The steps you propose appear to be in keeping with the proposal pending 
now for ISO 639-3 
( which 
recommends changing the scope of [est] to macrolanguage in Part 3, and 
establishing two new code elements), but I want to be sure we are not 
unintentionally working at cross-purposes. Does it seem to you also that 
they are compatible?

Joan Spanne
ISO 639-3/RA
SIL International
7500 W Camp Wisdom Rd
Dallas, TX 75236
[log in to unmask]

Lucas Graves <[log in to unmask]> 
Sent by: ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee <[log in to unmask]>
2008-11-26 08:44 AM
Please respond to
ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee <[log in to unmask]>

[log in to unmask]

Re: Vőro request revisited (again)

Rebecca reminded me yesterday that Vőro is still up in the air.  The 
Library of Congress has only a handful of items in or about Vőro.  Right 
now the MARC code list for languages has [est] as the code for Estonian 
and the collective code for Setu.  I plan to establish the subject heading 
Vőro dialect and to let [est] serve as the collective code for Karksi, 
Mulgi, Setu, and Vőro.
Lucas Graves ([log in to unmask])
Cooperative Cataloging Program Specialist
Data Integrity Section
Policy and Standards Division
Library of Congress
Washington, DC 20540
(Nothing in this message is to be taken as a statement of official LC 
policy, etc.)

>>> Joan Spanne <[log in to unmask]> 9/3/2008 9:14 PM >>>

I support option 3 more strongly than option 2. 

Peter's recalling of the history with fy/fry is relevant, and it continues 
to circulate as a complaint in the IETF-languages community up to the 
present. Continuing to call [est] simply Estonian and not treating it as a 
macrolanguage will perpetuate confusion regarding the inclusion of Vőro or 
other southern varieties within it. Changing its name is, I think, a more 
significant "narrowing" of [est] than the parallel situation with Khasi 
and Lyngngam. In that precedent setting case, the "chip" Lyngngam had no 
established written form, very little or no published corpus in the 
world's libraries, and is only now getting a consistent orthography. In 
contrast, Vőro and Setu documents exist in decent numbers, likely in 
numerous libraries, and harken back to a history wherein their 
historically influencial sister dialect, Tartu, is represented by many 
more documents. 

I also think that Estonian fits the desired application of macrolanguage 
in terms of the sociolinguistic situation and relationship between 
Standard Estonian and Vőro, in that, within the larger world of languages, 
Estonians would identify as speaking "Estonian", and would tend to 
differentiate only when considering a context of one Estonian to another 
(I am referring to "the man on the street" not to promoters of Vőro as a 
repressed minority language community). The government is supporting its 
development (e.g., as a subject in school, for use in media, etc.), but 
not as an official language for use in any major domain (e.g., not the 
language of instruction in other subjects in schools), but views it as 
being within the larger Estonian sphere.  See Language Policy in Estonia 
and On the Identity of the Members of the Vőru Society in Tallinn 

If Vőro had already existed in the draft ISO 639-3 code set, along with a 
Northern Estonian / Standard Estonian (not saying those are equivalent, 
but not yet deciding which would be best), and we had to reconcile them 
now with ISO 639-2 [est], what would be do? 
Would we decide on a macrolanguage scope for [est] or would we conclude 
that [est] "really meant" Northern Estonian / Standard Estonian, despite 
what the MARC code list of says? 

What will the MARC code list of languages say in the future? 

I am also still waiting for some Baltic-Finnic languages scholar to come 
along and say, "Don't be silly, ISO 639-3, Vőro is just a dialect of 
Estonian, sufficiently intelligible with a little effort." That is what 
the review process is supposed to be about. This "pre-processing" is to 
know how the whole thing ought to be framed to undergo that review. 


Peter Constable <[log in to unmask]> 
Sent by: ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee <[log in to unmask]> 
2008-09-03 09:42 AM 

Please respond to
ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee <[log in to unmask]>

[log in to unmask] 

Re: Vőro request revisited (again)

I'd support either option 2 or option 3, though I think we need to be very 
cautious about option 2: this is similar to what we did in the case of 
fy/fry (clarified by changing name from "Frisian" to "Western Frisian"), 
and there have been a few in the IETF-languages community that have 
complained about that.

Whatever change we make, I think we need to make sure that the names we 
record reasonably reflect the intended semantic. So, if we adopt option 2, 
that would mean changing the name for et/est from "Estonian" to "Standard 
Estonian" or "Estonian (northern varieties)" or something else in that 
vein. And that change should be done in part 2 as well as part 3, even if 
an ID for Vöro isn't added to part 2.


-----Original Message-----
From: ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf 
Of Patton,Glenn
Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2008 12:55 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Vőro request revisited (again)

I would agree with Rebecca.


-----Original Message-----
From: ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf 
Of Rebecca S. Guenther
Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2008 2:42 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ISOJAC] Vőro request revisited (again)

I don't think that we have proven that Voro has satisfied the criteria for
639-2 (and Joan is not proposing that here), and we put it on hold until
requests were considered for 639-3 when we first got the request.

I would favor the 2nd alternative, to assign Voro a code element in 639-3
and leave Estonian as is for now to mean classic Estonian. I think it is
less disruptive for users.


On Wed, 27 Aug 2008, Joan Spanne wrote:

> Hello JAC,
> Time to revisit the Vőro proposal yet again. I am going to attempt a
> summary of the case (this is not a history of the request).
> Sulev Iva has submitted a request for Vőro to be separated from 
> He has done so both to the ISO 639-2 RA (way back in 2005), and
> subsequently to the ISO 639-3 RA in 2008 (when I received the forms).
> I sent a memo on May 29 to the JAC, some which I will paraphrase:
> It is fairly clear that this does not meet the criteria for "chipping 
> because (1) there are a reasonable number of works  identified as being 
> Vőro (or Vőru or Vőrumaa, just different spelling) or Setu that use 
> in the 008/041 field just in the Library of Congress online catalog [my
> previous estimate was quite low; probably there are more than 40 works
> among the >4600 works in Estonian]; and (2) Setu, a variety that is very
> closely associated with Vőro (sometimes as a sub-dialect, sometimes as a
> separate, close South Estonian variety; depends on the researcher) is
> declared by the MARC code list of languages to be included in the scope 
> [est].
> This seems to be a candidate for a macrolanguage for Estonian [est]
> separating Northern Estonian (including Standard Estonian) and Vőro.
> There is plenty of documentation that Vőro is undergoing a process of
> active, intentional development and standardization as a literary
> language, based on spoken Vőro and other South Estonian varieties,
> supported by the Estonian government through the Vőro Institute. Present
> day Vőro development is somewhat affected by the old South Estonian
> literary language Tartu, which has a distinct history going back to the
> 16th century through works coming from the Lutheran reformation. Setu,
> another South Estonian spoken variety, also has some influence. However,
> it appears that currently Vőro is the variety experiencing the 
> and standardization. (Sometimes it is actually referred to as Vőro-Setu)
> It is really point 2 above that precludes chipping off (the MARC code 
> specification), as we do have a stable diglossia existing between 
> Estonian and Vőro, and by my current estimate, we are still talking 
> less than 1% of the total number of written works. On the other hand, if
> we try to consider Southern Estonian more broadly for a split (or a
> macrolanguage), we would need to contend with the existence of older 
> written in Tartu, which could equally be described as Southern Estonian,
> while they would not be confused with works coming from the modern 
> and standardization of Vőro.
> There are four possible options:
> Split [est] into Standard Estonian (or Northern Estonian) and Vőro (or
> Southern Estonian);
> Chip off Vőro and simply assign it its own code element in Part 3 (I 
> argue that, during an earlier stage of 639 management, if the requester
> had demonstrated a sufficient number of documents, a Part 2 code element
> would probably have been assigned without much discussion);
> Change the scope of [est] to macrolanguage in Part 2 and assign two new
> code elements in Part 3 for Standard Estonian and Vőro, Tartu as a
> historical language could be considered in the future without conflict;
> Do nothing and allow Part 6 to handle it.
> I think only 2 and 3 are worth considering. Either solution needs some
> clarification on the names to use.
> As to the last option, Peter asked earlier whether a Part 3 code element
> is really warranted. The need for a Part 3 code element relates to the
> extant and growing body of literature (including websites) in Vőro, with
> standard dictionaries which could be used in spell checkers and other
> tools. The existence of a Part 3 code element carries weight with such
> bodies as the Wikimedia Foundation Language Subcommittee (which 
> such as a strong factor in making a decision to authorize new language
> subdomains: wikipedias, wiktionaries, etc.). Apart from all that, the
> requester has demonstrated that, in terms of intelligibility, Vőro 
> be considered a separate language from Standard Estonian. I don't think 
> is an appropriate response, but the 639-3 RA cannot act on the request
> independently without agreement from the JAC.
> You might want to search the archives and review messages from 
> and 06-03, as well as further back in the archives.
> A very useful reference for me has been:
> Pajusalu, Karl, Eva Velsker and Ervin Org. 1999. "On recent changes in
> South Estonian: dynamics in the formation of the inessive." 
> Journal of the Sociology of Language [issue title: Estonian
> Sociolinguistics],  139: 87-103.  Also the forward of the issue was 
> helpful.
> See also  the Vőro Institute's website:
> and the page about the language in English:
> I will post the request from Sulev Iva by September 10, and I would like
> the request then to be in alignment with a direction set by the JAC, if
> possible. (It will be posted even if I get no further feedback before 
> date.) Please let us take action.
> Thanks,
> Joan