request for subtag for Elfdalian

Caoimhin O Donnaile caoimhin at
Tue Nov 18 12:52:46 CET 2014

Many years ago we had a Government official from Sweden visiting our 
Gaelic college here in Skye.  I proudly showed him my “European Minority 
Languages” webpage:

[Which, I am ashamed to say, has since suffered from link-rot because I 
have neglected it for years.  I should either update it or delete it.]

He got unexpectedly worked up when he saw that I had “Skånsk” as a 
language (because I was working strictly with Ethnologue codes and 
Ethnologue hierarchy), and said that Skånsk was a dialect and not a 

I think it is a shame that the ISO-639 + BCP47 model emphasises so much 
the distinction between language and dialect, and that changing from one 
to the other involves a big recoding exercise.  By contrast, the Glottolog 
approach of atomic codes for languoids allows a more flexible approach, 
with the hierarchy behind the scenes changing over time, and perhaps also 
the language/dialect status, but the atomic code remaining the same.  On 
the other hand, the concept of “language” is useful, and ISO-639 + BCP47 
is what we’ve got, and this list is for discussing practical requests, not 
philosophy ;-)


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