I do not wish to see "nko" changed from Nkonya - it is already in usage.


The references given to where the names are used is to an ISO character-encoding proposal -- a secondary source. I'd prefer to see a reference to something other than a coding proposal, though I don't see this as a cause to block anything. It just leaves one question open in my mind: that document cites an alternate name, Kangbe (fr: kangbé), and it appears to treat *that* name as the preferred name. It seems at least that the EN/FR names should at least include both forms, and it's unclear to me which should be listed first.


The description of this as a "literary dialect" certainly does raise a question in my mind as to whether this is best considered a variant of something larger, and I think it would be helpful if that were clarified. It's not clear to me if this should really be considered a distinct language alongside other related languages, whether it should be considered a register or dialect of some other language, or whether it should be considered an individual language along with others for which a common macrolanguage is also identified. 


I don't find a single reference to Kangbe in Ethnologue, which I find surprising, unless this variety has evolved only recently. There are references to N'Ko script (spelled Nko in E.) in relation to Eastern Maninkakan (in 14th edition was referred to as Kankan Maninka with ID = MNI), but not to N'ko (or Nko) as a language. I've found a few references to Kangbe language on the Web, about as many that refer to Kangbe as a creole as that equate Kangbe with N'Ko language. E.g, the following from a 2003 draft paper by William Croft (U. of Manchester): 


"Heine (1970) surveys lingua francas and pidgins in sub-Saharan Africa... The vicissitudes of 

the Mali empire starting in the 11th century led to a series of lingua francas: Mandingo (164), 

which split into Malinke (165), Dyula (166) and Bambara (164; see §8.2), and also apparently 

gave rise to the pidginized Kangbe (170-71). Much later, the Wadai empire was founded in the 

17th century in what is now eastern Chad by an Arab leader, but Maba as the language of the 

capital and surrounding area became the lingua franca of the empire (115)."



To summarize my comments:

-          don't change "nko" from Nkonya

-          I'd like to see clarification re the names "Kangbe" and "N'Ko" - which should be listed first?

-          I'd find it helpful to get input from experts in Mandean linguistics to clarify the linguistic / sociolinguistic facts.







From: ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Håvard Hjulstad
Sent: Thursday, March 23, 2006 2:20 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: New ISO 639 proposal - N'Ko - Discussion


Dear JAC members,

Below please find a proposal to encode N'Ko.

As far as I can see, the item is not encoded in ISO 639-3 or the Linguasphere Registry. The N'Ko script has been encoded in ISO 15924. There is clearly an urgent need for encoding in ISO 639.

The concept of a "compromise dialect between a number of other languages" (as stated in the proposal) is quite interesting from a linguistic point of view. Does it mean that N'Ko is some sort of macrolanguage? The use of "literary dialect" may possibly misleadingly suggest that N'Ko isn't an individual language in its own right. I am sure that JAC members would welcome some enlightenment on this point.

As to identifier, "nko" is taken in ISO 639-3 (as the proposer states), while "nqo" is available. Does the JAC wish to change the assignment of nko to Nkonya?

And "the proposer" is of course Michael Everson, who is well versed in our workings.

Discussion please (until 14 April).


******** ORIGINAL PROPOSAL ********

This data was submitted on: Monday, March 6, 2006 at 13:24:37

lang_in_eng = N'Ko

lang_in_fre = n'ko

ref_where_found_1 = <> 

lang_in_vern = n'ko

ref_where_found_2 = <> 

trans_lit = conventional romanization

evidence = There are many more than 50 documents published in N'Ko. There are monthly newspapers, dictionaries, grammars, history books, science books, and so on. The following agencies certainly have more than 50 documents:
Journal culturel de l'Association ICRA-N'KO B.P. 1119 Conakry, Guinea
TEL: 224-46-45-95
ICRA-N'KO - Association pour l'Impulsion et la Coordination des Recherches sur l'Alphabet N'Ko Executive Director: Kobinko Bintou Burama Kaba B.P. 1119 Conakry, Guinea
Tel: (224) 46-30-44, (224) 46-45-95 Fax: (224) 46-27-44
Sanoussy fiman Diané
Director, Central N'ko Bookseller Lérada B.P. 1119 Quartier Coleah Conakry, Guinea
Tel: (224) 46-45-95, (224) 41-36-33
[log in to unmask]
ATP - Association des Tradithérapeutes et Pharmacologues Conakry, Guinea
Tel: (224) 44-38-33

addinfo = N'Ko is a literary dialect written with the N'Ko script. It is a "compromise" dialect between a number of other languages, all of which may have their own codes. The N'Ko script is used to write the N'Ko literary language, which is written by speakers of Bambara, Mandinka, Djula, etc. The N'Ko language is different from each of those.
A code for the N'Ko language is urgently required for CLDR implementation and support. I request the code "nko" though this is assigned to Nkonya in the draft for 639-3. If this cannot be changed, "nqo" is available.

request_addition = ISO 639-2 only

2_code_suggestion =

3_code_suggestion = nko

submit_name = Michael Everson

submit_email = [log in to unmask]

submit_status = I am a software developer working on font and CLDR implementation for N'Ko. I proposed the encoding of the N'Ko script in ISO/IEC 10646. I am working with members of the N'Ko community to help support their efforts to get their language online.