request for subtag for Elfdalian

Doug Ewell doug at
Sun Feb 28 23:23:38 CET 2016

Kent Karlsson wrote:

> Doug Ewell wrote:
>> "Älvdalian," the Swedish name, is either unnecessary or inappropriate
>> for the reason you gave.
> Firstly, the Swedish name is "älvdalska".

Sorry, of course you are right here. I should have said "derived from 
the Swedish name." Clearly such a name in any Nordic language would not 
end in "-ian".

> Secondly, I have ***NEVER***
> (until you two now) heard/seen anyone claim that "älvdalska" would
> be in any way derogatory or otherwise inappropriate. So please do not
> imply that.

1. The request is to add a primary language subtag, not a variant, on 
the premise that Elfdalian -- or whatever we end up calling it -- is a 
language and not a dialect (of Swedish).

2. A corollary to this premise is the belief that the logic employed by 
ISO 639-3/RA in rejecting the request submitted to them, that Elfdalian 
falls under the "roof" of Swedish, was faulty or misapplied.

3. Despite the wording in Section 3.1.5, the Description fields in the 
Language Subtag Registry are predominantly English-language names. This 
is at least partly because English is the language in which the core 
standards, including ISO 639-3, and their code lists are published.

Given all this, would it not seem that to include the Swedish or 
Swedish-based name of this language as one of its Description fields 
would contradict the underlying premise that it is in fact a language 
and not a dialect of Swedish?

> I would guess that actually, the most commonly used name for this
> language is "älvdalska", even in Älvdalen. (This list excepted.)

Google shows:

20,200 hits for "älvdalska" (pure Swedish)
11,600 hits for "Elfdalian" (English)
2,590 hits for "Övdalian" (What's-Its-Name/English hybrid)
1,520 hits for "övdalską" (pure What's-Its-Name)
    97 hits for "Älvdalian" (Swedish/English hybrid)

So your guess is confirmed. It's likely also true that "español" is the 
most commonly used name for Spanish, and "français" for French, and 
"nihongo" for Japanese, and "pǔtōnghuà" for Standard (Mandarin) Chinese. 
None of these appear as Description fields in the Registry for those 
languages, because of item 3 above.

Doug Ewell | | Thornton, CO 🇺🇸 

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