Request: Language Code "de-DE-1996"

A. Vine andrea.vine@Sun.COM
Tue, 23 Apr 2002 12:09:26 -0700

As far as I know, these are language tags.  That they have extra info regarding
orthography is handy for certain apps.  I can easily see a reason to use
de-1901, de-DE-1901, de-CH-1901, as distinct tags due to the language
information (there are differences among the Germans, even at a national level,
more so at a regional level, but we haven't defined regions yet).

de-1901 is when you have no better information, or nothing more specific resides
in the data.  This is a situation which exists.  The alternative is not to tag
at all, or to tag potentially incorrectly.  Why do that?  Also, considering the
history of this kind of tagging, people are bound to assume that if there's a
de-DE-1901, then there's a de-1901, and they'll use it, whether or not it's

Sooooo, are you thinking the tag is only for orthography?  Or that orthography
is the more important information, over and above country-specific?

Andrea wrote:
> On 04/23/2002 10:30:43 AM Michael Everson wrote:
> >de-1901 would be undifferentiated for country.
> Then the question I have is just what kind of object is this referencing,
> and what use is this ID? If you're saying that it's identifying a
> particular orthography, and that there are no orthographic differences
> between the different countries, then that makes me ask what kind of object
> de-DE-xx is intended to denote? It can't be making an orthography
> distinction if there are no orthographic differences between the various
> countries. And if there *are* orthographic differences, then of what use is
> de-1901? It would be a new kind of notion -- a collection of (related and
> similar) orthographies. But how is such a notion really useful? You can't
> use it to pick out a spelling checker. I suppose it could be used in
> retrieving data if someone was looking for data in any of these related but
> distinct orthographies, but that seems like too much of an edge case.
> This highlights one of the reasons for the model I propose: we have had a
> practice of suggesting tags without making clear what *kind* of object the
> tag is intended to identify, and this has the potential to leave us with
> tags for which it is unclear what they are distinguishing and when and how
> they should be used.
> Are there orthographic differences between the various countries or not?
> If not, then country codes shouldn't be incorporated into tags that are
> intended to distinguish orthographies but nothing more. If someone needs
> tags to identify sets of data localised for particular countries (for
> purposes other than orthography -- e.g. content, lexica), then that is
> appealing to a notion that is more specific than orthography (such a set of
> data will be in some single orthography), and the country code should be
> added as a qualifier to orthography IDs: e.g. de-1901-DE.
> If there *are* orthographic differences between the various countries, then
> it's fairly clear what kind of object and what specific instance of that
> kind of object something like de-DE-1901 is intended to denote: German as
> spelled in Germany following conventions defined in 1901 (but not as
> spelled in Germany using other conventions, and not as spelled in some
> other country). But it is *not* clear what kind of object de-1901 is, let
> alone the identity of the specific instance. I question the usefulness of
> such ambiguous tags.
> - Peter
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Peter Constable
> Non-Roman Script Initiative, SIL International
> 7500 W. Camp Wisdom Rd., Dallas, TX 75236, USA
> Tel: +1 972 708 7485
> E-mail: <>
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