request for subtag for Elfdalian

Mats Blakstad mats.gbproject at
Mon Feb 29 01:33:37 CET 2016

I didn't say that the name is offensive, I just talked about the awkward
principle that we have to use the English names mostly used today forever.

> That’s not going to happen. Our codes represent the names of languages.

As I understand it the codes doesn't *represent* "names of languages", they
*represent* languages. For the subtag-code itself I guess it should not be
base on the english name, but the autonym.

> We do not define the languages and are not responsible for keeping up
with shifts in terminology, except where something is really wrongly

I disagree, I think both ISO639/IETF are in fact responsible to keep up
with terminology. The names are used on websites and softwares world wide.
Of course we're responsible for keeping up with terms used. I agree we
should changes term if they are offensive, but my impression is that you
don't change language names at all? However, ISO639-3 does sometimes, but
for ISO639-2 it seems a lot (too much) difficult. Not sure what policy IETF

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

When I submitted subtag request for Barlavento the name in the application
form was simply respected.

> Well, “Elfdalian” gets 11,500 hits on Google

I'm not sure if this decision should be based on number of google hits.
Besides, 11 000 hits is not much, it mostly just tell me that this is a
very unknown language.

I'm not arguing against/for any name of Elfdalian/Elvdalian/Övdlaian, I
just think these kinds of decision in general must be done with cultural
sensitivity. And I think the native language speakers, and linguistics,
should be the main source of information for these decisions. Not google

>> 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
> Probably because that is the name you used throughout the request that
they were responding to

That's wrong. I didn't use that name throughout the request. Different
parts of the form in fact uses different names as they are written by
people with different preferences. It is also clearly written in the form
about the disagreement. I even asked the RA later why they chose Övdalian
and they wrote: *We try to use the "insider" name rather than an "outsider"
name as the language reference name*. The problem is that we register a new
language, there is really no clear authority to decide the name, I don't
think you should be very easy on that question.

About letter to RA, I'm not sure if it is worth it, as it is not written
about any appeal process. I guess, this mostly relay on if you really think
this will have very negative implications on data? Could someone explain
more about this? If not, maybe the best think is to just register a primary
language subtag now, and then depreciate it if RA makes another decision
later. The way I read their letter is that it is a temporary rejection,
they "look sympathetically" on the application and are open to approve it
in the future. However, for the mean time, we need to have a code. It is
clearly a language, so it should not be registered as a variant of any
other languages.

2016-02-28 23:43 GMT+01:00 Doug Ewell <doug at>:

> Mats Blakstad 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.
> Probably because that is the name you used throughout the request that
> they were responding to.
> I basically sent them the same arguments, and maybe/probably they will
>> even use Övdalian if a new code is approved in the future?
> That's too much speculation. This whole discussion is based on their
> rejection of the request you submitted. If we conjecture that they will
> approve a new code in the future, we should not be considering registering
> a subtag of any sort on our own.
> 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.
> Wait, I hadn't heard that line of reasoning before. Is "Elfdalian"
> considered offensive or pejorative in some way?
> I think ISO639/IANA
> Two different groups with entirely different processes. (Assuming you mean
> ietf-languages when you say "IANA.")
> really should start a modernization process where names are updated
>> according to the wish of the native speakers.
> For the RA, I suppose that would start with someone requesting "Oriya" be
> renamed to "Odia." At least there is near unanimity on that one. In any
> case, the RA responds (positively or negatively) to requests from users;
> they don't change names unilaterally.
> --
> Doug Ewell | | Thornton, CO 🇺🇸
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