[very OT] "Slavic"

From: Marco.Cimarosti@icl.com
Date: Thu Sep 21 2000 - 04:43:47 EDT

Peter Constable wrote:
> On 09/16/2000 12:56:31 PM Doug Ewell 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.
> As, I think, Michael Everson pointed out, "Slavic" is presented as one
> alternate name that is sometimes used. The Ethnologue is
> *not* trying to
> suggest that MKJ is all Slavic languages. Again, the view
> into the data has
> unfortunately been misleading for you.

It is common that people apply a "generic" name (that would be properly
referred to a language group) to a specific language of that group spoken in
a neighboring region.

In Friuli Venezia-Giulia (the region of Italy bordering with Slovenia),
"slavo" is the everyday word to call Slovenians and their language.
Similarly, in German-speaking Switzerland, "romain" means French.

Sometimes these local names are not even clearly referred to a specific
language group as linguists know it. I read that the German dialectal word
"Welsch" means "Italian" (a *Romance* language) to Austrians and
German-speaking Italians; but it means "Polish" (a *Slavic* language) to
North-East Germans and German-speaking Poles. And, of course, it is easily
noticed that a very similar word exists in English: "Welsh" (referring to
the neighbor *Celtic* language).

So, it is not surprising if Greek people bordering with Macedonian-speaking
areas use a term like "Slavic" for they neighbors.

Nevertheless, the fact that such a local colloquial name became
internationally known (to the point of being inserted in an important Texan
list of world languages:-) is probably a consequence of propaganda by the
Greek governent, whose policy towards
The-Country-That-Shall-Not-Be-Called-Macedonia is very well known.

_ Marco

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Tue Jul 10 2001 - 17:21:13 EDT