el-latn, ru-latn, and related possibilities

John Clews scripts20 at uk2.net
Sun Oct 2 17:26:45 CEST 2005

Hello all

I don't look at this list on a daily basis, and there seem to have been
many postings on various subjects recently. So my apologies if points 2
and 3 below have already been addressed on this list.

1. Michael Everson wrote:

I approve the registration of el-Latn (Greek in Latin script)

Thank you Michael - just for clarity regarding the text below, I also
heartily approve of your approval of this, in case there is any doubt,
because of what follows.

What follows, is just an attempt to raise related questions.

2. It occurs to me that there are other languages where this could be
useful: ru-latn doesn't yet exist as a tag (unless I missed something
earlier) but it is used in many emails, and I suspect on many web pages
(for example, any archived email lists).

The question arises: is there any plans in anybody's minds for ru-latn,
hi-latn, etc? If so, I would certainly applaud them.

3. In all such languages which would be useful there is more than one
transliteration mechanism which could be used to render the language
concerned into Latin text.

Those defined in ISO 843-1997 and ELOT 743 (1987) are probably the best
for the purpose, but others may exist too.

The question arises is as follows: just as de-de-1901 and all the similar
subtagging exists for German, might there be advantages in registrations
(or alternatively a mechanism which avoided the need for registrations)
which listed widely used transliterations into Latin?

For example (as a model) el-latn-iso-843-1997 might be such a tag, which
might be necessary in some cases be necessary to distinguish it from text
in el-latn which worked on some other basis.

Just raising questions for later consideration: no hurry for a reply.

John Clews

---------------------------- Original Message ----------------------------
Subject: I approve the registration of el-Latn (Greek in Latin script)
From:    "Michael Everson" <everson at evertype.com>
Date:    Wed, September 28, 2005 10:53 pm
To:      "IANA" <iana at isi.edu>
Cc:      "IETF Languages Discussion" <ietf-languages at iana.org>


Name of requester          : Luc Pardon
E-mail address of requester: lucp @ skopos.be
Tag to be registered       : el-Latn

English name of language   : Greek in Latin script
Native name of language (transcribed into ASCII): Ellinika

Reference to published description of the language (book or article):

Greek is customarily written in the Greek script. However, there is  also
a need to write it in Latin script, using transliteration
systems such as those defined in ISO 843-1997 and ELOT 743 (1987).  See
http://transliteration.eki.ee for an overview of Greek-Latin
transliteration systems.

Some cases where this need arises are as follows:

1) Many Greeks have emigrated and they and their descendants live in 
areas of the world where computer systems may not be able (or
configured) to represent Greek script. It is not uncommon for
websites and other communications by and/or for this audience to be 
written (in some form of) transliterated Greek.

2) Among non-Greeks there is considerable interest in Greek culture.  When
writing for that audience it is often instructive to provide  short
phrases in Greek (for example: titles of musical works or
songs), usually along with the translation (into the host language)  for
didactical purposes. It is common to transliterate the Greek
phrase in Latin script because part of the non-Greek target audience  may
be unable to read the Greek script.

Furthermore, the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 require 
proper identification of natural language as a Priority 1 item. This  is
needed, for example, to enable screen readers and other assistive 
technology. For web content that contains transliterated Greek text,  it
is impossible to meet this requirement without the proposed
"el-Latn" tag because the "el" tag implies Greek script.

Finally, The need for proper identification of scripts in looking up 
language resources, as indicated when registering the other language  tags
of the form [lang]-[script], does apply in this case as well.

Any other relevant information:

This language tag would conform to the proposed successor to RFC 3066  if
and when adopted (see

The "Latn" subtag is as defined by ISO15924 -- "Codes for the
representation of the names of scripts".

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