John Cowan jcowan at
Fri Feb 4 14:58:08 CET 2005

Peter Constable scripsit:

> Also, I think the reluctance to register a tag like iu-Cans-CA is
> mistaken on other grounds: we are not obligated to determine that every
> valid tag denotes something distinct from every other valid tag. That is
> already impossible, since RFC 3066 defines many things as valid that
> would not correspond to actual linguistic distinctions. I suspect that
> there's no distinction between fr-CI and fr-GH, but both are valid tags,
> and probably in use somewhere. And note that, while I think there's no
> distinction, someone else may determine, for whatever reason, that they
> think they need to distinguish something in this way. (Of course,
> there's also the issue that some people will include country IDs whether
> useful or not just because they think tags always have a country
> element.) 

I want to address this point separately from the rest (and I do appreciate
your detailed argument, which I reserve my reply to).  It's one thing
if RFC 3066 makes tags valid that have no use (my old standby nv-DK)
or that represent distinctions that are more than dubious (as in your
example above).  That happens as an automatic consequence of generativity,
and has both a good side and a bad one.  It's quite another to consciously
and deliberately *register* new and non-generative (under the current
regime) tags for which no one can point to a Real World distinction from
other already extant tags.  IMHO, analogies from the first case to the
second case aren't really apropos.

Michael Everson scripsit:

> Apparently I have no choice but to approve all of these, because they
> will be implicit in this RFC's successors, and obviously they refer
> to real things. But I dislike the duplicate encodings.

For us to register a tag is tantamount to claiming that the tag is
meaningful and significant and a Good Thing (in its place).  We make
no such claim about the mere automatic consequences of RFC 3066
generativity.  Consequently, we should be careful that what we
register not merely has an interpretation but is actually useful
for the intended purpose of RFC 3066: language tagging.

Barry gules and argent of seven and six,        John Cowan
on a canton azure fifty molets of the second.   jcowan at
        --blazoning the U.S. flag     

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