Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Wed Mar 10 22:54:12 UTC 2004

I don't know Ostler's use of the quotation, but for the record Antoine
Meillet first said "a language is a dialect with an army" - later Max
Weinreich used it in a talk in NewYorkCity (in Yiddish) and added "with a
navy". There was a long discussion of all this in LgeinSociety, summed up by
the then editor William Bright. I am sure he can give you the exact
reference to it <see address above) Lycka till med talet! Christina Bratt

>From: Trond Trosterud <trond.trosterud at>
>To: lgpolicy-list at
>Subject: Re: CFP: FEL VIII: On the Margins of Nations: correction of e-mail
>Date: Mon, Mar 8, 2004, 3:34 AM

> Dear nicholas ostler!
> I am about to give a talk on laguage technology and minority languages
> here in Tromsö (linked to my project
> Connected to that I would like to give a quote. i believe it comes from
> you, in some publicaton I imagine i have seen you have paraphrased
> Uriel Weinreich's "a language is a dialect with a fleet and an army"
> into "a language is a dialect with a machine-readable dictionary and
> basic language technology resources" (as you see, my attempt at
> remembering  both quotes are quite inaccurate).
> So, do you know what I am talking about? If so, could you send me the
> quote (and I'll make it famous here in Tromsø)
> Trond
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Trond Trosterud                                        t +47 7764 4763
> Institutt for språkvitskap, Det humanistiske fakultet  m +47 950 70140
> N-9037 Universitetet i Tromsø, Noreg                   f +47 7764 4239
> Trond.Trosterud (a)
> ----------------------------------------------------------------------

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