Request for variant subtag fr 16th-c 17th-c RESUBMISSION

Doug Ewell dewell at
Wed Jan 24 07:59:48 CET 2007

CE Whitehead <cewcathar at hotmail dot com> wrote:

> Well actually the goal was not to tag any text twice as both fr and 
> frm

I didn't say it was; I said "the same text... could have been tagged as 
either 'middle' or 'modern' French... depending on the whim of the 

> so much as to allow the page creator to determine whether the French 
> was modern enough to be considered modern French for his/her audience 
> or needed to be labelled as Middle French because of problems reading 
> it.  (this is important to students/persons learning French in 
> particular, or to persons who are not completely literate).

Interoperability is best served if the same text is tagged the same way, 
consistently.  The identity of the text lies within the text, not the 

> It is actual possible currently for a text to be tagged as both fr and 
> frm (provided your page is not embedded in someone else's document) in 
> order to insure that a person who searches for a 1650's document gets 
> it whether they search for it as frm or fr.

That is my point.  Your text is not in two different languages, Middle 
French and Modern French.  It is in a particular variety of French that 
lies somewhere between Middle and Modern French, and you need a subtag 
for that variety.  That is fine and understandable, and I don't think 
anyone is challenging that.  But you cannot say that the language is 
both Middle French *and* Modern French at once.

If you want a text that can justifiably be tagged in more than one 
language simultaneously, you need something like "Dieser Satz contient 
des mots in four diversas idiomas."

> But you have told me I am only allowed to request one prefix so that 
> is why I am doing so.

If you think it is just me, then I will gladly recuse myself from this 
discussion and we can see how the Reviewer and the rest of the list feel 
about it.

However, I do need to point out before recusing myself that the two 
Description fields:

    French as catalogued in Jean Nicot, "Thresor de la langue francoyse" 
1606; ARTFL Project, University of Chicago.


    early modern French as catalogued in the "Dictionnaire de l'académe 
françoise", 4eme ed. 1694; includes elements of Middle French; also new 
terms from the Americas

are still much longer and more encyclopedic than any Description fields 
we have in the Registry.

Doug Ewell  *  Fullerton, California, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14

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