request for subtag for Elfdalian

Doug Ewell doug at
Sat Mar 5 18:45:03 CET 2016

Mats Blakstad wrote:

> I'm sure RA try their best to do a good job, and their halfhearted
> rejection statement show that the decision was not easy. However, I
> think they struggle more with politics than linguistics in this issue.

That seems clear. What worried me most about the rejection was the 
anecdote -- I don't know if it was confirmed or not -- that the reason 
the Swedish government opposes calling Elfdalian a language is that they 
would be required to provide resources to the Elfdalian-speaking 
community. That is perhaps the last reason on earth for the RA to reject 
a request for an identifying code, when criteria such as linguistic 
differences and cultural identity are met. What if the government in 
question had been Russia's, or Iran's, or North Korea's?

Mats quoted the RA:

>> [ ... ] There is also a very long statement on Valencian which was
>> not given a code in 2006.

Not a good comparison at all. Valencian and Catalan are the same 
language, at least as much so as American and British English, or French 
and Canadian French.

> The RA also said that they worry about the implication of giving
> Elfdalian/Övdalian status as a language.

That is very troubling. The implication should be that people will be 
able to identify and locate content in Elfdalian. If there are any 
social or political implications, that is someone else's problem.

I don't want to argue from fallacy. The fact that the arguments given 
thus far against calling Elfdalian a language are poor does not in 
itself prove that Elfdalian is a language. But there need to be better 
arguments for the RA to retain credibility.

Doug Ewell | | Thornton, CO 🇺🇸 

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