Language Identifier List Comments, updated

Ivan Herman ivan at
Mon Dec 27 12:31:10 CET 2004

Tex Texin wrote:
> Thanks Ivan. I made most of the changes you and Andrew proposed.
> 1) I agree that the codes with han* ideally should indicate Simplified and
> Traditional, and then I probably should also do the same for other scripts
> (latn, cyrl, arab, etc.)

I think Chinese is unique. The difference in the simplified and traditional is essential 
and created a 'cut' in chinese writing which is much more important than for any other 
scripts (afaik).

> I can do it, although at some point, the table is going to get very large, and
> I wonder if it isn't better for that information to not be provided with each
> entry, and instead to provide a pointer to a table of script codes and names.
> I'll come back to this later.

> In any event, the table is supposed to be about determining the language codes
> to use.
> It is not clear to me when I add these codes whether I should add them with a
> regional subtag or not.
> Are they speaking the same language or a variation?
> 3) I don't know the answer for frisian.

I will try to ask around me (I live in Amsterdam, after all...) but I am not sure if I'll 
get a proper answer...

> 4) Provencal is already listed, it goes by the code "oc" for Occitan. (If I
> understand correctly.)

Ah. Language purist probably would say they are not the same, but then we have no end in 

Thank you


> (Language names are a source of confusion. Sometimes what I would consider the
> colloquoial english term is the official French term, and often the names have
> many spellings and variants.)
> 5) My (now oft-repeated) objective is to drive or derive a criteria or policy
> for name conventions with respect to the regional subtags. If a table of this
> nature is of more general value (and I think it is) I am hopeful that some
> linguistic body will take it on. I don't have the background or the time to
> fully develop it.
> SIL, Unicode, or some other organization would be much better at this and a
> table of recommended tags would be an asset to many aspects of web and software
> development and content.
> tex
> tex
> Ivan Herman wrote:
>>some comments below based on my personal knowledge and background...
>>- I am surprised to see hu-HU and hu-SI as the only Hungarian extra tags. The Hungarian
>>minority in Slovenia is very small, the three biggest Hungarian minorities are in Romania,
>>Serbia and Slovakia, with also a minority in Ukraine and Austria. Even the last two are
>>(afaik) larger than the one in Slovenia. So either one has to add them all, or none...
>>B.t.w., if we really want to come no niceties, there is also a slovakian and serbian
>>minority in Hungary, so, eg, a sk-HU might be an issue (I certainly heard people speaking
>>serbian around Budapest when I was a kid). Finally, there is also a German minority in
>>Hungary, well alive and kicking (as an anecdote: the current German Foreign Minister,
>>Joschka Fisher, comes from that community...)
>>- AFAIK, catalan is also an official language of Andorra. You pick French there, then one
>>must be systematic and add catalan, too...
>>- I also think that for a casual reader it helps to say explicitly that zh-hant is the
>>Traditional Script in Chinese and zh-hans is the Simplified one. There is no distinction
>>right now. Also, I would add zh-hant to Hong Kong, and Macao, too.
>>- You list frisian both for the Netherlands and Germany. I am not sure whether they are
>>identical (just as fr-BE and fr-FR are not considered identical in this list...)
>>- I learn something every day... is walloon a genuinly different language? I thought fr-BE
>>would cover it... just nl-BE covers Flemish!
>>- Political problem: you list Yugoslavia *and* Serbia/Montenegro. Both refer to the same
>>political entity, afaik, and in both cases the Albanian of Kosovo has been forgotten! ;-(
>>- There is strong movement to revive Provencal in France. Whether it deserves a separate
>>entry, I am not sure, but you might want to consider it
>>I hope that helps


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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