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Subject: Re: core components analysis

Martin Bryan wrote:

   I was always told that ISO 639-2 failed to take into account
   the one case I specifically mentioned, that of American Indians.
   (Just in case you think this is a fanciful requirement, I
   mention that my son bought a tape on Black Feet and Sioux tribal
   songs when we were last in the US. This had no word of English
   on it. If I wanted to export such tapes to the UK to sell to the
   Scottish clans, who have a very similar musical tradition, what
   ISO 639-2 language code would I use to describe its contents?)

Dear Martin:

The blackfoots speak Siksika (ISO 639-2/T code bla), one of the
Algonquian languages (alg) which is like Cree (cre).  The Sioux are a
nation composed of many tribes, presumably speaking similar if not
identical languages, e.g., the Dakota (dak).  For more interesting
reading, including languages, see The Native American History Archive at
http://www.ilt.columbia.edu/k12/naha/.  We must be culturally sensitive:
saying Sioux is like lumping all the West Teutons together, who speak
similar but mostly mutually unintelligible languages (English - eng,
German -deu and Frisian - fry).

   The other difference that I was led to believe that ISO 639-2
   does not address is that of the differences between Canadian
   French, Mali French and Official French, which the more flexible
   RFC 1736 does address.

True, RFC-1736 lets you distinguish between U.S. English and British
English (en-US and en-GB).  But the Library of Congress doesn't see fit
to make any such distinction in ISO 639-2, probably because there is no
discernible difference between the way educated Canadians, Americans,
British and Australians *formally* speak and write the language, the
"whilsts" and "colours" to the contrary notwithstanding.  Keep in mind
the Queen is the most American-sounding of you people.  I don't know
French, though I suspect the same attends what educated speakers use in
Québec, Mali and France.

William J. Kammerer
4950 Blazer Memorial Pkwy.
Dublin, OH USA 43017-3305
+1 614 791-1600

Visit FORESIGHT Corp. at http://www.foresightcorp.com/
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