Registration request for Elfdalian

Mats Blakstad mats.gbproject at
Sat Nov 15 11:37:59 CET 2014

1. *Name of requester*: Mats Blakstad
2. *E-mail address of requester*: info @
3. *Record Requested*:

*Type*: variant
*Subtag*: alvda
*Description*: Elfdalian language, or Elfdalian dialect of Swedish
*Prefix*: sv
*Comments*: Elfdalian is spoken in Älvdalen, Dalarna, Sweden. It is by some
people considered as a dialect of Swedish, by others as a language.

4. *Intended meaning of the subtag*:
The Elfdalian language/dialect as spoken in Älvdalen, Dalarna Sweden.

5. *Reference to published description of the language (book or article)*:
Lewis, M. Paul (ed.), 2009. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Sixteenth
edition. Dallas, Texas: SIL International.

Garbacz, Piotr, 2010. Word Order in Övdalian - A Study in Variation and
Change. Lund, Sweden: Lund University, Centre for Languages and Literature.

Helgander, John, 2005. Älvdalsmål i förändring – några reflektioner kring
en fallstudie.

Also see report from conference about Elfdalian arranged by Ulum Dalska and the
Institute for Language and Folklore, with statements from different
linguistics. English summary under each section:


We have a translation of Elfdalian <>
that we want to add to our website, but there doesn't exist any language
tag or variant subtag for Elfdalian. The problem is that some people see
Elfdalian as a language and others sees it as a variant/dialect of Swedish.
I've tried my best to sum up how I understand the issue here, and I've also
sent out an email to the people I've been in touch with so they see this
subtag request and can correct me if misrepresenter something or if they
want to clarify anything. I also want to ask if it is possible to add two
extra weeks, on top of the normal two week process, so these people have a
little bit better time to participate with their views in case they have
something to add.

I've been in touch with both The Swedish Centre for Terminology
<>, Swedish
Standards Institute <>, the Institute for Language and
and the organization that works to maintain Elfdalian in Älvdalen: Ulum
Dalska <>. The Swedish authorities I've been in
contact with reject that Elfdalian is a language and consider it as a
dialect/variant of Swedish, while the Elfdalian people I've been speaking
with, and the organization Ulum Dalska, claims that Elfdalian is a language.

When the suggestions for new ISO 639-3 codes came in 2005 Dalecarlian
<> (a group of dialects
where Övdalian is many times included) got the language code "DLC", but
Swedish authorities requested it to be removed (under is an extract from
the minutes from Swedish Standards Institute they sent me - only in
Swedish). On email from the Institute for Language and Folklore I got
arguments that weather something should be considered as a language or a
dialect must been seen in context with the entire Swedish language
situation and the overall language policy. It is seen as ideology
questionable to reduce the number of dialects to increase the number official
minority in Sweden. To argue in favour of redefining a distinctive dialect
to a language is seen as strike a blow for dialect poverty. To be defined
as a minority language would of course trigger more rights than to have
status as a dialect, more resources to help maintain the language. However,
should this then be done for other dialects too, in order to save them? A
country with a dozen minority languages but no dialects is not considered
very desirable (Arguments from Olle Josephson stated in a government bill
about one united Swedish language policy from 2005
<>). They admit that there are in
fact several Swedish dialects that, from a purely linguistic perspective,
could be seen as different languages, but Elfdalian has been the most
contested language/dialect, where Swedish linguistic have learned the
language, developed spelling <>
rules <> and grammar
<>. However, according to representative
from the Institute for Language and Folklore these are based on Elfdalian
spoken by people born before 1920, and the Elfdalian spoken by younger
people is according to them much more similar to Swedish language, so many
of the distinctive characters of Elfdalian is about to disappear (Garbacz,
p. 33-36
John Helgander, see English summary p. 84
<>). Some
locals have also expressed that the promotion of Elfdalian as a language
has gone too far

The status of Elfdalian as been an issue for the Council of Europe when
monitoring the implementation of European Charter of Regional and Minority
Languages: 2011
And the Swedish government gave their answer
stating that concerning Elfdalian there are no consensus among linguistics,
and people in Sweden normally consider it as being a dialect. They said
that many parents don't speak Elfdalian with their children, and that there
are 12 different variants of Elfdalian, and that making a standard for all
of them could even thwart this diversity in the language, and some locals
have rejected attempts to standardize the language.

However, other linguistics claim that Elfdalian so different from Swedish
that it should be considered as a language within its own rights. This is
also the view of Ulum Dalska and as their representative wrote me "We in
Ulum Dalska believe that Elfdalian is a language, but it's not recognized
by the Swedish government, even if the Council of Europe makes its
pressure. [...] We, as Elfdalian, believes that the Elfdalian is part of our
identity, I can not express myself in another way."

However, after discussing the issue on the board, for the purpose of
registering Elfdalian for online text, they accepted that we register it as
a variant of Swedish, "for the meanwhile".

Therefore I'm submitting request for "alvda" subtag to see how you will
consider this issue.

*Extract from the minutes of the SIS / TK 115's meeting 2005-04-28**

Utdrag ur protokollet från SIS/TK 115:s möte 2005-04-28

Aktuella remisser
DIS 639 del 2 och 3 har just skickats till remisskretsen, och vi ska nu
enas om svenskt ställningstagande. Del 2 röstar vi bara om att godkänna
dess fastställning som svensk standard, men del 3 kan vi kommentera. Vi har
fått en reaktion från vår remisskrets, nämligen från Svenska språknämnden.
Språknämnden har reagerat över att man i 639-3 har infört språkbeteckningar
för skånska, jämtländska, dalmål och därmed jämställt dessa dialekter med
språk. Språknämnden vill därför avstyrka förslaget. Inom TK:n har
Socialstyrelsen konstaterat att olika delar av standarden har olika
definitioner av samma begrepp. Vi beslöt att gå på Språknämndens linje och
rösta ”nej”, men tillägga att rösten omvandlas till ”ja” om våra
kommentarer beaktas. De kommentarer vi vill lägga till är att man bör se
över hur dialekter hanterats i olika språk; mer specifikt vill vi att
koderna för skånska, jämtländska och dalmål tas bort ur standarden.
Dessutom bör terminologiavsnitten i standarden ses över och också
harmoniseras mellan olika delar av standarden. Del 2 bör fastställas som
svensk standard.

Beslut 05-05: TK 115 beslöt godkänna att 639-2 fastställs som svensk

Beslut 05-06: TK 115 beslutar att avstyrka 639-3 men påpeka att kommittén
godkänner dokumentet om våra kommentarer beaktas
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list