declaring language in html/xhtml

John Cowan jcowan at
Tue Dec 14 03:41:30 CET 2004

Martin Duerst scripsit:

> 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.

I agree in principle, but...

It's a start.  From the publication of RFC 1766 until now, no one
has ever even *tried* to solve this problem.  The list is a first
draft, is open to additions and deletions from those with knowledge,
and is not intended to ever be definitive, just useful.

> 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.


The man that wanders far                        jcowan at
from the walking tree                 
        --first line of a non-existent poem by:         John Cowan

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