script code defaults and 3066:bis

Harald Tveit Alvestrand harald at
Wed Mar 24 22:40:13 CET 2004

--On 19. mars 2004 12:48 +0100 Jeremy Carroll <jjc at> wrote:

> RFC 3066 and preceeding has comments to the effect that language tag
> fallback doesn't work very well, and language ranges might surprise.
> I am possibly misunderstanding the situation but the essence of the
> non-intelligibility problems is typically to do with scripts.

No, it doesn't.
The situations are typically:

- fallback will not detect or permit matching with closely related, 
mutually comprehensible languages (nn, nb and no are the ones that spring 
to my mind immediately, for obvious reasons)

- fallback will allow you to specify groups of languages that encompass 
multiple mutually incomprehensible languages - grouping i-klingon with 
i-default is the classical case, but grouping zh-min and zh-hant is 
probably close too - and sgn-us and sgn-no aren't mutually intelligible 
either, AFAIK.

Scripts are just one aspect of the problem - in language environments where 
multiple scripts are in common use (Serbia, Azerbajan), I suspect that most 
native literate people can read the language in multiple scripts.

And it's only recently that the script issue has been the main focus of 
attention in this group.

(note - when I was young and naive, I imagined generating a supplementary 
document/registry to RFC 1766 that would give a "comprehensibility index" 
to any pair of language tags, thus guiding people to more reasonable 
fallbacks than "nothing in your list matches". I've since become older and 
more cynical, and have realized just how much of a political minefield it 
would be to even try to start the effort of creating such a matrix....... 
at times I still dream....)


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