request for subtag for Elfdalian

Kent Karlsson kent.karlsson14 at
Fri Jan 22 19:27:06 CET 2016

Den 2016-01-22 15:40, skrev "John Cowan" <cowan at>:

> Kent Karlsson scripsit:
>> The request for a code for älvdalian, however, is different. It
>> should have been accepted. It is genuinely different from (standard)
>> Swedish to a great extent. True, there are many dialects of Swedish,
>> but this is more than a dialect, älvalian is a separate language,
>> official status as minority language or language continuum in the
>> region of Dalarna notwithstanding.
> I think that's the problem: the Swedish government fears that if ISO
> recognizes Elfdalian as a language by giving it a code, they will be
> forced to treat Elfdalian-speakers as official minorities under the
> various treaties that Sweden is a party to.

I had assumed that the 639-3 RA was independent of any country's
government... But maybe I'm being naïve.

> In any case, if the RA will not act until someone gives them official
> guidance for language vs. dialect (beyond Weinreich's rule), they will
> be waiting until all is blue.  So I think we should create a subtag
> of sv if there is a demand for it, though in pure terms Elfdalian and
> Dalecarlian varieties generally are on one side of a great divide and
> all the other North Germanic languages on the other.

I'm not an expert on Swedish dialects, but I gather that (various)
dalmål (Dalecarlian) aren't sufficiently different from (official and
other dialects of) Swedish that it should be considered a different
language. Only älvdalska qualifies. And that seems supported from
what I can gather from (where, unfortunately,
they don't seem to have sufficiently encouraged people to **really**
speak in their dialect...). As a different language, it should not be
given a variant subtag, but a primary language subtag (five-letter one,
if the RA does not assign a three-letter one).

I'm not sure what "great divide (in two)" you are talking about. "old"
vs. "modern"?

/Kent Karlsson

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