Some other feedback, this from Gunter Schaarschmidt:
----- Forwarded by Peter Constable/IntlAdmin/WCT on 07/25/2003 03:34 PM
net.net> <[log in to unmask]>
Re: East Sorbian
on 7/24/03 2:27 PM, [log in to unmask] at [log in to unmask]
>> You are wondering about the status of East Sorbian (Muskau and
>> The consensus among Sorabists seems to be that the Muskau dialect
>> by Shcherba) and the Schleife dialect (described by Schroeder) are Lower
>> Sorbian dialects with an admixture of Upper Sorbian, i.e., they are
>> transitional dialects.
> Thanks for that input. The decision to be made -- somewhat arbitrarily
> perhaps -- is whether for information technology purposes these should be
> considered a distinct language variety -- arbitrary in the sense that
> forced to draw lines where they aren't objectively motivated. But, if
> transitional dialects are not currently developed in any way that might
> give cause for separate data processing -- e.g. no separate literature or
> spelling conventions -- then perhaps that points us to the correct answer
> for now: consider them as simply dialects and recognise only two distinct
> language varieties, Upper and Lower Sorbian.
> Would that judgment seem appropriate to you?
Yes, the existence of two written norms is the main criterion why Lower and
Upper Sorbian are considered to be two languages. The debate whether to do
so or not raged well into the late fifties, and even today there are some
adherents of a "diasystem" as a way to avoid the whole issue. By the way,
the Muskau dialect is extinct.
I have two books out on Sorbian (and quite a few articles):
The Phonological History of the Upper and Lower Sorbian Languages
(Heidelberg: Winter, 1977).
Upper Sorbian (Languages of the World/Materials, 160). Munich: LINCOM,