian group] is more or less
> differentiated than the other.
> Thus, it's political to me at this point whichever way we go in any case.  I
> hope this makes sense.)

It is hard to explain how bizarre are differences between Serbian,
Croatian and Bosnian to an outsider. But, I'll try :)

* Differences between *all* Slavic languages are smaller that
differences between the German (not Germanic!) languages. One
Slovenian and one Russian are able to understand each other by talking
slowly and explaining particular terms from time to time.
* All of the standard languages -- Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and
Montenegrin -- are based on a single language system (Neo-Shtokavian)
inside of the South Slavic group.
* Distances between standards and dialects are significant just in the
cases of Chakavian and Torlakian. (Kaykavian is mostly assimilated
into the standard Croatian, as well as Chakavian is inside of that
process. Torlakian is a living language system, still.)

At the other side, at many places in the world, distances are much
higher than in South Slavic region. The situation could be easily so
different that we are talking about a distance comparable to Slovenian
and Polish.

You should be careful about the first lessons. For example, my first
lessons of German were so close to English, that someone could say
that those two languages are spoken by two neighboring ethnicities.

I was talking about Farsi-Dari differences with Persian Wikipedians.
They told to me that they can understand each other, but that
differences are obvious: for text written in Dari it can't be said
that it is written in Farsi and vice-versa. Probably, distance between
Lower and Uppoer Sorbian is comparable to the distance between Farsi
and Dari.

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