request for subtag for Elfdalian

Peter Constable petercon at
Mon Mar 7 17:09:48 CET 2016


You're missing my points. The point of mentioning literature isn't to demonstrate sufficient status for 639-2, but rather has to do with the level of development of the variety in question. And by "development", I don't mean its evolution as a linguistically distinct entity, but rather it's attaining a particular functional status as a result of literacy, literature development and standardization.

> True, but that does not make it any less of a language.

I wasn't asserting that being in a Swedish context on its own implies it isn't a language. Rather, when evaluating a varieties functional status, being in the context of another language variety that has a dominant social status is relevant.

Again, I'm not asserting that Elfdalian can't be viewed as a distinct language because it doesn't have a certain status. What I am saying is that, if it isn't obvious whether it has a significant _linguistic_ distinctness (and this may not have been obvious to the RA - the proposal doc doesn't provide clear evidence), then one is left evaluating sociolinguistic factors. The proposal describes the sociolinguistic status of a language in _early_ stages of preservation, revival and development (in the sense given above). On its own, that's not a strong case for being a distinct language. So, as I said in an earlier mail, a revised proposal should complement that with evidence that there is significant linguistic distinctness.


-----Original Message-----
From: Kent Karlsson [mailto:kent.karlsson14 at] 
Sent: Monday, March 7, 2016 3:12 AM
To: Peter Constable <petercon at>; Doug Ewell <doug at>; Mats Blakstad <mats.gbproject at>
Cc: ietflang IETF Languages Discussion <ietf-languages at>
Subject: Re: request for subtag for Elfdalian

Den 2016-03-07 05:24, skrev "Peter Constable" <petercon at>:

> The description of language development and use in the Elfdalian 
> proposal makes it sound like there is very limited literature,

Note again that the request was for a "part 3" code, NOT a "part 2" code.

> and that the status is
> one of a language community that lives in the context of a very 
> developed, culturally dominant language

True, but that does not make it any less of a language.

> and that is in very early stages of efforts to develop their language.

Early? It's rather a late stage effort of preservation. The language
(spoken) goes back several hundred years.

> Several attempts to get governmental recognition have not been 
> successful; a concern that reasonably _should_ be in the minds of the 
> RA

No, that _should_ be completely irrelevant for the RA, which should only look at the linguistic arguments.

Aside 1: There are tree codes for Sami languages spoken in Sweden, for Northern Sami, Pite Sami and Lule Sami. Only one "samiska" (no mention of language code) has the status as official (regional) minority language, presumably Northern Sami, since the other two are near extinct.

Aside 2: Many immigrant languages have vastly many more users in Sweden than any of the existing official minority languages. You frequently find information in Arabic, Persian, Somali, etc. None of which has the status as official minority language.

> (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.

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