Peter_Constable@sil.org Peter_Constable@sil.org
Thu, 5 Sep 2002 23:14:05 -0500

On 09/05/2002 12:33:55 PM Michael Everson wrote:

>I don't think it makes any sense to suggest that the varieties of
>Spanish spoken in North and South America comprise any kind of
>linguistic unity,

Nobody has claimed that varieties of Spanish spoken in North and South
America comprise any kind of linguistic unity. What *has* been claimed is
that there is a real user need to characterise the linguistic nature of
*data* that has been authored by constraining usage so as specifically to
be applicable to any variety of Spanish spoken in North or South America.

>and despite repeated requests for any actual
>evidence, no such proof has been forthcoming.

I've heard this topic discussed numerous times on various lists, with
various people from different companies describing the lexical differences,
and the fact that they manage to avoid enough differences to create content
that's useful throughout the region. I've heard enough discussion to
convince me there's a problem needing a solution.

>Acordingly, and as this
>code is intended for some kind of locale tagging

Locale?? For everything that's tricky, are we simply going to overload that
vague notion?

It also doesn't solve John's problem. He can't put a locale identifier in a
metadata field intended for characterising the linguistic variety. I
suspect that this makes little sense as a locale identifier: I'm guessing
that there are no useful data attributes common throughout the region --
not currency symbol, not time zone, not date formats, not address
formats... -- *except* the fact that it's possible to create Spanish
content that is neutral to each dialect in the region.

>SIL doesn't have an "American Spanish" code, does it?

No. The Ethnologue claims to catalogue only one specific kind of category:
individual language. It also doesn't catalogue writing systems, or
orthographies, or any kind of sub-language variant (it documents some
dialects, but makes no attempt to catalogue them). But these are all
category types that can be identified using tags provided by RFC 3066. So,
unfortunately your observation proves nothing.

- 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: <peter_constable@sil.org>