Appeal to ISO 639 RA in support of Elfdalian

Peter Constable petercon at
Tue Mar 1 17:50:44 CET 2016

The “roof” relationship is at the heart of the matter of the sociolinguistic context that the RA appears to be weighing. Making the case that the linguistic and sociolinguistic facts outweigh the sociolinguistic context seems the right line of argumentation.

I’ll use Thai varieties as a comparison. A well-known characteristic of Central Thai is that it has many different registers that have significant linguistic differences from one another. Also, in terms of colloquial speech, there are definitely differences as you travel any direction away from the lower Chao Phraya basin (the vicinity of Bangkok). Yet all of these are under the “roof” of Standard Thai, which has such a dominant sociolinguistic impact that all of these varieties will appropriately be viewed as “dialects” of Standard Thai. Nevertheless, there come points when linguistic realities become dominant factors. When you get into the northern, southern or northeastern provinces, Standard Thai still has a dominant sociolinguistic impact, yet local vernaculars become linguistically — and sociolinguistically (code switching) — distinct enough that they are appropriately deemed distinct languages.

I’m guessing that there are analogies for Elfdalian: that you can’t dispute that Swedish has a dominant, sociolinguistic impact even in regions where Elfdalian is spoken in terms of its role in education, inter-regional commerce and national media; yet that Elfdalian is linguistically distinct enough and has its own sociolinguistic status within the community, the combination giving enough viability that it will not be absorbed by Swedish in all communication roles, and should not be deemed that way.


From: Ietf-languages [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of Mats Blakstad
Sent: Tuesday, March 1, 2016 12:21 AM
To: John Cowan <cowan at>
Cc: ietflang IETF Languages Discussion <ietf-languages at>
Subject: Re: Appeal to ISO 639 RA in support of Elfdalian

I also agree with Arthur's proposal. The rest looks good.
I think it can be good to keep it short and simple; They've already heard the arguments, not sure if it is worth writing more unless we have something new to add.
However it could maybe be in idea so say something about "under the roof of Sweden"-argument as this seem so central. I guess nobody means that it *is not* under the roof of Swedish; but it's really not a good argument against giving Elfdalian status as a language.

Would also be great if we could clarify how long time we'll wait for their answer before we continue with the language subtag.

2016-03-01 1:11 GMT+01:00 John Cowan <cowan at<mailto:cowan at>>:
Arthur Reutenauer scripsit:

>   I also wonder if we want to address the under-the-roof-of-Swedish
> argument head-on.

I don't think so, because Elfdalian *is* under the Swedish roof;
the trouble is that it's too different from Swedish.

John Cowan        cowan at<mailto:cowan at>
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