Language Tag Registrations

Michael Everson everson at
Sun Jun 1 11:17:21 CEST 2003

At 18:52 +0100 2003-05-31, Marion Gunn wrote:
>Dear "IANA" <iana at>, we wish to ask whether the following is 
>a legitimate question for your registry, which people here believe 
>it is:

Why are you writing in the plural? I do not believe for one minute 
that "people here" believe any such thing.

(I have deleted the Unicode list as a recipient as the topic has 
nothing whatsoever to do with the Unicode list. I ought to have also 
deleted the IANA recipient as Michelle's only task regarding these 
matters is to register approved language tags, but I left her on 
because she will doubtless be curious.)

>  >What, then, is the code for the English of 'Northern Ireland'? (GB+NI=UK.)
>Since Ulster, as "IANA" <iana at> knows, is divided by an 
>international border, is the logical reply 'encode Ulster English 
>separately for each side of the border'?

We tag linguistic entities that people need to distinguish with tags. 
The tags serve to identify them. Why don't you read the RFC? It seems 
clear that you don't understand its parameters, since you have 
recently confused locale designations with language tags, and since 
you have ignored the fact that NI refers to Nicaragua, there being no 
ISO 3166 country code for Northern Ireland.

Do you believe that there is a single entity linguistic entity, 
called by Ulster English or any other name, which you think should be 
tagged? Or is this discussion just a red herring to allow you to 
express a political agenda?

>Is Basque separately 'lang-tagged' for ES and FR?

No. ISO 639 gives "baq/eus", and ISO 639-1 gives "eu". To date, no 
one has proposed separate tags for any of the five dialects of Basque.

>We ask, because we do not know, and if you do not know either, that 
>is okay, and we wish you well in bringing all queries to harmonious 
>conclusions, if possible.

Why are you writing in the plural? The answer to your question is 
that, in the absence of further discussion, "the English of Northern 
Ireland" would be seem to be equatable with "Ulster English", and 
could get a tag en-GB-ulster or en-ulster (cf. en-scouse). Having 
said that, it would seem to me that the divisions of Hiberno-English 
are rather complex, and a proper dialect study would seem appropriate 
if it were deemed necessary to distinguish them with tags.

Ulster Scots of course would be something else again, if it differs 
from Lallans.
Michael Everson * * Everson Typography *  *

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