Monday, September 10, 2007

Sassarese and Sardinian

There is a Wikipedia in the Sardinian language. It uses the sc ISO-639-1 code. What was known as Sardinian became srd in the ISO-639-2. In the ISO-639-3 it was recognised as a macrolanguage; practically what was called Sardinian was split into four languages.

The Italian government has officially recognised the Sardinian language or the "Limba Sarda Comune". This is in essence a constructed language as it tries to make one language out of the four "dialects". One of the effects has been that some people prevent others from writing in one of the four languages on the sc.wikpedia.

The language committee of the Wikimedia Foundation has a request to approve a new language; one of the Sardinian languages, Sassarese with ISO code sdc.

There are two problems to deal with:
  • The "Limba Sarda Comune" is not recognised as a language
  • The proponents of the "Limba Sarda Comune" reserve the sc.wikipedia for their language
This issue is political. The first thing that I understand when you go to the official website is the notion of identity and indeed, to create one Sardinian identity it would be instrumental to have a unifying language. However, the map of the Sardinian languages is clear, the island is divided in four.

Given that the language committee has as one of its rules that political arguments are not accepted, there are a few conclusions that we should make.
  1. Sassarese can have a conditional approval
  2. We urge the proponents of the Limba Sarda Comune to ask for the recognition of this newly constructed language from ISO.
I have had a chat with Debbie Garside about all this, and I understand that it is necessary to apply for an ISO-639-3 code before an IANA language code is likely to be approved. At least fifty published works in the Limba Sarda Comune will be required.
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