backpeddling on suggestion

Doug Ewell dewell at
Sun Aug 15 18:44:39 CEST 2004

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

> lux is not a subtag in the prototype registry. Things starting with
> i-* are all either permanently grandfathered or redundant. Yay.

Things starting with i- can only be grandfathered.  They cannot be
redundant, since tags are not allowed to begin with any singleton other
than x-, and explicitly not i-.

> Luckily, extlang in the current draft references nothing and cannot be
> used currently. One of the nice things about having an IANA Language
> Subtag Registry is that if and when extlang tags do get created, they
> can be registered in whatever is the most reasonable form. Just
> because ISO 639 does something no longer means that RFC 3066bis
> language tags have to do exactly the same thing. If a particular new
> ISO 639 code registration causes a problem, then the langtags registry
> can work around it. draft-langtags has to be revised before ISO 639-3
> macro languages can be used as extlangs anyway, so we can solve those
> problems then, when looking at the completed ISO 639-3 work, instead
> of guessing now.

I don't see where the conflict is.  An RFC 3066bis tag cannot begin with
an extended language subtag; they can only be used after a primary
language subtag.  So there would be no confusion if "min" meant one
thing as a primary language subtag (derived from ISO 639-2) and
something else as an extlang subtag (derived from ISO 639-3) or in a
grandfathered tag.

So if ISO 639-3 wanted to assign the ISO 639-3 code "min" to the Min
language group in China, there would be no conflict with Minangkabau,
because the type of subtag is different (just as "bo" could either mean
Tibetan or Bolivia).  And if ISO 639-3 DOESN'T want to assign "min"
because it would conflict with ISO 639-2, that's OK too; the
grandfathered tag would remain and be the canonical mapping for zh-xxx
(whatever would be composed using extlang subtags).  Exceptional cases
like this don't break the usefulness of the extlang mechanism.

-Doug Ewell
 Fullerton, California

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