N'Ko discussion part 2

Michael Everson <[log in to unmask]>
Sent by: ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee <[log in to unmask]>

03/24/2006 06:07 AM
Please respond to
ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee <[log in to unmask]>

[log in to unmask]
Re: New ISO 639 proposal - N'Ko - Discussion

At 23:20 +0100 2006-03-23, Håvard  Hjulstad wrote:

>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?

No. It's a literary language. Imagine that there
were a Runic orthography that people who spoke
Bokmål, Nynorsk, Danish, and Swedish all used. Or
just imagine English. Many English-speakers'
spoken language is very far indeed from the
written standard. (A favourite example is the
word "pedal" as pronounced by an American, which
rhymes perfectly with the word "pearl" as
pronounced by a Scot.)

>The use of "literary dialect" may possibly
>misleadingly suggest that N'Ko isn't an
>individual language in its own right.

People speak Bambara and Mandinka and Djula.
Those languages may be written (in Latin for
instance), but N'Ko is also a language and it
differs from them. It's probably originally a
"trade dialect", that is, a compromise that
people speaking those languages made for mutual
intelligibility. Now, however, it has its own
script and orthography, dictionaries and such.
It's a entity in its own right, distinct from
Bambara and Mandinka and Djula and the other
languages in the family.
Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com