recently-approved tags

John Cowan jcowan at
Tue Apr 12 18:19:38 CEST 2005

Michael Everson scripsit:

> >Currently these tags are syntactically correct but have no defined
> >semantics.
> Need we define them?

For process reasons we cannot yet define tags that involve 639-3 codes.

> >The expectation is that the former will become valid when ISO 639-3 
> >reaches IS status, and that zh-nan-Hans-CN will be the valid form of 
> >the latter, since "wuu" and "nan" are the 639-3 codes for Wu and 
> >Minnan respectively.
> Then we would deprecate some of the 3066 tags in favour of 639-3?

Indeed.  For instance, i-bnn (Bunun) can be deprecated in favor of
bnn, i-tao in favor of tao, and cel-gaulish in favor of either xtg
(Transalpine) or xcg (Cisalpine).  The 639-3 codes are fully productive in
the language-script-region-variant scheme; their grandfathered equivalents
are not.

The case of the zh-* tags is more involved.  In 639-3 terms, zh is a
macrolanguage code (i.e., a code representing multiple, closely-related
individual languages that are deemed in some usage contexts to be a
single language).  The intention is to encode languages belonging to
a macrolanguage using a two-part subtag: thus Minnan would be encoded
as zh-nan (thus deprecating zh-min-nan) and Mandarin as zh-cmn (thus
deprecating zh-guoyu).  Again, the new forms would be fully productive,
the older forms not.

John Cowan                                <jcowan at>    
Yakka foob mog.  Grug pubbawup zink wattoom gazork.  Chumble spuzz.
    -- Calvin, giving Newton's First Law "in his own words"

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