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Subject: Re: [geolang-comment] ISSUE 3: The "language" published subject

Lars Marius Garshol scripsit:

> So, should we create such a published subject?


> If we do, how do we define "language"? 

The one thing we must not do is define it as "the class of things
mentioned in ISO 639", however superficially attractive that is.
Lots of the things in ISO 639 are not even languages, but groups of
languages, and even some of the things that *appear* to be single
languages aren't.  The SIL people have done an extensive study on
the deficiencies of the ISO codes.

Defining "language" is like defining "alive"; a roomful of biologists
once spent hours on the latter pursuit, until Sir Peter Medaware
silenced them by saying "We all know the difference between a live
horse and a dead one, so I suggest we cease to beat the latter."

John Cowan <jcowan@reutershealth.com>     http://www.reutershealth.com
I amar prestar aen, han mathon ne nen,    http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
han mathon ne chae, a han noston ne 'wilith.  --Galadriel, _LOTR:FOTR_

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