Language for taxonomic names
petercon at microsoft.com
Tue Sep 23 06:26:21 CEST 2008
I would not see this getting coded in ISO 639 as a distinct language, because it is not a human language by any definition. You can't say "I'm hungry" or "What is that?" in this system. I think either you say it's an application and variant of Latin, or you say that, as it allows terms based on Latin or Greek origins or based on personal names from various cultures, it's a constructed system that is no more a human language than is Cobol.
On initial reaction, I don't see a reason to object to registering variant subtags with a prefix of zxx.
From: ietf-languages-bounces at alvestrand.no [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at alvestrand.no] On Behalf Of Phillips, Addison
Sent: Monday, September 22, 2008 2:30 PM
To: Andy Mabbett; ietf-languages at iana.org
Subject: RE: Language for taxonomic names
If you want to go down the path of having a full-fledged language code, your starting point would be to request one from ISO 639. While this list can register primary language subtags, it is frowned upon generally and not permitted until ISO 639 has said "no" already.
If you want to register a variant subtag (your second and third options), you should start by reading the relevant section of RFC 4646. Among other things, variant subtags have content/length restrictions for the subtags themselves and you should have a pretty good idea of what you want the Prefix (i.e. the primary language) to be.
'zxx' has some things to recommend it in that case, such as if you don't wish to perpetuate the idea of these names being "Latin".
Globalization Architect -- Lab126
Internationalization is not a feature.
It is an architecture.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: ietf-languages-bounces at alvestrand.no [mailto:ietf-languages-
> bounces at alvestrand.no] On Behalf Of Andy Mabbett
> Sent: Monday, September 22, 2008 1:59 PM
> To: ietf-languages at iana.org
> Subject: Language for taxonomic names
> Some years ago,, I raised the prospect of a special language code
> the taxonomic names (also called "scientific names" of living
> These are also sometimes called "Latin names", but are not Latin;
> include many Greek words (or words derived from Greek, with
> endings) and more modern neologisms from any other language, or
> names. They should not be translated as though in Latin
> Discussion petered out, both due to digression discussing the
> frivolous examples I gave, and because personal circumstances
> my further involvement at the time.
> The issue arose again recently:
> on Taxacom, the mailing list for discussion of taxonomy in the
> era, and several options were considered.
> I would again like to ask for discussion of the matter, and
> for a solution.
> The options would seem to be (listed in my order of preference) to
> taxonomic names as being in:
> * a unique language, say "tax"/ "tx"; or "bio"
> * a sub-set of Latin la-tx
> * a "zxx" case, say "zxx-taxo"
> The first of these has the advantage of resolving at the highest
> to something unique to taxonomic names, and would allow for subsets
> the taxonomic codes:
> * tx-icbn
> * tx-iczn
> (some on Taxacom argued that these are separate "languages"; see
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ICBN> &
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ICZN> - though that's not a view I
> I'm open to other suggestions, also.
> Thank you.
> Andy Mabbett
> Ietf-languages mailing list
> Ietf-languages at alvestrand.no
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