[Ietf-languages] FW: [EXTERNAL] Re: language identifiers for sign languages (incl. sgn) vs. attribute for indicating the representation of an individual language in "sign language modality"

"Sebastian Drude \(personal\)" <drude@xs4all.nl> Sun, 01 December 2019 17:18 UTC

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Subject: [Ietf-languages] FW: [EXTERNAL] Re: language identifiers for sign languages (incl. sgn) vs. attribute for indicating the representation of an individual language in "sign language modality"
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Dear all,

Here my reply to John Cowan. I am now member of this list.

Best,

Sebastian

-- 

Museu P.E. Goeldi, CCH, Linguistica  ▪  Av. Perimetral, 1901

Terra Firme, CEP: 66077-530  ▪  Belém do Pará – PA  ▪  Brazil

 <mailto:drude@xs4all.nl> drude@xs4all.nl   ▪  Mobil : +55 (91) 983 733 319

 

From: Sebastian Drude (personal) <drude@xs4all.nl> 
Sent: 01 December 2019 13:43
To: 'John Cowan' <cowan@ccil.org>
Cc: 'Christian Galinski' <christian.galinski@chello.at>at>; 'Fourney, David' <david.fourney@usask.ca>ca>; 'jzag@loc.gov' <jzag@loc.gov>ov>; 'Debra Russell' <drussell@ualberta.ca>ca>; 'ietf-languages' <ietf-languages@iana.org>rg>; 'Gary Simons' <gary_simons@sil.org>rg>; '105-5-03 Hein, Anja' <105-5-03@auswaertiges-amt.de>
Subject: RE: [EXTERNAL] Re: [Ietf-languages] language identifiers for sign languages (incl. sgn) vs. attribute for indicating the representation of an individual language in "sign language modality"

 

Dear John, all,

 

My comments in-line below.

 

Best wishes,

Sebastian

-- 

Museu P.E. Goeldi, CCH, Linguistica  ▪  Av. Perimetral, 1901

Terra Firme, CEP: 66077-530  ▪  Belém do Pará – PA  ▪  Brazil

 <mailto:drude@xs4all.nl> drude@xs4all.nl   ▪  Mobil : +55 (91) 983 733 319

 

From: John Cowan <cowan@ccil.org <mailto:cowan@ccil.org> > 
Sent: 30 November 2019 00:58
To: Sebastian Drude <drude@xs4all.nl <mailto:drude@xs4all.nl> >
Cc: Christian Galinski <christian.galinski@chello.at <mailto:christian.galinski@chello.at> >; Fourney, David <david.fourney@usask.ca <mailto:david.fourney@usask.ca> >; jzag@loc.gov <mailto:jzag@loc.gov> ; Debra Russell <drussell@ualberta.ca <mailto:drussell@ualberta.ca> >; ietf-languages <ietf-languages@iana.org <mailto:ietf-languages@iana.org> >; Gary Simons <gary_simons@sil.org <mailto:gary_simons@sil.org> >; 105-5-03 Hein, Anja <105-5-03@auswaertiges-amt.de <mailto:105-5-03@auswaertiges-amt.de> >
Subject: Re: [EXTERNAL] Re: [Ietf-languages] language identifiers for sign languages (incl. sgn) vs. attribute for indicating the representation of an individual language in "sign language modality"

 

 

 

On Fri, Nov 29, 2019 at 7:56 AM Sebastian Drude <drude@xs4all.nl <mailto:drude@xs4all.nl> > wrote:

 

To begin with, a single flat hierarchy mixing dialects and modalities etc. without cross-classifications is doomed, given the multidimensionality of linguistic variation (cf. ISO 21636). 

 

Even without considering multidimensional variation, a simple family tree is also not something that should be baked into an IS, because it varies with time: languages are routinely reclassified not only individually but en masse, and there is not always a consensus view.  

[> ] I generally agree with your point on trees, they should not go into the ISO standard, and you probably will never reach a true consensus.  But you have an excellent attempt at evaluating the existing evidence for the different proposals and come to a current best-informed tree.  This has very consistently, as far as I and colleagues can tell, been done in the Glottolog <https://glottolog.org/> .

As to your specific questions, the Glottolog evaluation is:

 

Is Dene-Yeniseian consensus now or not? (Lyle Campbell doesn't like it, but he doesn't like any grouping that wasn't proposed at least a century ago.)  

[> ] Dene <https://glottolog.org/resource/languoid/id/atha1245> -Yeniseian <https://glottolog.org/resource/languoid/id/yeni1252> : “The link to Eyak-Athapascan-Tlingit Edward J. Vajda 2010 <https://glottolog.org/resource/reference/id/159689>  is not yet mature enough to conclude a genetic relationship Lyle Campbell 2011 <https://glottolog.org/resource/reference/id/31225>  George Starostin 2012 <https://glottolog.org/resource/reference/id/323413>  Gerber, Pascal 2017 <https://glottolog.org/resource/reference/id/555344>  , Edward J. Vajda 2018 <https://glottolog.org/resource/reference/id/567516> .”

 

What about Altaic?  ("Infinite are the arguments of mages.")  

[> ] Altaic <https://glottolog.org/resource/languoid/id/turk1311> : “See Alexander Vovin 2005 <https://glottolog.org/resource/reference/id/133723>  Georg, Stefan 2017 <https://glottolog.org/resource/reference/id/548973>  for critique on the Altaic hypothesis.”

 

The current classification of Bantu is basically geographic, and it's not even clear if all those regions actually belong in a single family.  Etc.

[> ]  Bantu: Glottolog follows Blench, Roger 2009 <https://glottolog.org/resource/reference/id/24122>  for Bantoid <https://glottolog.org/resource/languoid/id/bant1294> , and Bostoen, Koen and Grégoire, Claire 2007 <https://glottolog.org/resource/reference/id/99738>  for Narrow Bantu <https://glottolog.org/resource/languoid/id/narr1281> .

 

Then, an attempt to exhaustively list all varieties of all languages in the world by basically a single person or very small group must fail; this clearly needs a community effort where many experts contribute. 

 

You'd still need them to agree on common standards:  see above.

[> ] Yes, common criteria and procedures are part of the challenge.  I believe that with differentiating between the different dimensions of internal variation, much of potential and actual confusion can be mitigated already. 

 

Work on what is now ISO 21636 was originally intended to replace the failed ISO 639-6, but is now a related but separate endeavor, preparing the ground for a future registration mechanism for language varieties. 

 

This present mailing list, or de facto WG, is a present registration mechanism for language varieties, with a view to identification rather than classification.  Identification views can and, I argue, should be flat.  

[> ] I am not sure I understand what you refer to in this context by “identification”, and I was not aware that this WG ‘is’ a registration mechanism (that seems to be a complicated statement already for ontological reasons 😉); where one can read about that; what are the procedures and criteria?  Which are the varieties already established/identified/registered?

 

Biologists have enough trouble wrangling their binomial names and dealing with the changes that come with genus-level classifications: if they routinely named our species "Animalia Chordata Mammalia Primates Haplorhini Simiiformes Hominidae Homininae Hominini Homo sapiens" the name would not only be hopelessly verbose but would change all the time: Hominidae was redefined to include the other great apes in a transition starting before 2000 and complieting about 2015.

[> ] Yes, these things are bound to change, and that holds for genealogic trees for languages.  I generally like the multitree approach, where all proposals are documented (cross-tree correspondences of references to individual clades are a little bit more complicated), together with the Glottolog approach to make a well-informed decision, which of course can change over time with new evidence.

[> ] For inner-language variation. I also believe that the varieties classification systems are mostly flat, with some hierarchy for dialects, temporal varieties and possibly sociolects.

 

-- 

Sent from my phone, excuses for being short

 

Surely you jest.  "Je n’ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n’ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte."