Counting Heads

Doug Ewell dewell at
Wed May 28 11:12:22 CEST 2003

John Cowan <cowan at mercury dot ccil dot org> wrote:

> 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.

I suppose I should have been clearer.  Of course "1901" is not a script.
What I meant to say was, since RFC 3066 specifies that two-letter second
subtags are ISO 3166-1 country codes, the country code (if present)
should always be the second subtag.  In other words, the precedent (if
any) set by "de-AT-1901" is not:


but rather:


> 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.

I couldn't agree more that script differences are more significant than
national usage differences or orthographic reforms.  I just didn't think
there was unanimity that the subtags had to be ordered left-to-right by
significance, especially since the order of significance isn't the same
for every application (I'd rather read es-Latn or de-Latn than en-Arab,
but a Serb might prefer sr-Latn and sr-Cyrl over anything_else-Latn and

But no matter what order is finally chosen, software will be written
that supports these extended tags, and everything will be OK.  No
buildings will collapse if the order of subtags isn't defined

-Doug Ewell
 Fullerton, California

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