[YES] The Linguasphere proposal is suited to RFC 3066(oritssuccessors) and its consuming protocols

Peter Constable petercon at microsoft.com
Mon Jun 7 19:36:47 CEST 2004

> From: ietf-languages-bounces at alvestrand.no [mailto:ietf-languages-
> bounces at alvestrand.no] On Behalf Of Debbie Garside

> The crux of the matter seems to be focusing on the question of USE for
> system of such detailed granularity.  We can discuss the various
> technicalities ad infinitum, but the system does work.
> One thing I can say before answering the question on use is: Given 4
> IP addresses, who would have predicted a need for a greater range?

The situations are not *at all* comparable. Just to consider one aspect
of the dissimilarity, if the alpha-4 ID space were carved up so that
every ID beginning with "a" was to be used for varieties of Arabic,
every ID beginning with "b" was to be used for varieties of Bengali,
every ID beginning with "c" was to be used for varieties of Welsh, etc.
then the situations would be comparable, and we could argue that alpha-4
wasn't adequate even to cover all the languages listed in ISO 639-1. 

> So... to the question of USE... and detailed granularity - please see:
> http://www.linguasphere.com/grassroots.asp

Well, this shows a potential need for 11 highly-granular IDs, not 25000.
And it's not entirely clear that this is necessarily an application of
language IDs. 

"Use 1: Archiving community and cultural data to preserve heritage on a
national basis; something I believe most countries/communities are
concerned with."

Are the data *really* being distinguished by linguistic variety? Is that
how it's going to be used? Or is this distinguishing "community and
culture"? Sure, a linguist may say there are identifiable linguistic
distinctions, but is the database in question here being developed and
used by the linguist, or by average members of the community? 

And even if it is being developed and used by the linguist, the question
remains as to whether this is an isolated, local usage, or something
that merits support in industry-wide protocols? If it really is (which
I'm quite prepared to accept is a possibility), then that makes a case
for registering 11 new tags, but not necessarily a case for adopting a
coded set of 25000.

"Use 2: Intelligence... very often the lives of international security
personnel rely upon accurate information with regard to dialects and
communities... I'm not going to go into detail but I'm sure the
Intelligence services know what I am talking about."

This is interesting since I thought I had heard from the same
intelligence community that Linguasphere folk had, and to my knowledge
that intelligence community hasn't been asking for this level of
granularity. But perhaps there have been requests I'm not aware of.

> I hope the issues of use and granularity are clearer.

Not really, though at least I've seen some indication that you folks
might be giving it some thought.

Peter Constable
Globalization Infrastructure and Font Technologies
Microsoft Windows Division

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