Counting Heads

Doug Ewell dewell at
Thu May 29 09:20:05 CEST 2003

Jo Wilkes <jwilkes at metabit dot com> wrote:

>> Software needs to treat the normal separable use of subtags in one
>> way and these inseparable subtags in a different way.
>> We ought to have a lookup table saying which are the inseparable
>> subtags.
> Adding yet another Lookuptable is not a good idea.
> The problem with LUTs is that they need to be maintained. In the
> standard, in all the software that has them inside, on all of the
> installed sofware... a logic in the separator character saves all this
> maintenance.

You're going to need lookup tables anyway.  ISO 639-1 and 639-2 language
codes, IANA-registered language codes, and ISO 3166-1 country codes all
have to be stored in some kind of table, at least so applications can
tell when an invalid one is being used.  And these tables have to be
maintained anyway, since all of them are added to or changed from time
to time.

The problem of which hyphenated subtags are inseparable (zh-hakka) and
which are not (de-AT-1901) does need to be solved.  (You could have
de-Latn-AT-1901 or de-Latf-AT-1901.)  But I don't see any reason not to
implement this with a lookup table.

-Doug Ewell
 Fullerton, California

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