Counting Heads

John Cowan cowan at
Wed May 28 08:19:55 CEST 2003

Doug Ewell scripsit:

> BTW, regarding the policy question about mixing country and script
> subtags, I think it's clear that the precedent set by "de-AT-1901" and
> company should be followed, making the order "language-country-script".
> Others have already pointed out that you can't always parse these
> left-to-right or right-to-left for "importance" anyway.

Well, that is at least an argument.

I disagree: I think that "1901" is not a script, but a more detailed
specification of spelling system than that given by "AT".  Script is
clearly a bigger roadblock to intelligibility than spelling system is:
I have no trouble with en-gb or any of the other national variants,
but en-brai is a whole different story;  I'd have to completely learn
Braille to understand it.

That being so, since the whole idea of having sectioned tags is that
partial left matches may be (but are not required to be) useful, script
should come first.  The difference between de-at-1901 and de-at-1996
is much smaller than between de-latn and de-brai.

John Cowan  jcowan at
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