ISO 639 name change: Songhai languages

Peter Constable petercon at
Tue Jan 9 16:24:39 CET 2007

It's important not to confuse languages with alphabets. The same
keyboard layout can be used for English and Indonesian since they have
similar alphabets -- and I'm sure there are some equally dissimilar
languages somewhere that use identical alphabets. That doesn't mean that
we should concoct artificial macrolanguage entities combining the two
languages just to capture something about keyboard layouts.

Of course, Don was mentioned a particular scenario involving closely
related languages, so the situation may well warrant a macrolanguage;
but keyboard layouts shouldn't be the determining criterion for that.
Rather, it should be the feasibility of creating content that can be
used for all of the varieties together.


-----Original Message-----
From: ietf-languages-bounces at
[mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of John Cowan
Sent: Monday, January 08, 2007 8:59 PM
To: Don Osborn
Cc: ietf-languages at; 'Kent Karlsson'
Subject: Re: ISO 639 name change: Songhai languages

Don Osborn scripsit:

> So, to say a Keyman keyboard like the AFRO one is appropriate
> for the Fulfulde of Western Niger (fuh) is not really accurate or
> helpful. Anything that is good for the west is good for the east
> (fuq) and you'd be better off referring to just Fula macrolanguage (a
> locale would be ff-NE). And as far as keyboards for that language go,
> they would probably cover several country locales, but that is getting
> offtopic again...

Well, okay, some keyboards need to be marked with more than one
language, then.  That's where the se/fi keyboard comes in; there's
no macrolanguage there.

As we all know, civil libertarians are not      John Cowan
the friskiest group around -- comes from        cowan at
forever being on the qui vive for the sound
of jack-booted fascism coming down the pike.           --Molly Ivins
Ietf-languages mailing list
Ietf-languages at

More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list