Linguasphere -- An appeal for clarity

Misha Wolf Misha.Wolf at
Fri Jun 4 19:05:31 CEST 2004

I disagree.  Reading the various mails, I feel that people are 
arguing at cross-purposes.  It's one thing to say:

   This ain't any good for "Accept-Language" and "xml:lang", 
   so it's Off Topic.

It's quite another thing to say:

   This is a Bad Thing.

Now I don't have a view as to whether it is a Bad Thing or a 
Good Thing.  But I recognise confusion when I see it.

I'm not sure what you mean by "overlap our domain of interest".
It is about language identification so it clearly overlaps our 
domain of interest.  If it were a Good Thing but unsuited for 
eg "Accept-Language" and "xml:lang" then it would be perfectly 
fine for it to be adopted as an ISO standard and for some other 
RFC (or other spec) to define how it is to be used, eg in XML, 
for example via linguasphere:lang="abcd".

Misha Wolf
Standards Manager
Product and Platform Architecture Group
Reuters Limited

-----Original Message-----
From: Jeremy Carroll [mailto:jjc at] 
Sent: 04 June 2004 17:26
To: Misha Wolf
Cc: ietf-languages at
Subject: Re: Linguasphere -- An appeal for clarity

Hi Misha

 > Please can we keep separate the discussions of:

I am not sure we can ... in this group surely our interest in other 
standards is whether they help us in our mission, relating to RFC 3066 
and its successors. If we look at the linguasphere stuff and answer qu 2

in the negative, then we at least are in part saying that from our point

of view this is not a useful standard to have (either BSI or ISO), at 
least to the extent that the use cases we care about are not assisted.

Obviously a standard that was scoped to a domain that did not overlap 
(or only ever so slightly overlapped) our domain of interest would not 
be pertinent to discussion. But if BSI or ISO considers endorsing a 
scheme that does overlap our scope then we should either embrace or 
oppose it. Perhaps if the explicit scope of linguasphere is narrowly 
constrained to exclude the domain of interest of this group, then I 
could agree with a shrug to qu 1, but if not, there will be an extended 
period of confusion while people work out when to use linguasphere and 
when to use RFC 3066 (or its successors)

Admittedly I found Peter's comments on Northern Thai (your qu 1) much 
more compelling than any comments on your qu 2


Misha Wolf wrote:

> Folks,
> Please can we keep separate the discussions of:
> 1.  Should the Linguasphere stuff become a BSI and/or ISO standard? 
>     This includes issues such as the quality of the Linguasphere 
>     stuff.
> 2.  Were the Linguasphere stuff to become an ISO standard, should 
>     it be reflected in some future descendant of the specification 
>     (currently known as RFC 3066) referenced by various important 
>     IDs/RFCs (eg HTTP [1]) and W3C Recommendations (eg XML [2])?  
>     This includes issues such as the utility of the Linguasphere 
>     stuff for *general* indication of language, eg for HTTP's 
>     "Accept-Language" and for XML's "xml:lang".
> It is, of course, quite possible that we shall conclude that the 
> answer to Q1 is a shrug, while the answer to Q2 is "You must be 
> kidding".
> [1]
> [2]
> Misha Wolf
> Standards Manager
> Product and Platform Architecture Group
> Reuters Limited

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