Alex Fink wrote:
> On Wed, 7 Jan 2009 15:18:08 -0800, Roger Mills wrote:
> >Well, for everyone's delectation and probable total
> confusion, I've put up
> Prevli syntax
>  (minor format
> corrections yet to be made, but the text is OK)
> Ooh, very nice. 

> Hm, how standardised is Prevli?  At a couple points you
> contrast widely used
> constructions with other variants regarded as correct --
> does this sort of
> thing actually happen much in languages without a tradition
> of standardisation?

Good questions. The people whose language I've described live in a mountainous area, but can go downhill/downriver (a fair distance) to encounter Kash people and the "modern" world. That world has also crept into their territory over the past X amount of time.  I haven't really figured out much of their history yet. Other tribes/clans live further into the mountains, and in areas governed by other nations, and they are farther from contact with, and with more difficult access to, the power centers of those nations. Undoubtedly, some of these groups have distinct dialects, perhaps even mutually-unintelligible languages-- a dialect continuum.
All of them tend to avoid the Kash, and the Kash by and large ignore them, considering them exotic and "primitive".

The analogue in my mind is the so-called "Toraja" tribes of Central Celebes, Indonesia, who during colonial days, at least, were largely ignored by the Dutch administration, and were subject to varying control by local states (mainly from South Celebes, the Bugis and Makassarese).   It appears probable that all their languages are ultimately related, and they have probably been in situ for a very long time. But all the languages are described as having various dialects.

This very interesting msg. was referenced on Cybalist yesterday; it's relevant to this question, and perhaps of general interest to all of us: 
The Linguistic Diversity of Aboriginal Europe By Don Ringe