New variant subtags for Serbian language

John Cowan cowan at
Sun Nov 17 23:29:26 CET 2013

Doug Ewell scripsit:

> Milos Rancic <millosh at gmail dot com> wrote:
> >If it's about the standard proposed by Doclean
> >Academy of Sciences and Arts, then it's about the language system the
> >most distant of all other standard languages (it has more phonemes, it
> >isn't neo-Shtokavian).

I think that is a little exaggerated.  I would instead say that it is
neo-Shtokavian influenced by palaeo-Shtokavian, in the same way that
Standard Croatian is neo-Shtokavian influenced by Chakavian and Kajkavian.

> >Thus, I'd leave this issue until Montenegrins make their own decisions.


> >* Language systems spoken on the territories of Serbia, Croatia,
> >Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro (could be called "Serbo-Croatian
> >in wider sense"):
> >** Chakavian (should get ISO 639-3 code, has ISO 639-6 code)
> >** Kaykavian (should get ISO 639-3 code, has ISO 639-6 code)
> >** Torlakian (should get ISO 639-3 code, has ISO 639-6 code)
> >** Shtokavian (should get ISO 639-3 code, has ISO 639-6 code)
> >*** Old Shtokavian dialects
> >**** Zeta-South Sanjak dialect: basis for Doclean Montenegrin.
> >**** ...
> >*** New Shtokavian dialects or neo-Shtokavian; could be called
> >"Serbo-Croatian in narrower sense".
> >**** Ikavian dialects of Western Herzegovina
> >**** Iyekavian dialects of Eastern Herzegovina. This is the basic
> >dialect for all of the standard languages (except Doclean variant of
> >Montenegrin).
> >**** Ekavian dialects of Northern [proper] Serbia and Vojvodina. Those
> >dialects influenced Serbian Ekavian standard, though Serbian Ekavian
> >standard is mostly Ekavian variant of Eastern Herzegovina dialect.

Note that the above is not complete, because it ignores Burgenland
Croatian (spoken by Croats in Austria), whose written standard is
Chakavian with influences from both Kajkavian and Shtokavian, but whose
speakers can be any of Chakavian, Kajkavian, or Shtokavian.

> Breaking out the dialects in this way would be a question for ISO
> 639-3/RA, not this group. But it would basically involve scrapping
> all their existing code elements for Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian,
> etc. and replacing them with these genetic classifications, so I
> wouldn't expect the RA to make that move any time soon.

Actually, it wouldn't.  The existing Serbian, Bosnian, and Croatian
standard languages, which are the main denotations of the language tags,
fit into a single component of the above system.  Currently Ethnologue just
labels any variety spoken by Croats a dialect of Croatian, etc.  So there
are three possibilities:

1) Accept that idea and label Chakavian (e.g.) as hr-chakavsk, and never
mind that it is far more remote from standard hr than hr is from sr.

2) Get the RA to recognize the other components of the continuum as
separate languages.  One argument for this is that many of them were
standard languages in the past.

3) Create variant tags for them attached to the "sh" macrolanguage,
thus clarifying the denotation of "sh" as including the whole continuum.

John Cowan  cowan at
Female celebrity stalker, on a hot morning in Cairo:
"Imagine, Colonel Lawrence, ninety-two already!"
El Auruns's reply:  "Many happy returns of the day!"

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