request for subtag for Elfdalian

Mats Blakstad mats.gbproject at
Sun Feb 28 18:44:02 CET 2016

I'm going to file a request for a primary subtag for Elfdalian/Övdalian.
What I try to sort out now is what English name that should be used. People
have strong disagreements about this and I try to find out what is the best
way to go. I've tried to sum up what I found out so far, any thoughts?

Both Elfdalian and Övdalian are used in English, some also suggests to use

1. *Elfdalian* is used in official correspondence from Ulum Dalska (the
local language association) and in correspondence between the Council of
Europe and the Swedish Government. However, some would say that this is
more a matter of coincidences and preferences of people involved in these
2. The first international references to the area (Älvdalen) used the
latinization *Elfdalius* so this is probably the origin of the prefix
“Elf”. Moreover, the letter ”f” in the first part of the word has for
centuries been pronounced not as a f-sound, but as a kind of v-sound, which
would make the name sound more like “Elvdalian”, more similar to
3. Some people wonder why something that does not corresponded to the
autonom *övdalsk* or originates from Älvdalen should be used as the English
name. An xenonym based on Swedish can be seen as particularly
inappropriate, since Swedish has been the major threat.
4. *Elfdalian* can also give unfortunate associations to J.R.R. Tolkien's
*Riverdale* by referring to “elfs”. The Swedish name *Älvdalen* in fact
literally means “Riverdale”, but *Älvdalen* was used a long time before
5. Most of the linguistics within the field uses the term *Övdalian*, as
they want to make it clear that they aren't talking about an Elvish
language. More recent linguistic publications, and the major international
publication at the moment, uses the term Övdalian (cf. This choice is motivated
on pp. 5–6 in this publication.
6. *Övdalian* refers to the endonym *övdalsk*, but *Övdalian* is according
to others an un-english name.
7. SiL uses the name *Elfdalian* under list of “Swedish dialects”, but in
the review process of application for ISO 639-3 code they chose to refer to
the language by using *Övdalian*.
8. Ulum Dalska and Älvdalen Municipality have no official opinions about
the preferred English name.

2016-02-19 14:12 GMT+01:00 Michael Everson <everson at>:

> I’ve brought this to the attention of the Älvdalska Facebook group, which
> has 3000+ members.
> Michael Everson *
> _______________________________________________
> Ietf-languages mailing list
> Ietf-languages at
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