Re: FW: The role of country codes/Not snazzy

Date: Thu May 29 2003 - 14:56:09 EDT

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    Brian on 05/29/2003 09:37:31 AM:

    > Why is Ethnologue flawed?


    1. research that has gone into it has only been going on for 50 years with
    limited manpower, not 150 with unlimited manpower;

    2. linguistic and sociolinguistic change is on-going, and it is difficult
    to keep research current on all of the change that occurs (see 1); and

    3. language as a phenomenon does not occur in discrete, sharply defined
    categories, but involves a large number of possible parameters of
    variation; hence, any attempt to enumerate "languages" must be the result
    of a process of analytical abstraction that merely approximates reality
    (but is still useful, and is done because in practical terms organisations
    must conduct their business in terms of a finite list of entities rather
    than an all-but-endlessly variable continuum).

    As John Cowan said, any aspiration of a flawless catalogue of languages is
    a pipe-dream; and I'd also add, it's naive.

    - Peter

    Peter Constable

    Non-Roman Script Initiative, SIL International
    7500 W. Camp Wisdom Rd., Dallas, TX 75236, USA
    Tel: +1 972 708 7485

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