Re: [OT] Re: the Ethnologue

From: Antoine Leca (
Date: Thu Sep 21 2000 - 04:39:34 EDT

Peter Constable 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'.
> >>
> >> 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.
> As I've been saying, this amounts to differences of operational definitions
> (which may not be explicitly and consciously defined). The Ethnologue is
> attempting to consistently apply a definition based primarily on mutual
> non-intelligibility. There is no question that there are communities that
> speak the same "language" (by this definition), but that have distinct
> identities for various ethnic, social, religious or political reasons, and
> that the distinct identities get carried into their perception of language
> categories.

  Hindi, Hindustani, Urdu could be considered co-dialects, but have important
  sociolinguistic differences. Hindi uses the Devanagari writing system, and
  formal vocabulary is borrowed from Sanskrit, de-Persianized, de-Arabicized.
  Literary Hindi, or Hindi-Urdu, has four varieties: Hindi (High Hindi, Nagari
  Hindi, Literary Hindi, Standard Hindi); Urdu; Dakhini; Rekhta. [...]
  Languages and dialects in the Western Hindi group are Hindustani, Bangaru,
  Braj Bhasha, Kanauji, Bundeli; see separate entries.
                        from the online Ethnologue database, 13th ed.

Of course, Peter and many people here know that I am taking the worst possible
example. Perhaps one may also fill reports to make clearer that most if not all
of these different entries are mutually intelligible (at least to the extend
that the language I am speaking when speaking of linguistics or of Unicode is
intelligible to the average French-speaking person).


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