Language tags, the phillips draft, and procedures

Peter Constable petercon at
Sun Jan 9 17:03:42 CET 2005

> From: ietf-languages-bounces at [mailto:ietf-languages-
> bounces at] On Behalf Of JFC (Jefsey) Morfin

> as you may have noted I am a very, very patient person. But this
> comment demonstrates a surprising non scientific bias or a real
> ability. Even in Franglish an "involved network expert or authority"
has a
> clear meaning.

Actually, it is clear what "network expert or authority" means, but not
what "involved network expert or authority". I got the impression on my
first reading that you required non-English/non-American networking
experts, which I believe is the interpretation Michael found offensive.
After seeing your comments, I re-read and found that a less-obvious
possible interpretation is that you require networking experts who are
involved in non-English/non-American contexts. It's still not clear that
that's your intended meaning, though.

> This debate extensively uses English for usage examples.

Oh??!! I believe there have been usage examples involving Chinese,
Serbian and Azeri; there are others that could be provided, but a
multiplicity of examples doesn't illustrate a principle related to
functional requirements better than one.

> And I saw
> DNS, new developments, other technical areas' needs objected.

DNS was rejected (at least in the mind of some); I don't specifically
recall other things rejected.

> I saw
> Word/LANGIDs and HTML related comments, but none related to other
> text-processing cultures systems such LaTeX, PDF, Teletex etc.

I don't recall Word or LANGIDs being mentioned, though that certainly
could be. (Word needs to be able to put IETF language tags into content
exported in XML, for instance.) I cannot speak for what Adobe might have
in mind for PDF, though I can see potential benefit of language tagging
in PDF. LaTeX wouldn't need to put language tags onto content as much as
it would to be able to interpret language tags to determine when
different typography may be needed -- though again that's a possible
direction it could be taken, and I have no idea what direction TeX
developers might want to go with such things.

In Windows, we need to be able to provide application developers
appropriate and conformant IETF language tags for cultures supported in
the system so that they can put those tags into places that require
them, such as HTML or XML, or any IETF protocol that uses them. Several
of our cultures involve languages that require distinctions related to
script, and so we need language tag that include script elements. We
have been waiting, expecting the draft to be approved as an RFC so that
it's clear to all what is recommended for how script IDs are
incorporated into a tag. If you want examples, I can certainly mention
Azeri, Chinese and Serbian; there are others.

> We have well-informed linguistics and linguistic taxonomy and English
> mother tongue experts a plenty: Misha provided a list and I am sure he
> extend it. What I ask is we are can hear from people able to say how
> proposed solutions fit their own areas of expertise: in network, in
> support, in arts, in diversified culture support and protection. etc.

One user community I represent is the Open Language Archive Community
(OLAC), a consortium of linguistic agencies with linguistic and language
archives. They, incooperation with EMELD, are looking for language tags
that can be used in xml:lang to make declarations about archived
content. They don't expect these tags to reflect finely-granular
distinctions that may exist in archived language data (e.g. this text
was produced by translation from an unrelated language), but they do
expect them to support distinctions for the 6000+ languages in the
world, for at least some sub-language variants, and for distinctions in
written form and local spelling conventions.

> Also,
> obviously from the entities I quoted and their national likes (it has
> documented enough there was no English legal authority), for their
> Internet Community Trustee.

This isn't about identifying Trustees or legal language authorities
(which probably don't exist in the case of the vast majority of the
world's languages.) It's simply about making declarations of what
language and written form content is in.

And it's not about standardizing that only certain distinctions in
language variety or written form can be made. It's simply about
providing a coherent tagging system that can support whatever
distinctions people may want to make.

Peter Constable

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