Appeal to ISO 639 RA in support of Elfdalian

Mark Davis ☕️ mark at
Sun Apr 24 18:01:37 CEST 2016

Actually several people have. It is difficult to know what your final draft
is, but I've had several comments on the wording in the Wed, Apr 20, 2016
at 11:56 AM draft.

The group responsible for the IETF language subtags is deeply concerned
The registrar responsible
The registrar and some of the group responsible

The reason for this is that the group as a whole is not all behind the text
of that message. I am not against an appeal, but as I've said find the tone
of the letter counterproductive, and cannot thus support it. It appears
also that Peter is not supportive.

It *does* appear to me from
that on balance one would consider Elfdalian to be a separate language
rather than a dialect of Swedish.*

However, the RA appears to have tried to consider the issue objectively,
and certainly left room for appeal. They wrote:

"The request to create the code [ovd] Övdalian is rejected at this point.
However, the Registration Authority is sympathetic to the request and notes
that the outcome of a future request might be different following further
clarification of decision-making principles in the standard that are
anticipated to come out of the current work item to produce a revision of
the text of the standard."

I'm afraid that a heavy-handed approach will result in, if anything, the
inverse of the desired solution.


(* But there are many statements used as evidence that are very
unconvincing. For example, "According to Melerska (2011) 50% of the
parents, ... consider Elfdalian to be an independent language." There are
many cases where people consider their dialect to be a language, as a
matter of (understandable) pride. That does not establish that it is: the
distinction between language and dialect need to be based on the objective
measure of intelligibility, not whether or not speakers "think of it" as a
language. With all due respect to Mencken, "American" is not a language,
for example; it is one of many varieties of English.)


On Sun, Apr 24, 2016 at 4:14 PM, Michael Everson <everson at>

> On 23 Apr 2016, at 18:59, Shawn Steele <Shawn.Steele at> wrote:
> > Substantiation?  I'm not sure how you substantiate a hypothetical.
> With some sort of hypothetical crystal-ball example.
> > Additionally, some have expressed concern that the tone of poorly chosen
> letter could be off-putting to them, which could cause them to become more
> defensive of their position, &/or create a feeling of ill-will that could
> make it harder to work with them in the future.
> I don’t find the letter to be particularly belligerent, just realistic. No
> one who has expressed concern has offered alternative text, and those who
> have favoured the letter have contributed to the text.
> Michael
> _______________________________________________
> Ietf-languages mailing list
> Ietf-languages at
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