Peter_Constable at Peter_Constable at
Tue Apr 15 10:04:26 CEST 2003

John Cowan <jcowan at> wrote on 04/15/2003 08:40:48 AM:

> > It can't mean something ambiguous and subject to significant change, 
> > as "official current use". 
> That's vague, not ambiguous.  "En" is vague, because it means "some kind 
> English or other", but if that's all you can say, then that's all you 
can say.
> The price of infinite precision is infinite verbosity.

I'm concerned about ambiguity, not vagueness. I agree that vagueness is 
something we allow for. But, suppose at some point in time "Azerbaijani" 
becomes an official language of more than one state, but that there are 
differences in these two states (dialectal, or perhaps one uses Latin and 
the other Cyrillic or Arabic). Or, suppose that official use in a given 
state changes suddenly, e.g. a wholesale abandonment of Latin for 
Armenian. In such situations, "official current use" would become 
ambiguous -- it would mean *different* things according to different 
contexts. The vague denotation, "Azeri in general" is not subject to such 

- Peter

Peter Constable

Non-Roman Script Initiative, SIL International
7500 W. Camp Wisdom Rd., Dallas, TX 75236, USA
Tel: +1 972 708 7485

More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list