Wiktionary talk:About Hmong

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Codes, and dialects vs languages[edit]

Hmong is a very complex dialect cluster, with a large number of ISO and Wiktionary codes:

  • {{hmn}} - macro-code
  • {{blu}} - (old semi-inclusive code, retired in favor of {{hmn}})
  • {{hmv}} – Hmong Do (Vietnam)
  • {{hmf}} – Hmong Don (Vietnam)
  • {{mww}} – Hmong Daw (Laos, China) (deleted following RFD) (never deleted from Module:languages; now back in use)
  • {{hnj}} – Mong Njua (Laos, China)
  • {{hmz}} – Hmong Shua (sinicized)
  • {{cqd}} – Chuanqiandian-cluster Miao (umbrella term for Hmong in China)
  • {{hrm}} – Horned Miao (A-Hmo, China)
  • {{hmd}} - Large Flowery Miao, A-Hmao (China?)
  • {{sfm}} - Small Flowery Miao
  • {{hmm}} - Central Mashan Hmong, {{hmp}} - Northern Mashan Hmong, {{hma}} - Southern Mashan Hmong, {{hmw}} - Western Mashan Hmong
  • {{hmc}} - Central Huishui Hmong, {{hme}} - Eastern Huishui Hmong, {{hmi}} - Northern Huishui Hmong, {{hmh}} - Southwestern Huishui Hmong
  • {{hmq}} - Eastern Qiandong Miao, {{hea}} - Northern Qiandong Miao, {{hms}} - Southern Qiandong Miao
  • {{hmj}} - Ge
  • {{hml}} - Luopohe Hmong
  • {{huj}} - Northern Guiyang Hmong, {{hmy}} - Southern Guiyang Hmong, {{hmg}} - Southwestern Guiyang Hmong
  • {{mmr}} - Western Xiangxi Miao
  • {{muq}} - Eastern Xiangxi Miao
and just recently someone added
plus the other ones listed here, such as {{bwx}}, {{pnu}}, {{bwn}}, {{buh}}, {{pha}}, {{shx}}, {{bje}}, {{bmt}}, {{ium}}, {{mji}}, {{bpn}} (note: that includes some Mienic and other lects)
and I may have missed some others.

Some of these have already been deprecated (e.g. blu, mww). Other codes almost certainly need to be deprecated.

However, I think it might be a bad idea, given the extraordinary variety of the Hmong lects, to attempt to merge them all into one code. We do not merge Cantonese and Wu with Mandarin, or Norwegian with Danish. (For better or for worse, we don't even merge Nynorsk and Bokmal.) Therefore, my initial reaction is to suggest we merge the subdialects into big groups, but don't try to conflate all the big groups into a supergroup. Here's my initial, conservative suggestion (retaining a lot of codes):

  • blu and mww stay deleted, and
  • cqd is kept as the code into which sfm and hmj are merged(?), and
following the scholarship of Wang Fushi, Li Jinping and Li Tianyi:
  • huj, hmy, hmg are merged into one code for Guiyang Hmong/Miao,
  • hmc, hme, hmi, hmh are merged into one code for Huishui Hmong/Miao,
  • hmm, hmp, hma, hmw are merged into one code for Mashan Hmong/Miao, and
following Wang Fushi:
  • hmq, hea, hms are merged into one code for Qiandong Miao (Hmu), and
  • hmv and hmf are merged,
for lack of knowing what to do with them, hnj, hrm, hmd, hml and mmr are kept (for now)? and
  • hmz is deleted, and
  • {{etyl:hmn}} should be renamed "Hmongic" for clarity, and {{etyl:hmx-mie}} should perhaps be renamed "Mienic".

I solicit support / opposition / comments / alternative suggestions. - -sche (discuss) 21:36, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

Aren't they all written the same? If so, we might actually want to merge them into one. -- Liliana 22:04, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Aren't a lot of the Sinitic lects written the same (Wu, Mandarin, etc)? - -sche (discuss) 22:17, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Han gets special treatment for some reason. -- Liliana 22:42, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Liliana makes a good point. Granted, the writing systems are widely divergent, but if one wishes to write a given word in a given system, does it come out the same in different dialects? —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 00:44, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
They're not written the same, because some varieties are written using Pollard's abugida (e.g. Template:hmd),[1][2] some use a pinyin alphabet (e.g. Mashan varieties),[3] others use different romanization schemes (e.g. Qiandong varieties); Laotian varieties use the Pahawh Hmong system or the Romanized Popular Alphabet which the diaspora also uses. Each variety uses its own script, or sometimes two (e.g. Laotian Hmong uses Pahawh or RPA), but e.g. Laotian Hmong would not use Mashan script.
Each script is based upon a different standard, and because various varieties exhibit tone sandhi and vowel changes others don't, even vocabulary words that a given variety A and B share would be look different if someone did represent A faithfully in B's script. Moreover, in many cases, the percentage of vocabulary shared even by varieties that Chinese linguists term "subdialects" is so small (33–40%) they are mutually unintelligible. The International Encyclopedia of Linguistics lists only a few varieties as mutually intelligible; it marks most "not (inherently) intelligible"/"inherently unintelligible to speakers of other Hmong varieties".
Robert Darrah Jenks writes that "at the Central Nationalities Institute in Beijing, Miao students from different dialect groups addressed each other in Mandarin Chinese so that they would be understood" and guesses that it is "for political reasons [that] Chinese linguistics experts today seem reluctant to contradict the '[Miao is] one language' view, even when the evidence they have gathered points in that direction".
This leads me to conclude that it might even be safer and sounder for us to keep all or most the codes (rather than merge some, let alone all of them), and perhaps even restore {{mww}}. That way, infrastructure is in place and ready for Hmong speakers, whenever they arrive. - -sche (discuss) 08:31, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
I fully agree with you. If codes were created, it's because at least some people consider them as different languages. Having all codes available to specialists is not a problem. Lmaltier (talk) 21:11, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
I'd wait for a genuine Hmong speaker to comment on how he/she thinks the issue of internal variation can be best resolved on Wiktionary before having an opinion. Wyang (talk) 21:21, 16 February 2013 (UTC)
@-sche: Thank you for your research. That answered my questions well, and your decision seems as good as we'll get.
@Wyang: You're absolutely right, but that simply is not likely to happen anytime soon. I would bow to the opinion of any reasonable speaker of any Hmongic lect were they to know enough about Wiktionary to make a judgment on how best we ought to proceed, but in the mean time we must find a workable solution. —Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 01:18, 17 February 2013 (UTC)
Several Hmong speakers may well have different views about it. But what we already know is that an international organization has found enough evidence to consider them as different languages. Lmaltier (talk) 22:45, 20 February 2013 (UTC)

Pages which use Hmong codes[edit]

AFAICT, the only pages which use Hmong codes are: those which use {{hmn}}, year, table, how are you, and wife. (I list these here so they can be checked / switched if any merging of codes is done.) - -sche (discuss) 22:30, 15 February 2013 (UTC)