Language Identifier List Comments, updated

John Cowan jcowan at
Mon Dec 27 19:35:24 CET 2004

JFC (Jefsey) Morfin scripsit:

> Please reread what you just wrote. "there is no reason to qualify [Catalan] 
> with a region subtag": only an acknowledged Catalan language authority can 
> say that. etc. 

That's equivalent to the statement that only an acknowledged English language
authority can say that English comes in national orthographic variants, which
is absurd for two reasons:  (a) anyone can see that this is so by inspecting
various English-language texts, and (b) there is no acknowledged English language
authority, never has been, and almost certainly never will be.

> You are in the process of defining the language of the 
> countries. What IETF can only do is to say "if there is a need to qualify 
> Catalan this is the way to do it".

That is what the RFC says.  Tex's list is an attempt to explain in practical
terms and without normative authority whether or not Catalan really needs to
be qualified by country.

> The RFC 1591/3490 define that authorities, and IANA acknowledges them, for 
> the only Internet governed language related issue which is IDNA (this is 
> discussed below).

Language tags are very widely used throughout the industry.

> The IDNA use the BCP47 (ie. RFC 3066 which is discussed here) to define the 
> IDN language table.

But IDNA is not the only customer for RFC 3066, far from it.

> Please review:
> Phillips-08 draft ABNF is similar but conflicts with the ubmission template 
> of this IANA procedure which is not in ABNF:

It is not reasonable to expect an IANA procedure to refer to a
revision of an RFC that is still in I-D state.  I expect that the
referent of BCP 47 will be updated in due course after the new draft
is published as an RFC.

> You seem to say that language 
> tags which are meaningless to you are irrelevant, while I say this is not 
> our cup of tea and we are not to care if a language tag is absurd, except 
> to document an escape procedure if the user finds it absurd for _him_. I 
> submit that we only have to provide an ABNF (what the draft does) and that 
> escape procedure (it does not document). 

The current I-D does exactly what you want.  Tex's list does something else,
which (a) is not part of the IETF, (b) is not normative, (c) need not concern you.

> I never said that anything should be "forced", but that 2 alpha overlaps 
> the ccTLD list creating user's confusion. There is a need for a simple 
> formatted contextual cultural definition. It cannot be 2 and 3 alphas. It 
> has to be 2 + "*" or 3. It is likely that most of the new usages will 
> stabilize using 3 letters (over 7250 3 letters tags, a few 2 letters tags 
> will be odd and resource consuming in new applications).

Your facts are incorrect, and your assumptions are unfounded.

John Cowan  jcowan at
The Penguin shall hunt and devour all that is crufty, gnarly and
bogacious; all code which wriggles like spaghetti, or is infested with
blighting creatures, or is bound by grave and perilous Licences shall it
capture.  And in capturing shall it replicate, and in replicating shall
it document, and in documentation shall it bring freedom, serenity and
most cool froodiness to the earth and all who code therein.  --Gospel of Tux

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