Script codes in RFC 3066

Sean M. Burke sburke at
Wed Apr 9 15:26:05 CEST 2003

At 05:59 PM 2003-04-09 -0400, John Cowan wrote:
>I think your [Caoimhin O Donnaile's] use cases are quite good, although 
>they are drawn from the fairly well-understood families Indo-European and 

Since we are on a linguistic digression...

Bob Dixon's /Rise and Fall of Languages/,
argues that the tree ("hierarchical") model of relatedness is prone to a 
problem like "when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail"; 
and that Indo-European languages' relatedness is pretty successfully 
classifiable as tree-like, and similarly a few other groups like 
Austronesian and Polynesian; but that with plenty of other areas, the 
hierarchy model is quite unenlightening at times -- as with the 
relationship of Athapaskan and Tlingit, Northern Iroquoian and Cherokee 
(altho if you look too close at Cayuga historically, there's some untreely 
things just there too), Haida and the rest of its areal group, or Zuni and 
the rest of its areal group.

In short, I think of the "oboy, languages fit together like trees!" 
approach as like the linguistic equivalent of wainscotting -- often perfect 
for the task at hand; stylistically rather Euro and pre-WWI; but not 
exactly the Universal And Fundamental Building Material, and not even close.

Sean M. Burke

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