Re: [OT] Re: the Ethnologue

From: Michael \(michka\) Kaplan (
Date: Sat Sep 16 2000 - 19:27:22 EDT

From: "John Cowan" <>
> On Sat, 16 Sep 2000, Doug Ewell wrote:
> > SRC is the code for 'Bosnian', 'Croatian', and 'Serbo-Croatian', which
> > means that there is a many-to-one mapping from ISO 639-1 'bs', 'hr',
> > 'sr' to Ethnologue 'SRC'. This is likely to cause much more widespread
> > trouble than the Hopi example mentioned earlier.
> By Ethnologue standards of mutual intelligibility, there is only one
> language here.

Well, thisis one that can actually get some of the speakers (or their
governments) pretty upset, though. And both ISO639-x and rfc1766 have to
care about such things....

> It seems clear from the detailed information that in all 14 cases,
> there is only one language, known by different names in different
> countries. Expecting the Ethnologue to solve this problem by fiat,
> or even to openly prefer one name over another when nationalist sympathies
> decree otherwise, is IMHO not reasonable.

John, a solution must be acheived, nevertheless. If a large part or even all
of the Ethnologue is to be used as a part of any of these standards, then it
must be done.

In a way, this is one of the only advantages to not giving locale tags any
significance -- by assigning them numbers, you really are trying to stay out
of the business of people who have very different ideas about names and
such. In a world where countries can go to war over lesser matters then
this, I prefer the numbers to having yet another tightrope to walk. :-(


Michael Kaplan
a new book on internationalization in VB at

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