Appeal to ISO 639 RA in support of Elfdalian

Michael Everson everson at
Sun Apr 24 19:43:56 CEST 2016

On 24 Apr 2016, at 18:21, Peter Constable <petercon at> wrote:

> Attitudes are important in deciding what to consider a distinct language, but can never be a sufficient criterion for asserting a distinction. 

Well, in many cases phonology and morphology will make that 

> An even stronger example than Montenegrin is common attitudes in Mixtec communities, as I heard reported by an expert on Mixtec languages: Apparently, it is common for people in Mixtec villages to consider the variety they speak to be a different language than every other Mixtec village, including then next village a few kilometers away even though linguistic and other sociolinguistic evidence clearly indicates otherwise.

I recently became aware of this because I came into contact with potential translators into Central Nahuatl and into Huautla Mazatec. Of the latter, Ethnologues says the following about mutual intelligibility. It’s quite interesting. 

Dialects: San Mateo, San Miguel, Mazateco de presa alto, Mazateco del Norte. 90% intelligibility of San Jerónimo Tecóatl [maa] (most similar, but less in outlying areas), 60% of Mazatlán, 35% of Jalapa [maj]. Lexical similarity: 94% with San Miguel, 93% with San Mateo, 80% with Soyaltepec, 78% with San Pedro Ixcatlán, 74% with Jalapa de Díaz.

Not really the same sort of thing we have with Elfdalian, though. 

Michael Everson

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