Word order is one of the possible solutions (but not really a good one).
People will start to sort and search language names by alphabetic order -
and sooner or later we will be faced with a big mess from random usage "out
there" in the real world.
I am convinced that it is unavoidable to introduce certain "quulifiers" for
language names, whenever it is necessary. And I suggest that we do it in a
systematic way... (e.g. by deciding on the potentially most frequent
qualifiers relating to /types of/ status, usage etc.)
Dr. Christian Galinski, Director
Infoterm - International Information Centre for Terminology
Mariahilfer Strasse 123/3, A-1060 Vienna, Austria
T: +43-664-344 6181
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Founded in 1971 by UNESCO to promote and organize
co-operation in the field of terminology worldwide
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From: ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
Sent: Donnerstag, 7. Dezember 2006 00:17
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: (iso639.2308) RE: [Ltru] Alemanic & Swiss German
For all of 639, I think the English spelling should be changed to
"Alemannic" (two 'n's). (Several comments have been made about the "typo in
Ethnologue" -- which is the source for Karen Broome requesting "Alemanic".)
For 639-2 in particular, perhaps reversing the order of English names to
"Swiss German; Alemannic" would be better. The discussion seems to point to
two pertinent points:
- "Alemannisch" is a (Germanic) name used in relation to at least some
dialects of this language
- "Swiss German" / "SchwyzerdŁtch" is strongly associated with speakers in
Thus, I think I'd be reluctant to remove "Alemannic" as an English name
entirely; but reversing the order might decrease the likelihood that an
English speaker gets the impression that this refers to the entire Alemannic
branch of Germanic.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
> Behalf Of Rebecca S. Guenther
> Sent: Wednesday, December 06, 2006 2:33 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: (iso639.2308) RE: [Ltru] Alemanic & Swiss German
> Sorry, all, I wrote my message before I read this one.
> We don't currently have a way to give more information about a
> language name, as Peter suggested. We will need to make links to the
> 639-3 site for more information.
> On Wed, 6 Dec 2006, Peter Constable wrote:
> > The main concern is to clarify that "gsw" is intended to denote a
> > range of varieties
> deemed to be a single language (one that has the name, among others,
> German") and not a broader range of varieties that would be deemed
> multiple languages (including Swabian and Walser as well as Swiss German).
> > The user concern that has been expressed is that "Alemani[c]; Swiss
> suggests that "gsw" can be used to mean two different things:
> > A) the collection of Alemannic languages (Swabian, Swiss
German...), and also
> > B) the individual language Swiss German (whichever name may be used
> to it)
> > Our intention is not that "gsw" can be used with a single meaning
> > which is A, or
> that it can be used with two different meanings A and B. We intend it to
mean just B.
> The only problem is that one of the English names used for B is the
> common English name for A.
> > I think the particular thing that led to this user comment was that,
> > in the machine-
> readable file for 639-3 that contains the code set, Joan had picked
> "Alemanic" as the reference name; he saw that, but apparently did not
> also look at file containing alternate names (at one point that user
> did comment that "listing Alemanic as the only name" is a problem).
> > I think the problem can be resolved by the following:
> > - Having Joan change the reference name to "Swiss German" (or
> "SchwyzerdŁtsch", for that matter). The reference name is never the
> complete story, but to the extent that it gives a first-pass
> impression "Swiss German" doesn't have the ambiguity that "Alemannic"
does, and so I think it may be preferable.
> > - Communicating that the reference name alone may not always be
> to convey to users the intended meaning of the identifier. (Joan could
> add that statement to the page on the 639-3 site where the data files
> can be downloaded.)
> > - Ideally, we would also have info with the gsw entry
> clarifying that the use of "Alemannic" is not intended to imply
> meaning A (above). On the 639-3 site, there are a couple of things
> that help: the entry indicates that it has a scope of individual
> language, not collection; and the more-information page for the entry
> has a link to the Ethnologue data describing the item in greater
> detail. At present, ISO 639-2 doesn't have any means of conveying
additional information on individual entries, though.
> > Peter