Registration request for new subtag

Michael Everson everson at
Sat Nov 16 11:55:19 CET 2013

On 16 Nov 2013, at 00:16, Peter Constable <petercon at> wrote:

> Not being an expert in these varieties, I have no strong reason to believe that "dialect" wouldn't be correct. But there have been statements that do call this into question:
> - The registration request has the statement, "There is low mutual intelligibility between the dialects.”

You get that with Yorkshire or inner city Dublin vs dialects in the American south. 

> - Mats indicated that content will have to be translated separately for two varieties. 
> - Ethnologue indicates that there is a standard orthography for Kabuverdianu. That suggests that the distinctions in question are not orthographic alone, and that at least one or the other may not be the same language as that assumed in "standard" literature.

The examples I have seen suggest dialect rather than language. 

> Those statements, make me a bit inclined to take as the null hypothesis that these are separate languages and ask for explanation as to why that should not be the case. I'm reminded that just a few years ago the ISO 639 JAC had to deal with splitting off Latgalian from Latvian. This was actually non-trivial.

Latgalian is hugely different from Latvian. (I am preparing a Latgalian Alice.)

> If this current case later becomes like the Latgalian case, with a request to split off another language from Kabuverdianu, then having that happen some years down the road after variant subtags are registered will make things far more complicated than figuring it out right from the outset. I realize that Mats may be looking to get a tag now, but doing it wrong might result in much greater costs later.

I might even agree with you, if the ISO 639-3 RA were in any way responsive to requests in a timely fashion. But they’re not. And when the issue of responsiveness to requests for new elements (rather than changes to old ones) has been raised, no answer has been given. 

> Hence the questions I'm raising. I'm not completely satisfied simply because you're satisfied. I think it prudent to get more clarification on this situation before we rush in headlong.

Well, perhaps Mats can supply more clarification.

Michael Everson *

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