Re: [mo/mol] and [ro/ron/rum]

From: Philipp Reichmuth (
Date: Sun Aug 15 2004 - 08:59:09 CDT

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    Doug Ewell schrieb:
    >>As for your question: both governments (and "their" people), while
    >>keeping their armies and recyprocal independence (for now), agree
    >>that it is the same language, even if they may some day disagree about
    >>its name.
    > Seeing that Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian have been given their own
    > separate ISO 639 codes, for almost purely political reasons (they are
    > dialects)

    A number of cases exist where two languages are very close to each other
    and/or two dialects are rather different. It's not uncommon at all to
    base the distinction on extralinguistic factors in such cases, such as
    political entities or nationalisms behind them. If two political
    entities exist, you've got two languages. Another factor may be whether
    both are in common written usage.

    Typical cases include Persian and Tajik or Czech and Slovak, where both
    are very close to each other at least in their written form, but usually
    referred to as different languages. On the other hand, you have
    Plattdeutsch and Bavarian, where the differences are major, there is
    hardly any mutual intelligibility, and yet they are considered dialects,
    mainly because both are spoken within the same political entity and both
    are written far less frequently than German, the language they're
    supposed to be dialects of. Or you have the Arabic dialects, also not
    really mutually intelligible, but held together by the more or less
    extralinguistic fact that the reference language is used for religious
    purposes by all speakers.

    This is really a moot point. The separate inclusion of Moldavian and
    Romanian and of Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian and Serbo-Croatian in ISO 639
    is due to a political decision. This is a perfectly normal thing;
    languages are political beasts.


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