Registered sgn-* tags

Mark Davis mark.davis at
Mon Jul 12 20:38:00 CEST 2004

This is a good point, Michael. 3066bis does allow for tags in the future
that would cover your requirements. The only problem is the syntax, not the
semantics. sgn-BR works fine, since it is <lang>-<region>, but sgn-BE-fr
doesn't, since it is <lang>-<region>-<lang>. So it is grandfathered in.

So let's consider what we would do with a new tag such as "Spanish Sign
Language as used in Canada". There are quite a few possibilities that would
be valid, and we could discuss which would be the best pattern. Some of them

1. Register a language subtag 'sgnes' (registered language subtags can be 4
or more letters). It would then automatically allow for the generative use
of sgnes-CA or sgnes-US, etc. Each new language (that has variants according
to country) would require a new registration, but it would be fewer
registrations than required by the current 3066, since that requires a new
registration for each language-country combination.

2. "sgn" is in an interesting way much like a script, and encoding a Script
value 'Sign' would permit a wide variety of usages without *any* further
registration required, like ms-Sign-TH (Malay Sign Language as used in


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Michael Everson" <everson at>
To: "Doug Ewell" <dewell at>
Cc: <ietf-languages at>
Sent: Monday, July 12, 2004 10:43
Subject: Re: Registered sgn-* tags

> At 10:15 -0700 2004-07-12, Doug Ewell wrote:
> >Would these not have been valid under the generative grammar of RFC
> >3066?  We have sgn-BR for Brazilian Sign Language, sgn-CO for Colombian
> >Sign Language, and so forth.
> They might well have been.
> >How does this differ from "Sign Languages as used in Brazil," "Sign
> >Languages as used in Colombia," etc. which would be the
> >interpretation according to the generative grammar?
> Don't ask me.
> >I wasn't on this list when they were registered, so I missed the
> >discussion.  Can someone summarize it for me?  I'm just trying to
> >understand why it was felt necessary to register them instead of
> >letting them be generated.
> Because the user community wanted to be able to reference properly
> registered entities, which I consider to be a useful thing,
> regardless of how clever 3066bis is.
> >Of course, the "extended" language tags sgn-BE-fr, sgn-BE-nl, and
> >sgn-CH-de are a different matter.  They don't follow the grammar of
> >either RFC 3066 or draft-04, so there was no choice; they had to be
> >registered under the former and grandfathered into the latter.
> There is a requirement to be able to generate more of this kind of
> tag, for signed speech. I hope that "grandfathered" doesn't mean that
> such will be forbidden in future, because that will not do.
> -- 
> Michael Everson * * Everson Typography *  *
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