Appeal to ISO 639 RA in support of Elfdalian

Doug Ewell doug at
Mon Apr 25 18:50:05 CEST 2016

Mats Blakstad wrote:

>> The concept of macrolanguage was introduced as a compromise for cases
>> in which something needs to be considered a single language in some
>> contexts
> Swedish is more similar to Norwegian and Danish than it is to
> Elfdalian. I really don't understand in what contexts it would be
> proper to consider it as a single language. To me it seems more like a
> type of encoding that can make people more easily misunderstand the
> relations.

The individual language subtag is all that would matter for Elfdalian.
There would be no explicit cross-reference in the Registry to Swedish,
except for the Macrolanguage field, which most users will ignore anyway.

Compare Peter's suggestion with what was done for Latgalian in 2010 to
distinguish it from Latvian:

And please don't obsess over whether the difference between Elfdalian
and Swedish is greater than the difference between Latgalian and
Latvian. That isn't the point. The point is that today Latgalian has an
alpha-3 code which it did not have before.

>> Just an idea for how to get what Mats, Michael and others want while
>> providing an option for the RA that might also satisfy the Swedish
>> agencies in question.
> Why is it important to satisfy the Swedish governmental agency that
> didn't give the proofs? You wrote earlier that you were concerned
> about other language communities beyond Elfdalian - I guess for any
> language in similar situation it would be a pain to let a governmental
> influence on the process like this.

Apparently it is important to the RA, since they rejected the proposal
solely on foot of the Swedish government agency's position. Peter has
offered a compromise that would allow the Swedish government to save
face while giving you the code element you need.

Please read RFC 5646, section 4.1.1, particularly this passage:

"The 'Macrolanguage' mapping doesn't define what the relationship
between the encompassed language and its macrolanguage is, nor does it
define how languages encompassed by the same macrolanguage are related
to each other.  Two different languages encompassed by the same
macrolanguage may differ from one another more than, say, French and
Spanish do."

I assume your goal is to have a permanent, 3-letter ISO 639-3 code
element that will become a BCP 47 primary language subtag, so that you
and others can identify content in Elfdalian. I assume your goal is NOT
to make any sort of statement about the language or its relationship to
other languages.

Doug Ewell | | Thornton, CO 🇺🇸

More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list