request for subtag for Elfdalian

Michael Everson everson at
Sun Feb 28 23:10:00 CET 2016

On 28 Feb 2016, at 21:49, Mats Blakstad <mats.gbproject at> wrote:

> Not sure about the relevance of "Elfdalian" being used in the Ethnologue when refering to it as a Swedish dialect; In the review process the RA used Övdalian. I basically sent them the same arguments, and maybe/probably they will even use Övdalian if a new code is approved in the future?

We call French French, not français. 

Well, “Elfdalian” gets 11,500 hits on Google (I know, the stats are not reliable, but somewhat indicative), while “Elvdalian” gets 29. A very few people have used Alvdalian. 

If Älvdalian or Ölvdalian or Äldvalish or Ölvdalish were used, A and O would quickly replace Ä and Ö. I’m sure that’s not better. 

> I also strongly disagree about the principle that English names should not be changed; Words and names change all the time. We don't say 'nigger' or 'retarded' anymore, because the terms can be offensive for those we refer to.

Whatever the merits of this argument, clearly “Elfdalian” is not offending people very much in English. They use it at after all.

> To just use a name without considering how those we refer to think about it just because "We've always used that term in English" seem to me very arrogant. Also the English name is not trivial as translations in other languages will usually be inspired by the name used in English. I think ISO639/IANA really should start a modernization process where names are updated according to the wish of the native speakers.

That’s not going to happen. Our codes represent the names of languages. We do not define the languages and are not responsible for keeping up with shifts in terminology, except where something is really wrongly offensive. (Not “I prefer älv or ölv to elf”). 

> Beyond that, I don't have any opinion about Elfdalian/Elvdalian/Övdalian, and to me it seems like the language users have different opinions.

Yes, and it appears that Elfdalian is relatively current, and I guess we’ll end up using it. 

Michael Everson *

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