German as used in Liechtenstein (was: Re: Language Identifier List up for comments)

Randy Presuhn randy_presuhn at
Tue Dec 21 20:36:47 CET 2004

Hi -

> From: "JFC (Jefsey) Morfin" <jefsey at>
> To: "Martin Duerst" <duerst at>; "Mark Davis" <mark.davis at>; "John Cowan" <jcowan at>
> Cc: <www-international at>; <ietf-languages at>
> Sent: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 5:57 AM
> Subject: Re: German as used in Liechtenstein (was: Re: Language Identifier List up for comments)
> Tagging means to deliver the users (end user,
> developper, application) with an exact information grid.

No.  "Exact" is not what is needed.  If it were, we'd by tagging things
down to the level of idiolects and perhaps even finer.  The point of
tagging is to provide guidance to applications in cases where knowledge
of the language/locale is needed to render it "properly".  Other uses
can be imagined, but let's not get carried away.

> IMHO exact means
> independent from subjective and accidental external information and
> complete.

Consequently, "exact" is not what would be appropriate here.  There
are probably still a few languages out there that we don't know about.
Even the decision whether two languages are distinct languages, and
not dialects, is sometimes subject to endless debate.

> The identification is about "". There are 239
> country codes in ISO-3166 and 6000 or so languages in ISO 639, this means
> that there are 239x6000 tags.

In theory.  The number of useful tags will be *much* smaller, particularly
if we're only concerned about the rendering of web pages.  That's why
equivalence classes are so important.  Without them, developers would
have an intolerable situation.

> Now, you can come with equivalence tables from your own expertise or from
> authoritative concerned bodies. These tables will be subject to changes
> (for example if a law changes on the way to spell some words) and may be
> subject to some additional tag elements such as:

If one has laws regulating spelling, one has more serious problems
than tagging to worry about.


More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list