Pending business

Doug Ewell doug at
Wed Sep 17 06:05:23 CEST 2008

Lang Gérard <gerard dot lang at insee dot fr> wrote:

> Concerning "AQ",  and with consideration to the internationaly 
> recognized definition of this territory, a correct interpretation 
> could be that the related languages are the
> four languages (english, french, russian, spanish) that give an 
> official linguistic version of the Treaty on Antarctic (Washington, 
> 1st december 1959) and of all subsequent international acts on 
> Antarctica..

I think this is putting the cart before the horse (sorry, I don't know 
the corresponding French idiom).  Region subtags in BCP 47 don't define 
a set of languages, official or otherwise.  Rather, they identify 
language varieties that are commonly associated with the region.

A common example is French (fr): sometimes it is useful to distinguish 
French as spoken in France (fr-FR) from French as spoken in Canada 
(fr-CA).  It would not be appropriate -- at least not within BCP 47 --  
to go the other way and associate 'CA' with a set of languages including 
English, French, Inuktitut, and several others.

The "correct interpretation" of the region subtag 'AQ' would simply be a 
variety of some language that is commonly associated with Antarctica. 
It's highly unlikely that any language varieties fall into that 
category -- the 1959 treaty notwithstanding -- but all of the officially 
ISO 3166-1 code elements are available to serve as region subtags.  We 
don't pick some and discard others -- the same as our policy with 
language and script codes.

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

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