At 23:33 +0200 2003-03-31, Havard Hjulstad wrote:
>This question is by no means simple; and I don't have the answer!
>People's languages and the designations for those languages form important
>parts of their identity.

But catering to people who speak a language but who feel that they
MUST call it by a different name in order to let people feel good
about themselves.

If there is no Catalan-Valencian Valencian-Catalan dictionary (as
there is for Catalan and Spanish) than it is clear that the two are
not different languages, that they do not differ appreciably, and
that is all we have to do about it.

>Our linguist also wouldn't be very incorrect if his analysis was
>that Norwegian and Danish are just dialectal variants of Swedish
>(since Swedish has more speakers than the other two). Let us
>designate them "sv-NO" and "sv-DK". But I don't think anyone here
>would buy that perfectly plausible linguistic statement.

Especially because Swedish and Danish belong to East Norse and
Bokmål, Nynorsk, Faroese, and Icelandic belong to West Norse. (Bokmål
has of course had extreme influence by written Danish.)

>As to Valencian: We cannot include Valencian as an "alternate name" for

Why on earth not? The Ethnologue does, and is right to do so.

>As to English or all the Englishes: It is just a "random" occurrence that
>they are all called English.

Nonsense. Even the most extreme English dialects are comprehensible
with good will and patience, give or take a few lexical items.

>We could just as well had five or fifty "English languages". And I
>am sure that speakers of "Amlish" and "Uklish" alike would find it a
>poor solution to have "eng"/"en" as identifier.

Don't put words in people's mouths.

>But the case for Valencian isn't like the English case; it is more
>like oposite.
>As far as I know (I may be wrong!) Moldavian and Romanian are even closer
>from a linguistic point of view. These two languages are two languages
>primarily because the two governments have decided that they are. (I know of
>course the historical differences in writing system.)

They are the same language, and as far as I know the only use for the
word Moldavian is for Romanian written in Soviet Cyrillic (as opposed
to medieval Romanian written in Cyrillic), which probably had a
number of Russian loanwords. See
Michael Everson * * Everson Typography *  *