Milos Rancic millosh at
Wed Jun 16 15:19:55 CEST 2010

On Wed, Jun 16, 2010 at 13:30, Leif Halvard Silli
<xn--mlform-iua at> wrote:
> John Cowan, Tue, 15 Jun 2010 15:29:55 -0400:
>> ISO639-3 scripsit:
>>> This arrangement recognizes the Serbo-Croatian diasystem, with three
>>> associated standard forms. "Standard forms" would seem to be the more
>>> appropriate interpretation of [bs / bos] ; [hr / hrv] ; and [sr / srp],
>>> as opposed to "all the varieties of this language as spoken in Bosnia ;
>>> Croatia ; Serbia"
>> Quite so.  Indeed, all four standard languages are derived from the same
>> original spoken form, the East Hercegovinian form of the Neo-Shtokavian
>> dialect of "Our Language".
> If hr/sr/bs are 'Standard forms/languages', while 'sh' is a
> macrolanguage, then I don't see that e.g. 'sh-RS' can or could make
> sense as - or be considered - a synonym of 'sr'.
>>> The standard forms clearly do not collectively encompass all that the
>>> Serbo-Croatian code element encompasses.
>> Indeed not: the Old Shtokavian, Kajkavian, and Chakavian dialects
>> are part of the overall diasystem, but excluded from standardization.
> [ Clarification: Excluded from language standardization - not excluded
> from getting subtag ... ]
>> (Standard Bosnian has some Old Shtokavian features, at least in theory.)
> So what is it that makes 'sh' a 'macrolanguage'? The unregisterd Old
> Shtokavian, Kajkavian, and Chakavian dialects? A macrolanguage that
> covers 4 Standard forms of the same language doesn't make sense, or
> what?
> What happens that day when Kajkavian gets its own subtag? Does it get
> 'sh' as macrolanguage?
> Milos suggested that that the name of the language covered by 'sh'
> should be  "(Neo-)Shtokavian".
> Thus, according to this view, Old Shtokavian, Kajkavian, and Chakavian
> are not covered by 'sh'.
>>> I am interested in this group's thoughts regarding whether the
>>> Serbo-Croatian macrolanguage in Part 3 (though not included in Part 2,
>>> and deprecated in Part 1) is a factor, and in what ways.
>> Certainly if the RA/JAC adds an ISO 639-3 code element for Standard
>> Montenegrin, that code should be added to the macrolanguage.
> Didn't 'sh' refer to the, then, standardized Serbo-Croatian language?
> In other words, wasn't 'sh' comparable to 'de'? Imagine that 'de-CH',
> 'de-DE' and 'de-AT' was "converted" into 'dc', 'dd' and 'dt' - would
> doing such a thing turn 'de' into a macrolanguage?
>> Given the existence of code elements for the other standard forms,
>> I'm willing to say that Montenegrin should be added to all three parts.
>> The local precedent is in this case more important than the general rules
>> for 639.  Given that 639-1 and 639-2 are primarily concerned with written
>> materials, there is no need for them to have code elements corresponding
>> to hbs, but there is no harm in having them.

Treating Serbo-Croatian as a macrolanguage is not quite good solution.
The term is ambiguous, there is no such thing as "Common
Serbo-Croatian language" in the genetic (not prescribed) sense; as
well as the majority of domestic population really don't like that
term because of various reasons.

It is ambiguous term because it may mean two things: (1) standards
based on previous Serbo-Croatian standard, when it includes just
standards based on Neo-Shtokavian language system; and (2) all
language systems from the former Serbo-Croatian diasystem, when it
includes: Neo-Shtokavian, Old-Shtokavian (which is also ambiguous
term; see below), Chakavian and Kaykavian.

If it means (1), then it is much better to call it Neo-Shtokavian or
Shtokavian. And it is hard to say that it is a "macrolanguage", it is
one language system with four varieties, very comparable with Spanish
standard varieties.

If it means (2), it is largely a political construct, which doesn't
have political support anymore. Before WWII, Western Macedonian
dialects were treated as a part of Serbo-Croatian diasystem. Purely
linguistically speaking, it is similarly today with Kaykavian,
Chakavian and Torlakian (as a part of "Old-Shtokavian" dialects).
However, there are no separate ethnic identity among them (the first
two groups are treating themselves as Croats, the second group is
treating themselves as Serbs or Bulgarians, depending on heredity).

A note about Old-Sthokavian dialects: It is a mess constructed to
cover a structuralist theory of then Serbo-Croatian diasystem. While
Neo-Shtokavian dialects are connected and differ along the "jat" line
and some not so big linguistic features, Old-Shtokavian dialects have,
actually, complex story. First of all, "Old Shtokavian" before WWII
meant "Macedonian". Middle Shtokavian meant today's Old and Middle
Shtokavian. Generally, the term "Old-Shtokavian" used here means
"Middle Shtokavian" + Torlakian. Only Torlakian is analytic language
system, while all of the rest are more or less synthetic language
systems. (With some of the old forms preserved, of course.)

Treating Serbo-Croatian diasystem as a macrolanguage is similar
nonsense as treating French or Italian diasystems as macrolanguages.
In other words, it is not possible to come to the
"Proto-Serbo-Croatian language". There are some features common for
West-South Slavic area (Western Macedonian dialects, Torlakian,
Shtokavian, Chakavian, Kaykavian and Slovenian), like c͡ç and ɟ͡ʝ
affricates and their reflexes are (instead of ʃt and ʒd in
Eastern-Sout Slavic area (Bulgarian, Eastern Macedonian). But, a
couple of dialectal glosses don't make one language system a different
language (from the Common Slavic in this case). It is not even
possible to make even comparative grammar of South Slavic languages,
as well as it is not possible to make comparative grammar of French or
Italian languages. As well as it is highly simplistic as almost one
millennium and half on Balkans brought much larger changes, as
analytic processes at the south and east are.

To conclude, all four standards (Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and
Montenegrin) have one language system (paradoxically, with Montenegrin
as the most distant of those) and, linguistically speaking, it is not
a macrolanguage, but a language. However, it is highly unrealistic to
move back them to "sh-RS" etc., which would be the most precise
description of the variants (actually, something like "hbs-srp" would
be the most precise; while, again, it is better to put group
abbreviation based on (Neo-)Shtokavian).

Thus, the most realistic approach is to allow Montenegrins to take
their ISO 639 codes, conclude one part of the history and mistakes and
put on some future agenda to solve this issue more appropriately than
it has been solved during the past two decades.

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