Here comes the Yiddish

Michael Everson
Wed, 4 Dec 2002 10:07:19 +0000

At 19:14 -0700 2002-12-03, Sean M. Burke wrote:
>At 20:49 2002-12-03 +0000, Michael Everson wrote:
>>Script codes are intended to be an attribute of a script tag, and 
>>for the specific needs of modern spell-checkers was the deciding 
>>and practical business case. There is no script code for 1996. That 
>>was a language reform.
>Okay, so language codes /can/ cover orthographies, excellent!  I 
>want language codes for Yiddish in the two common orthographies for 
>it.  What codes do you suggest?

The case of German is different, because there are no 
"orthography-within-a-script" codes.

Latin is not a common orthography for Yiddish. It is an exceptional 
orthography, surely. I have a book of Yiddish jokes written in Latin. 
I would not consider it standard.

Language codes should not cover script variants of this kind. Script 
codes should do that. Lang=Az. Script=Cyrl or Script=Latn.
>>I do not want us to go down the road of making a "language code" 
>>for Portuguese written in the Arabic script.
>The mere fact that a formalism is potentially overly powerful isn't 
>a problem in and of itself.  The fact that one can construct a AA-BB 
>code for "Afrihili as spoken on Pitcairn Island" isn't a good 
>argument against AA-BB codes, in the same way that one could 
>conceivably express "Portuguese written in the Arabic script" isn't 
>an argument against expressing orthographic variance at the level of 
>different scripts.

Afrihili as spoken on Pitcairn Island, if given a code, would need to 
be linguistically distinct from Afrihili as spoken in Iceland. 
Otherwise it wouldn't need to be distinguished.

>Moreover, I somehow doubt that your approving these Yiddish codes 
>would begin a landslide of people trying to permutate the whole 
>namespace just for kicks.

No, but it would make the script code standard pointless and I am not 
going to do that. I believe it would be wrong.

>But approving these could would actually help distinguish two widely 
>used writing systems that do exist and that people do want to have 
>language tags for.

To my mind this comes right out of the blue, to test the RFC. 
Bringing in the German orthography argument is spurious, because, as 
I have said, there is a business case for distinguishing the 
orthographies, and the script codes cannot be used for script tagging 
because there is no script "1996". If German were written in 
Cyrillic, we would not add a language code de-Cyrl for it. We would 
use both language tagging and script tagging.

>I see no clear ,motivating, and practical reason for expressly 
>disallowing script codes from being components of language codes.

See above.

>And I see at least one good reason for allowing it:  It fills a 
>need, easily, simply -- and even somewhat intuitively!

Your simple solution is to use language tagging and script tagging. 
Yiddish in Latin is not a different language from Yiddish in Hebrew.
Michael Everson * * Everson Typography *  *