request for subtag for Elfdalian

Peter Constable petercon at
Mon Mar 7 05:24:16 CET 2016


The 639 RAs did not grant a distinct language ID for Valencian for precisely the reason you cite.

As for the 639-3 RA's evaluation of Elfdalian, your assessment of the RA's concern and that "people [should] be able to identify and locate content in Elfdalian" and that "any social or political implications [are] someone else's problem" makes it sound like you know of there being a large quantity of literature, as referred to in relation to Jutish. Is that the case?

The description of language development and use in the Elfdalian proposal makes it sound like there is very limited literature, and that the status is one of a language community that lives in the context of a very developed, culturally dominant language and that is in very early stages of efforts to develop their language. Several attempts to get governmental recognition have not been successful; a concern that reasonably _should_ be in the minds of the RA (I have no idea if it was a consideration) is whether this request is an indirect strategy to assert status on the language. Looking at those criteria alone, one might say that the situation is not unlike that of the Valencian request.

I'm not at all saying I think the current decision is the correct one. I'm just surprised at how readily you seem to discount the RA's decision over something that, from what I've seen (granted I have not looked into linguistic evidence), is not an obviously-wrong decision.

But perhaps I'm overlooking something.


-----Original Message-----
From: Doug Ewell [mailto:doug at] 
Sent: Saturday, March 5, 2016 9:45 AM
To: Mats Blakstad <mats.gbproject at>; Peter Constable <petercon at>
Cc: ietflang IETF Languages Discussion <ietf-languages at>
Subject: Re: request for subtag for Elfdalian

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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