Appeal to ISO 639 RA in support of Elfdalian

Mats Blakstad mats.gbproject at
Sun Mar 6 12:48:53 CET 2016

2016-03-05 19:44 GMT+01:00 Michael Everson <everson at>:

> ​ Elfdalian is not merely a dialect, but rather is as distinct from
> Swedish as Bokmål is (indeed, as distinct from Swedish as Iceland is);

Bokmål is one of the *written *standards of Norwegian (we don't speak
standarized like in Germany and Sweden, we only use it in written form). If
you ask a Norwegian person if they speak Nynorsk or Bokmål they will find
the question kind of funny as we normally consider it like we speak the
same language; Norwegian, but people use different written standards of
Norwegian; Bokmål and Nynorsk. Normally the west-coast of Norway is
consiered "nynorsk"-area, but in the cities and some other places they
choose to rather use Bokmål. This is because of rural-urban conflicts that
gave roots to the Norwegian language conflict
<>. Each
municipality in Norway can choose themselves what written form they want to
use. Like my own city Kristiansand uses Bokmål, even though the dialect
maybe have more similarities with Nynorsk. The dialect is also influenced
by Danish, which is what Bokmål is constructed from, people sometimes think
about south-norwegians as speaking like "Danish Norwegian". I think the
Norwegian dialect borders are a little bit more complex than the
nynorsk/bokmål division.

I think we should either say "... as distinct from *standard *Swedish as
Bokmål" or "... as distinct from Swedish as *Norwegian*". However. as far
as I know nobody ever did a test about the distanse of Norwegian and
Elfdalian/Övdalian from Swedish. According to Östen Dahl (Professor
Emeritus of General Linguistics, Stockholm University) who measured the
distance from different dialects and languages from Swedish with the help
of Swadesh’ glossary, the lexical distance between Swedish and Elfdalian is
as big as the distance between Swedish and Icelandic. Maybe it is enough to
refer to his work?
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