declaring language in html/xhtml

Ivan Herman ivan at
Tue Dec 14 08:31:31 CET 2004

I may misunderstand the exact goal. I comment on Hungarian.

- Yes, Hungarian is an official minority language in Romania, Slovakia, the Serb Republic, 
and Ukraine, and is also spoken by a minority in Austria. These are 'juridical' facts in 
terms of having Hungarian newspapers, schools, etc, in, say Romania
- However, I do not know of any significant difference in the *language*, as spoken, 
between the Hungarian spoken in Hungary and in the neighbouring countries. It is not at 
all comparable to, say, the differences between US and British English, or Mexican Spanish 
and the one spoken in Spain. I have never seen hu-RO, for example.

Mandarin Chinese is again different, afaik, in the sense that it has the simplified and 
traditional character sets, which is crossing country boundaries (simlified is used in 
Mainland China and Singapore, traditional in Taiwan and Hong Kong). So one has zh-hant, 
zh-hans *and* zh-hk, zh-sg, zh-tw... ie, that is a category apart.


John Cowan wrote:
> Keld Jørn Simonsen scripsit:
>>Hmm, Danish is an official language in Denmark, Greenland, the
>>Faroe Islands, and an official minority language in the German state
> Ah, excellent.  This is the kind of review I've been looking for.
> In fact it was a brain fart on my part to mention Danish here, as I
> already show it as official in Denmark and Greenland.  I already list
> es-US on the basis of Spanish being official in New Mexico (a state
> of the US), so certainly da-DE is legitimate.  A better example of a
> non-listed language would be Finnish (official only in Finland).
> The languages currently on the list are:
> Arabic, Bengali, Chamorro, Croatian, Danish, Dutch, English,
> French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Lingala, Malay,
> Mandarin Chinese, Portuguese, Serbian, Sindhi, Spanish, Swahili, Swati,
> Swedish, Tamil, Tswana, Turkish, Urdu.
> If anyone thinks that any languages should be added, please let me know.


Ivan Herman
W3C Communications Team, Head of Offices
C/o W3C Benelux Office at CWI, Kruislaan 413
1098SJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
tel: +31-20-5924163; mobile: +31-641044153;
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