Appeal to ISO 639 RA in support of Elfdalian

Peter Constable petercon at
Sun Apr 24 19:29:01 CEST 2016


I don’t think anybody here is arguing that Elfdalian should be considered a dialect of Swedish rather than a distinct language. The only debate is about the best way to go about getting the result you seek.

I appreciate that this may be tiresome and frustrating for you. However, some of us feel that concerns regarding Elfdalian cannot outweigh process concerns that may impact many other language communities beyond Elfdalian. I hope you can understand that. The vitality of Elfdalian surely cannot depend on whether it gets coded tomorrow, or two months from now, or twelve months from now.


From: Ietf-languages [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of Mats Blakstad
Sent: Sunday, April 24, 2016 10:14 AM
To: Mark Davis ☕️ <mark at>
Cc: ietflang IETF Languages Discussion <ietf-languages at>
Subject: Re: Appeal to ISO 639 RA in support of Elfdalian

2016-04-24 18:01 GMT+02:00 Mark Davis ☕️ <mark at<mailto:mark at>>:

(* 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.)

I'm suprised that you find many statements unconvincing, could you be more specific about which statements you're talking about? The statement you refer to is of course not a good argument on its own, however; It does not stand on its own. If you want to have any credibility raising questions about wheater Elfdalian is a language or not you need to come up with more than that. The differences between British and American is really like a small peanut compared with the differences between Swedish and Elfdalian. Beyond that; The opinions of the locals is also not irrelevant. That 50% in a survey in Älvdalen consider it as a language is actually quite remarkable all the time that Elfdalian is codified as a Swedish dialect in the public sphere, and most people that live in Älvdalen, and many that took part in the survey, do not themselves speak Elfdalian, many didn't speak about their own language but about other peoples language. Besides, in Älvdalen there's a public culture around the language, it's been standardized and is actively used and maintained by the community, you can of course not ignore such sociolinguistics realities. I find it strange that you request information about linguistic intelligibility when information about that is already present in the document you linked to. If you don't find the evidences in the application convincing, you need to be looking for errors with a magnifier and ignore all the attach linguistic literature.

I start to get really tiered of this debate. I think we can debate this into eternity. I applied for the first subtag for Elfdalian 16 november 2014. After this period there's been an ISO application and now a new subtag application. I worked on this issue 16 months now, non convincing arguments about Elfdalian being a Swedish dialect in this period. It is of course easy to come with critical questions: But why is it always so hard for those who belove Elfdalian is a Swedish dialect to refer to research done or articles? If anyone have those arguments or evidences; please come with them now so we don't need to wait 16 more months. And don't speculate or expose your lack of knowledge; send academic titles, research done, give sources that others can check... thats what we did in our application!
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