declaring language in html/xhtml

Martin Duerst duerst at
Tue Dec 14 02:33:02 CET 2004

At 22:33 04/12/13, John Cowan wrote:

 >I have such a list, have had it for years, and have never been able
 >to get anyone to review it.  Specifically it is a list of xx-yy and
 >xxx-yy combinations that reflect the Ethnologue's information on
 >"national and official" languages of particular countries.
 >I have excluded languages that are only national/official in a single
 >country: thus Swedish is on the list (it is official in both Sweden
 >and Finland, and in fact takes sharply divergent forms in the two
 >countries), but Danish is not (official only in Denmark).

I think whether a language is official or not in a certain country
is not really relevant to whether to use the country designation or
not. Whether the forms in each of the countries are actually
significantly divergent (e.g. different grammar, orthography,
different vocabulary) is what's relevant. Thus just taking
the Ethnologue as a base doesn't give the right result.

Also, any list, when published, should avoid the impression that
if it contains a two-part language code, that language always
has to be used with a two-part code. For each language affected
(e.g. en), there sure is a large number of examples where the
difference doesn't matter, and in that case, using more than
the language itself as a label would be wrong.

Regards,    Martin. 

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