Language Identifier List Criteria

Misha Wolf Misha.Wolf at
Tue Dec 21 16:29:18 CET 2004

Hi Tex,

You wrote that you are now keeping the stuff in a database.  That 
would enable you to provide both views:

1.  What tags do I need for the language(s) of country/region X?

2.  What tags exist for (derivatives of) language Y?

The answer to Q1, for the PRC, might be: zh, zh-Hans, zh-CN, ...

The answer to Q2, for zh, might be:
-  zh is [useful in/for ...] | [useless]
-  zh-CN is [useful in/for ...] | [useless]
-  zh-Hans [is useful in/for ...] | [useless]
-  etc


> On another related topic, I am considering for the next version 
> of the table to organize it differently. It strikes me that for 
> my needs, and my intended audience, that it is not as interesting 
> to list languages and noting which regions they are spoken, as to 
> list each of the regions and note the languages used there. If I 
> do that, I do not have to deal with meaningless identifiers and 
> map them to the correct ones to use.
> So I might have:
> region	languages
> JP	ja
> LI	de-CH (maybe others, I don't know.)
> CH	de-CH, it, fr-FR, rm
> US	en-US, es-US
> CA	fr-CA, en-CA, iu
> With this approach, I can suggest something like the most popular 
> choices, not rule out the existence of other languages being used, 
> the lack of de-LI makes a statement about de-LI vs de-CH, without 
> being as explicit about criteria, other than perhaps a combination 
> of popular choices by major software vendors, offical languages, 
> and claims of encyclopedias and the like as to what is spoken 
> where.
> This approach is more helpful to folks like me who are looking to 
> answer what they need to provide. If someone wants to know how 
> many variants of German they need, they can scan the table for all 
> listings of de and de-*, and even scan just the regions they 
> support to determine their perhaps more exact needs.
> It's also easier for me to accept edits of the list from people 
> suggesting that language xx-YY is used in region ZZ, without a lot 
> of vetting effort.
> Would that work for people?
> tex

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