Counting Heads

Doug Ewell dewell at
Thu May 29 23:55:56 CEST 2003

John Cowan <jcowan at reutershealth dot com> wrote:

>> 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.

Hmm, "handle"...  I'm sure most, maybe all, applications will NOT do
anything special with every single language tag (e.g. spell-checking,
voice synthesis, locale matching), but I would expect them to
*recognize* all the tags.

For example, they should know that "ba" and "bal" and "ban" (etc.) are
valid RFC 3066 tags, but not "bad" or "bag" (or "bak", which is valid
ISO 639-2 but superseded by "ba").

Can an application really "support" or "adhere to" RFC 3066 while only
recognizing one or two tags?

Of course, I'm not counting apps that haven't kept up with the latest
additions to the list.  I doubt there are many programs today that
support Kashubian "csb".  Heck, with Thursday's new IANA registrations,
even my LTag application <>
isn't up-to-date any more.

-Doug Ewell
 Fullerton, California

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