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DefinedMeaning talk:Swiss German (378754)

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Inconsistent definition?[edit]

The linked Wikipedia article treats Western Upper German dialects synonymous to Alemannic dialects and groups them in these big subgroups: Swabian, Low Alemannic, High Alemannic, Highest Alemannic. More narrow definitions, especially around the term "Swiss German", seem to exclude the subgroup that is only present in Germany and Austria, namely Swabian. My question thus is, are we talking exclusively of Low, High and Highest Alemannic varieties here? If so, how to deal with the conflict that arrises from the inclusion of Swabian in Wikipedia articles describing Alemannic (dialects)? The exclusion seems to be more due to political reasons than linguistic ones. Shouldn't we adopt those big subgroups, apparently based on linguistics, instead and connect Low, High, Highest Alemannic with "Swiss German". If even finer definition is wished for, "Upper-Rhine Alemannic" could be a subcategory of "Low Alemannic" and connected to "Alsatian", while the other subcategories could also be used optionally by people knowledgable in those. Otherwise the term is just entered for the upper category. I'm not sure how your setup works. I hope the suggestions make sense in this regard. --RayZa (talk) 17:37, 7 November 2018 (CET)

We can add local varieties, like we already have this for East Franconian. But I must confess, I don't remember how to do this right now. Let's ask Kipcool. --Sabine (talk) 07:05, 8 November 2018 (CET)
I am not sure if the question relates to the definition of this DM, or to the languages that we include in OmegaWiki as editable languages. It seems that you are actually asking about both.
If it is about the definition: you speak about "Swiss German" but in the case here, "Swiss German" is in fact a residue from the past that only appears in the Url and title of the page, but it is actually not anymore in the list of the translations. This happens when we first define a term, then add other synonym terms, modify a bit the definition and remove the original term. The original term unfortunately stays in the title.
So the present definition here is about Alemannic German, all varieties under iso code 639-3 "gsw". These codes evolve over time when languages are reclassified and we usually adapt our definitions. Currently, Ethnologue considers that Swabian ("swg") is a variety of Alemannic so we also consider it as a subcategory of Alemannic. There were not connected so I just added the connection.
It seems that you are also talking about adding a term in one language or another. In that case, it depends basically how similar the languages are. If they are similar like American English / UK English, we found that it is best to only have a language "English", and then use an annotation that says whether a word is only used in the "USA", or in the "UK", since in the case of English we also have "Canada", "Australia", and then maybe we can have "Texas", "California", "Wales", etc. We could do the same for Alemannic, which allows to edit everything under the same language name, which makes the interface simpler.
For German Hochdeutsch we had "German (Germany)", "German (Austria)" and "DefinedMeaning:German_(Switzerland)_(841877)|German (Switzerland)]]" but this was a bit unpractical and we are changing to a system similar to English which allows e.g. to describe that a word is used both in Austria and Switzerland without creating two entries, or that a word is used only in Berlin, without creating an additional language "German (Berlin)" etc.
On the other hand, for Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian, which are also similar languages, we have decided to have them as separate languages. However, in that case we do not have a generic "Serbo-Croatian" (contrary to Wiktionary), because then it would be a bit messy).
So, basically both options are possible, and we let the users who want to edit the language to decide what they like best (since we store everything neatly in a database, it is always possible to change later with some database manipulations).
I hope I understood the question :) --Kip (talk) 13:50, 9 November 2018 (CET)
Salut! Yes, you basically understood it correctly. Thanks for linking it! I used "Swiss German" because that's a term under which the Alemannic varieties exluding Swabian seem to be often grouped. So you know, linguistics might say one thing, but popular opinion about the existence of a concept my be a different one. When people talk about "Swiss German" they'll most likely not mean to include Swabian (it's not a variety used in Switzerland per se after all). When people talk about "Alemannic" then apparently they might use it both synonymous to "Swiss German", but maybe also including Swabian. I don't like this incertainty, but I thought it would be good to somehow make sure people can get a understanding of the situation by checking this wiki. Right now they will see "Any of the Alemannic dialects spoken in Switzerland, in Liechtenstein, in Vorarlberg, in Southern Baden, in Southern Allgäu, and in Alsace." and might think: "Hold on, but it doesn't mention Swabia! Why is Swabian listed as a child?" You know what I mean?
Anyway. If I want to add words in Alemannic varieties, should I connect new Swabian expressions to the Swabian defined meaning and the others to Alemannic (with annotations where possible)? Or should I link Swabian expressions to the Alemannic defined meaning (with an annotation when possible) and just ignore the Swabian defined meaning?
Concerning the standard languages: I'm not an expert, but from my researches I gathered that there is about such a big of a difference between Standard German in the different countries than there is for Serbo-Croatian in the different countries with the exception that the Cyrillic alphabet is also used in some but not in others and there might be some slight variations in spelling, that all come down more to flavor than being a matter of comprehension. The ISO standards for linguistic varieties seem to be given with a rather big influence of politics. They even had Romanian split up into Romanian and Moldavian for a while until 2013. Sometimes they seem to deal with pluricentric languages in ways that seem inconsistent to me. There will always be some words that are regionally more limited than others. German is a perfect example: "Paradeiser" vs. "Tomate", "Marille" vs. "Aprikose", "Orange" vs. "Apfelsine"... The more unnecessarily split a language is, the harder it is to find enough learning material for it and the less significant it becomes. Try finding courses and books for either Croatian or Serbian or Bosnian leading up to an advanced level e.g.. The Slavic languages already aren't all that popular (at least in the "West"). Of all the Slavic Russian seems to be the most popular, but then it gets thin very quickly. Serbo-Croatian really doesn't need the hard split if you ask me. A new name maybe, and a proper way to note down differences and variations. Nothing wrong with focusing to learn one specific variety in my opinion though and of course you should be able to pinpoint what belongs to what, especially when you research it. But if you ask me there's no need to double or triple the amount of work needed for the maintenance of something that is mostly the same and then end up with varying amounts of coverage even for things that are the same. (so e.g. words that are spelled in a way that they map 1:1 between Latin and Cyrillic spelling in Croatian and Serbian)
While I talked about those South-West Slavic varieties in the last part, it's still basically also applicable to other varieties.
E.g. ideally I'd have some base form for Alemannic expressions and (semi-)automatically generate the specific expressions in the various varieties. The generated expressions might either be checked before being added or marked as automatically generated and thus potentially faulty/unidiomatic (so to be consumed with care and ideally manually checked for correctness/idiomaticness). The base form would probably need to be at least Old Alemannic. But I'm not sure yet how feasible that is. The last level with decent amounts of data (mostly reconstructed in one way or another) before the modern varieties (and not all that many Alemannic ones either) on seems to be Middle High German which is also the cover term that includes Old Alemannic as a dialect.
Down the rabbit hole I went... Sorry for this wall of text! --RayZa (talk) 04:52, 10 November 2018 (CET)
Ok then we should add "Swabia" to the definition. Another option would be to replace the list of countries in the definition with the four subgroups Swabian, Low Alemannic, High Alemannic, Highest Alemannic; so that we are still correct even if the speakers move to another country.
For the question If I want to add words in Alemannic varieties, should I connect new Swabian expressions to the Swabian defined meaning and the others to Alemannic (with annotations where possible)? <= yes please do like this, at least for the time being. I have the feeling from the different "Swabes" and "alsaciens" that I know that they consider their language as a standalone (they are rather proud ;) ) and not a variety of Alemannic. I mean, if they search for a word in their dialect in OmegaWiki, I think they would look for it under Swabish and not under Alemannic.
Note that even though I live in Bayern and my Schwiegerfamilie speaks Badish, my knowledge of German dialects is rather limited (particularly the written forms, but I have some Asterix in Boarisch). So in any case it is best to have the opinion of Sabine or any other native German on that matter :) and also we can always change the database later on if we change our mind, so there is not much that can go wrong :) --Kip (talk) 21:28, 10 November 2018 (CET)