[OT] Re: the Ethnologue

From: Doug Ewell (dewell@compuserve.com)
Date: Sat Sep 16 2000 - 17:36:55 EDT

Michael Everson <everson@egt.ie> wrote:

>> MKJ is the Ethnologue code for both 'Macedonian' and 'Slavic'.
>> Absolutely *everyone* knows there is no one 'Slavic' language; the
>> name refers to an entire language family. This is much more
>> imprecise than any of the despised 'Other' codes in ISO 639.
> In fairness to the Ethnologue's editor, it is possible that MKJ
> refers to "Slavic Macedonian" which is a euphemism that arose because
> Greeks were complaining that "Macedonian" could be Greek.

Very possible indeed. I am aware of the sensitive political issues
surrounding the names of languages, countries, scripts, etc. (Last
night in Sydney, the Taiwanese Olympic team was introduced as "Chinese
Taipei"; when did that name come into use?)

All I am asking in this particular case is for the Ethnologue editor to
assign *one* primary name (and spelling) to each three-letter language
code, and to relegate the other names to alternate status in a
consistent way. That is the first necessary step, although maybe not
the last, in moving the Ethnologue coding system closer to "maturity."

-Doug Ewell
 Fullerton, California

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