han.steenwijk at han.steenwijk at
Fri Nov 21 14:32:32 CET 2003

Hi Allison, hi Mark

The exact meaning of the year tag remains somewhat underspecified. As a year tag 
would be used without registration, it is not possible to give the needed extra 
information in another place, like in the RFC 3066 registration forms for 
"de-1901" and "de-1996":

Tag to be registered       : de-1901
English name of language   : German, traditional orthography

Tag to be registered       : de-1996
English name of language   : German, orthography of 1996

As long as we agree that only orthography reforms are to be indicated by the 
year tag, that may be no big problem. But I forsee another possible use of this 
tag, namely to indicate specific periods in  the historical development of a 
language. For instance, if I wanted to indicate a language variant as pre-19th 
century, I could be tempted to use the year tag, like in "sl-rozaj-1801". Two 
problems arise:

1) one needs to know that this does not refer to an orthography reform;
2) one needs to know that the period before 1801 is meant, and not the period 
after that date.

Maybe one could write something  like "sl-rozaj-/1801" for years that are meant 
as the finishing point of a period and something like "de-1996/" for years that 
are meant as the starting point of a period. (Maybe the forward slash is 
unusable for some technical reason, but that is another point.)
Elaborating on this scheme, one could write something like "sl-rozaj-1801/1900" 
to indicate a 19th century language variant.
If, however, the year tag is only meant to indicate orthography reforms, then 
this should be clearly stated. But the regard for "BCE" dates makes me suspect, 
that more than orthography reforms can be identified by it. 


Prof. Han Steenwijk
Universita di Padova
Dipartimento di Lingue e Letterature Anglo-Germaniche e Slave
Sezione di Slavistica
Via Beldomandi, 1
I-35139 Padova

e-mail: han.steenwijk at
tel.: (39) 049 8278669
fax:  (39) 049 8278679

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