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Boundaries are in the eye of the beholder

Hi all

In message  <[log in to unmask]>
[log in to unmask] writes [Re: A question about a language]:

> John Clews:
>
> > The official language of Moldova is now of course Romanian, in Latin
> > script, and I imagine that there may be similar cross-border
> > initiatives to allow for standardization while recognizing potential
> > different local uses, as still exist between the Netherlands and
> > Belgium for standardizing the use of Dutch.

I stand by that description, but it's not worth arguing over a lot:
it occurs to me that it's another of these "where's the boundary"
issues, which will never get satisfactorily resolved.

    Many people will say (not just Michael) that the two are
    essentially the same language ...

> To quote the Moldovan constitution, Article 13: Limba de stat a Republici> i
> Moldova este limba moldoveneasca, functionind pe baza grafiei latine. (I > am
> sure there should be some diacritics here and there.)

... while others, to quote the above will also state that they are
    different.

Actually, the constitution only describes the Moldavian language and
doesn't say how Romanian differs (or doesn't differ) from Moldavian.

> I don't see that neither John Clews nor the JAC has any authority
> over the Moldovan constitution (or over the laws of any region).

Nor did I suggest that JPC or JAC should have any authority beyond
that :-)

This was just an example of a similar thing, which some view
differently.

Others are arguably
Scots and English
Valencian and Catalan,
Bosniak and Croatian, and arguably also
Nynorsk and Bokmal.

In relation to the last, certainly when I was in West Norway last
year in the heart of Nynorsk country, the kommune librarian
considered that Nynorsk was essentially the same as Bokmal, while the
Nynorsk enthusiast I met the next day was understandably incensed
when I told him that (and I have to agree with him). The three
Norwegian - Nynorsk - Bokmal codes don't make it any easier for those
who are less familiar with the languages concerned to deal with it,
and I note that the Library of Congress is only applying the code for
Norwegian, if I have my JAC history correct.

Again, I repeat that boundaries are in the eye of the beholder, and
it's almost inevitable that those most familiar with the "dominant"
one of a pair will tend to see mostly similarities, while those most
familiar with the least "dominant" one of the same pair will tend to
see differences as being more significant.

The above isn't a criticism of any approach, just a statement that
boundaries are difficult, and perhaps we should just acknowledge
that.

Best regards

John Clews

--
John Clews,
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