New version of draft-langtags-phillips posted...

Doug Ewell dewell at
Mon Apr 12 07:57:25 CEST 2004

Addison Phillips [wM] <aphillips at webmethods dot com> wrote:

> The new version of the Internet-Draft 'draft-phillips-langtags-02'
> by Mark Davis and myself has just been posted to the IETF site. It
> is available in both text and PDF format.

Thanks to Addison and Mark for explicitly stating in this revision that
the UN M.49 codes for "selected economic and other groupings" are not to
be used in language tags.

Thanks also for pointing out, by way of example, that "es-419" is the
correct equivalent of the often-discussed "es-americas" code, and not
"es-019" as someone once suggested.  Software vendors and others who are
trying to capture the notion of "Spanish as spoken in the Americas," as
opposed to Spain, are still probably thinking of "Spanish-speaking
countries" and not the United States or points northward.

I did have a bit of trouble at first reading this item:

   o  Example: 'es-419' represents Spanish as spoken in the UN-defined
      'Latin America and Caribbean' region.

Because this is written as an RFC, with the usual legalistic
capitalization of MAY and MUST and SHOULD, I mentally converted this
passage to lowercase and read it as "the undefined region."  I'm sure
this is just me, and no change is necessary.

Just for sport, I put together a list of the M.49 codes for geographical
regions that could be used in language tags.  These are in numeric order
and do not include 891 Serbia and Montenegro, the only currently
permissible M.49 code that refers to a country.  Some of these codes are
supersets of others; I have not enumerated the constituent sub-regions
in this list.

002 Africa
005 South America
009 Oceania
011 Western Africa
013 Central America
014 Eastern Africa
015 Northern Africa
017 Middle Africa
018 Southern Africa
019 Americas
021 Northern America
029 Caribbean
030 Eastern Asia
035 South-eastern Asia
039 Southern Europe
053 Australia and New Zealand
054 Melanesia
057 Micronesia
061 Polynesia
062 South-central Asia
142 Asia
145 Western Asia
150 Europe
151 Eastern Europe
154 Northern Europe
155 Western Europe
419 Latin America and the Caribbean

There is also a code "003 North America" mentioned at:

This is distinct from "021 Northern America" in that it also encompasses
Central America and the Caribbean, which would otherwise be covered
under 419.  This code, like all of the "economic grouping" codes, appear
to violate the Statistics Bureau's principle that "In order to ensure
consistency in statistics and for convenience, each country or area is
shown in one region only," so I wonder if it should be excluded from RFC
3066bis usage as well.

Cheers and Happy Easter,

-Doug Ewell
 Fullerton, California

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