Appeal to ISO 639 RA in support of Elfdalian

Mark Davis ☕️ mark at
Tue Mar 1 09:19:00 CET 2016

On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 1:40 PM, Michael Everson <everson at>

> Here is an initial draft. Who will take up the pen and offer more?
> =====
> The group responsible for the IETF language subtags is deeply concerned at
> the reasons given by the 639 RA for rejection of the Elfdalian language.
> There is no question but that its linguistic features are unique in the
> continuum of North Germanic languages. The reasons given for the rejection
> are poor: Two people with job tiles have essentially said “I don’t like it”
> and giving no linguistic argument at all. Rebuttal documents were far more
> convincing.

​The last line is unnecessarily argumentative, and are more likely to annoy
people ​than convince them (denigrating "Two people with job tiles"). Best
to use neutral language, something like the following. (I haven't followed
the details, so this is just a sketch of how the text might look.)

The rebuttal documents (<url1>, <url2>) provide convincing evidence that
​Elfdalian is not merely a dialect, but rather is as distinct from Swedish
as Bokmal is; those have separate language codes. No reasoned responses to
those documents and their evidence was provided by the 639 RA.

> We write to the 639 RA in appeal, and ask you to to rescind your rejection
> immediately (without waiting a year). The provision of a 639-3 subtag is
> urgently required to meet an important user need if the RA will not grant a
> subtag we WILL be forced to approve a language subtag. This will be
> disadvantageous to users of Elfdalian, because it will ultimately lead to
> multiple codes for this language when a formal 639 subtag gets approved.

When making a claim of "urgency" and "important", ​one should be able to
back it up; why is it so urgent? why is it such an important user need?)
And it begs the question that "a formal 639 subtag" is inevitable. And
again, naked threats are more likely get get hackles up.

Perhaps something like:

There is a legitimate user need for a language subtag for
​. Up until now, these have always been supplied by ISO 639. However, there
is the recourse in BCP47 for registration of a language sub​tag that is not
based on ISO 639, and that process has been initiated. It would be far
better for all users of BCP47 and ISO 639 if this step were not taken, but
that depends on early action by the
639 RA
​.​ Thus w
e write to the 639 RA in appeal, and
​strongly request that the language code be added to ISO 639 within the
next X months, to avoid this situation.

> =====
> Michael Everson *
> _______________________________________________
> Ietf-languages mailing list
> Ietf-languages at
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