Proposed Successor to RFC 3066 (language tags)

Peter Constable petercon at
Sat Dec 6 08:19:56 CET 2003

> From: ietf-languages-bounces at [mailto:ietf-languages-
> bounces at] On Behalf Of Addison Phillips [wM]
> Sent: Sunday, November 23, 2003 10:15 AM

> I've always taken 'zh' to mean "Chinese", which is, as we all
> pretty non-specific. I think that's actually the ISO639 position,
> rfc3066 inherits.
> I think it is also well recognized that this is not really adequate
> anyone's needs in tagging Chinese languages and dialects.

There are also situations in which less specific tags can be useful. For
instance, while certain distinctions may be linguistically valid, a
platform vendor might not want to support a large number of distinctions
when resources can be shared in common, or present many
finely-differentiated choices to confuse users. 

That's not to say that inexplicit tags are better in all situations...

> Sub-language tag registration really bothers me, though. A glance at
> IANA registry shows a large-ish number of tags that were registered
> then
> deprecated because ISO639 recognized them as full-fledged languages
> (whatever *that* means)...

Once we have ISO 639-3, perhaps this will be less of an issue --
assuming the RFC gets updated to incorporate that -- because many/most
of these kinds of distinctions that will be of most interest will be
available without registration. (Speaking of part 3, I need to get back
to work on that...)

> If 'zh' is generic Chinese (whatever
> that
> is), 

Whatever that is, that is what zh must be.

Peter Constable

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