New Last Call: 'Tags for Identifying Languages' to BCP

Bruce Lilly blilly at
Sun Dec 12 18:02:09 CET 2004

> Date: Sat, 11 Dec 2004 12:14:42 -0800
> From: "Randy Presuhn" <randy_presuhn at>
> Subject: Re: Ietf-languages Digest, Vol 24, Issue 5
> To: <ietf-languages at>, <ietf at>
> Message-ID: <002f01c4dfbe$0d218f60$7f1afea9 at oemcomputer>
> Hi -
> > From: "Bruce Lilly" <blilly at>
> > To: <ietf-languages at>
> > Cc: <ietf at>
> > Sent: Friday, December 10, 2004 4:54 PM
> > Subject: Re: Ietf-languages Digest, Vol 24, Issue 5
> ...
> > Eliminating bilingual descriptions for the language,
> > country (and UN region) codes leaves implementors
> > in a quandary.
> ...
> Huh?  These are language TAGS.  If, for some reason, some implementor
> thought it made sense to display one of these in a localized form (rather
> than just using them to determine what locale, etc. should be used in
> rendering some text) there's no requirement that the English-language
> country names that appear in the registration be used.

That's not the point. The point is that under RFC 3066,
the bilingual ISO language and country code lists are
considered definitive. An implementor can (and has)
therefore use those lists for (e.g.) providing users
with menus (in either language) from which a language
or country code may be selected.  By declaring the ISO
lists no longer definitive, and by providing only
English descriptions of the codes in the proposed
revised registry which would be used instead of the ISO
lists, the draft proposal deprives implementors of
being able to provide that functionality (viz. an
official description in French of codes).

> Indeed, a UI 
> could just as well draw a map as display a name.

That would be awfully difficult for a character-based
UI, and would not be useful for language codes. Nor
would it be helpful for users who lack map-reading
skills, but who recognize "Allemagne" when they see it.

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