Counting Heads

Peter_Constable at Peter_Constable at
Wed May 28 15:58:25 CEST 2003

ietf-languages-bounces at wrote on 05/28/2003 02:00:18 PM:

> I agree, but it violates the hypothesis I'm making about subsidiary tags
> (which, of course, could be balderdash). IOW, you're treating zh-hakka
> a language (or near enough to a language), so the tag is really:
>   lang = zh-hakka
>   script = han(x)
>   ortho = null
> Rather than:
>   lang = zh
>   ortho = hakka
>   script = han(x)

The former is definitely correct, and the latter, wrong.

> There are lots of tags that represent dialectical differences like this.

While attitudes on what consistitutes a "dialect" vary, from a
linguistic/sociolinguistic perspective, these are distinct languages. I'm
in complete agreement with John on this one.

> The
> problem is recognizing the "tipping point" when the dialect becomes more
> important than the script, enough so that it warrants an exception to the
> pattern.

I don't think we need to think in terms of exception to a pattern in the
case of zh-hakka: (of course, I could be expected to say this:) if a
registered multi-part tag does not make any distinction related to written
form and corresponds to an entry in the Ethnologue, it is considered to
denote an "individual language", and the parts should not be separated when
adding qualifiers to distinguish orthography, spelling, or vocabulary or
other sub-language distinctions.

- Peter

Peter Constable

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

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