Language attributes- what are they?

Tex Texin tex at
Thu Dec 30 23:35:49 CET 2004


(I am just sending this to ietf-languages.)

I am surprised that sort order would not be considered part of language. I
thought the ordering of the characters to be an important and distinguishing
aspect of languages (At least some languages. Those with large character sets
perhaps not.)
I know that some languages have multiple sort orders, perhaps it is just the
organization of the alphabet that is important and not the more detailed
sorting that is important.

I have also been wanting to ask about date formats. I would have thought that
date formats are more a locale issue, but some people have insisted that
language determines date format, in particular ordering of year, month and day,
and that it is not a function of locale. Personally, I wouldn't think dates are
linguistic, since some languages use more than one format (Japan, and Japanese
for example).

Is it possible to identify and list which attributes are appropriate
considerations for association by language, and perhaps some of the ones that
might be mistaken for attributes but are not. Perhaps such a list will help
establish the appropriateness of which tag to use.


Peter Constable wrote:
> IIRC, I was uncertain at the time about what to do wrt sorting. I have since concluded that sort order is a presentation issue that, while linguistically related, is out of scope for language identifiers. (Note that there is no common usage scenario in which it makes sense to declare the sorted order of content.) Sort order may certainly be in scope for a locale identifier, but not for a "language" tag.

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