Counting Heads

John Cowan jcowan at
Thu May 29 13:07:42 CEST 2003

Doug Ewell scripsit:

> 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.  

Well, that's probably true for applications that apply tags, but probably
false for applications that interpret them, since such applications will
only handle a small subset of the thousands of tags already on the list.

> 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.

*If* you need to solve it, you can do so by looking for four-letter and
two-letter tags.

John Cowan  jcowan at
"In the sciences, we are now uniquely privileged to sit side by side
with the giants on whose shoulders we stand."
        --Gerald Holton

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