John Cowan cowan at
Wed Jun 16 16:44:53 CEST 2010

Milos Rancic scripsit:

> 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.

Quite so.  "A shprakh iz a dialekt mit an armey un flot", and that's why
we have three language codes and probably should have four.

> * 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.

The same is true of the Scandinavian languages: they form a dialect
continuum (although there are special conventions for speaking Danish
so other people can understand it easily).  However, the languages are
kept apart by their separate standardizations.

> 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.

So they were: the Angles settled Britain from Angeln in Schleswig,
between the River Schlei and the Firth of Flensburg.

John Cowan    cowan at
We want more school houses and less jails; more books and less arsenals;
more learning and less vice; more constant work and less crime; more
leisure and less greed; more justice and less revenge; in fact, more of
the opportunities to cultivate our better natures.  --Samuel Gompers

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