The limit of language codes

CE Whitehead cewcathar at
Thu Feb 15 22:17:36 CET 2007

>The modern languages have a big advantage. They are the languages that are 
>spoken today. It is therefore relatively easy to treat them with bold 
>strokes. When you start drilling down, you can have linguistic entities 
>that are considered "dialects", you can have different orthographies.

Yes, this is what happens.
>For me languages are a living thing and new words make their appearance 
>continuously. They are completely apart from how we would like to mark 
>language usage using meta tags. As words make their appearance, they do 
>differentiate the language. When we want to mark them with meta data, it 
>would still be "Dutch" ie nl but the meta data for a movie, a documentary 
>would still need to include the moment when this particular recording was 

Yes, this is helpful; I wish I always as a content creator had access to the 
headers and such but sometimes a page is embedded in another and the host 
provides no access.
>In OmegaWiki, we need to tag linguistic entities. For the use of English, 
>we have decided that when a word is spelled the same in contemporary en-UK 
>and en-US, we only record it as en. This is satisfactory for us. Many words 
>have only their use limited in time; who still thinks and talks of Internet 
>as the "digital super highway" nowadays ? For a dictionary you identify the 
>dates when they made their appearance and when they were seen last. When 
>you want to divide a language in time slots, it is really arbitrary where 
>you create the lines. Italian is a constructed language, this is also true 
>for German. Orthographies are a relatively recent invention and 
>consequently it is not really feasible to create spell checkers before a 
>certain age. An age that differs per language...
>The notion of having tags for historical languages makes sense when these 
>language are dead. Tagging any other way is at best imprecise. So please do 
>create a gazillion new tags for historical "languages", I am not sure that 
>they are worth the paper they are written on. I am also afraid that they 
>detract from what we have to achieve first; the correct tagging of content 
>of contemporary material. With only 15% tagged of material on the Internet, 
>there is plenty of convincing that we need to do. Convincing that using our 
>tags /is /relevant.
>     Gerard

I hope that we can both tag the modern and historical; both are out there 
and both need to be tagged.


C. E. Whitehead
cewcathar at

Invite your Hotmail contacts to join your friends list with Windows Live 

More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list