Request: Language Code "de-DE-1996"

Martin Duerst
Wed, 24 Apr 2002 11:56:39 +0900

Hello John,

At 20:06 02/04/23 -0400, John Cowan wrote:
>A. Vine scripsit:
> > Now, I'm assuming you were trying to make the distinction between the 1996
> > orthography for Germany's German vs. that of Austria's German.  The 
> question is,
> > is the de-AT-1996 pointing to a different orthography from 
> de-DE-1996?  And if
> > so, shouldn't it be de-1996-AT?  But 3066 doesn't allow that order.
>Actually it does. A two-letter first subtag is always a country code,
>but a later subtag may or may not be a country code, since its validity
>depends on registration.  You can register de-42-US-314159 if you
>can think of something to make it mean, and there is no reason to
>think that the "-US-" part refers to the U.S.

I would claim that you cannot register de-42-US-314159, not because
of the -US-, but because of the -42-. RFC 3066 says:

  The following rules apply to the second subtag:

    - All 2-letter subtags are interpreted as ISO 3166 alpha-2 country
      codes from [ISO 3166], or subsequently assigned by the ISO 3166
      maintenance agency or governing standardization bodies, denoting
      the area to which this language variant relates.

    - Tags with second subtags of 3 to 8 letters may be registered with
      IANA, according to the rules in chapter 5 of this document.

    - Tags with 1-letter second subtags may not be assigned except after
      revision of this standard.

The question is whether 'letter' in the first clause means 'alphabetic,
but not digits', or whether it means 'any letter, including digits'.
Given the overall structure, it seems very clear to me that the second
interpretation makes much more sense.

Regards,   Martin.