Results of Duplicate Busters Survey #2

Doug Ewell doug at
Sun Sep 7 17:51:08 CEST 2008

Frank Ellermann <nobody at xyzzy dot claranet dot de> wrote:

>> If I understand you correctly, you are saying that the
>> use of only the Description field "Ainu (Japan)" and not
>> "Ainu" will "obsolete" the RFC 4646 meaning of the tag,
>> that adding the country qualifier "(Japan)" to the
>> Description constitutes a reinterpretation of the tag,
>> and that this reinterpretation "can result in unclear
>> gibberish."  Is that correct?
> No, I don't think so.  The trouble are old "ain" actually
> meaning "aib" before it existed and folks became aware of
> it.  The info "this was once Ainu" (without a qualifier)
> is lost.  I don't care how this is noted, a comment could
> do, e.g., "ISO 639-2 Ainu, not the same as aib".

That's just incorrect tagging.  It's easy to understand how it would 
happen, since ISO 639-2 (true to its title) doesn't indicate anything 
about the language except its name.  But the "Ainu" referred to in 639-2 
and coded as 'ain' was never meant to denote "all languages called 
Ainu."  There are 50 documents somewhere that would prove this.

Adding a Comments field to the Registry, or retaining the original 
(ambiguous) Description field, doesn't make the original tagging 
correct, it just documents what might have been going through the 
tagger's mind at the time.  But continuing to list "Ainu" with no 
qualifier virtually ensures that others will continue to make this 
error.  That's my definition of "hostile to users."

Doug Ewell  *  Thornton, Colorado, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14  ˆ 

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