Tex Texin tex at xencraft.com
Tue Sep 20 03:24:40 CEST 2005

Allow me to clarify that I am a fervent supporter of software and web
applications supporting minority languages and have no objections to tags
for minority languages.

However I took the statement that there aren't 50 example documents that
could be found for Unlingua to mean that there might not have been that many
written. Given that it was an invented language and I don't believe it had
many users, it didn't seem worth the trouble to create a special tag for it.
If the facts are otherwise I am fine with it. I didn't want to collect tags

I'll address other comments and mails, when I have time later today.

Caoimhin O Donnaile wrote:
> Hopefully this is unnecessary, as I expected that Tex is out on a limb
> in his views compared to most members of this list.  But just in
> case it is necessary, I'll say that I strongly disagree with his last
> message.
> > I understand that for some very few purposes the ability to
> > distinguish between thousands of languages is useful. I just don't see
> > that most users, or most applications need it, and most content
> > providers are incapable of correctly tagging their content. So I don't
> > see why we should burden general applications with it.
> I have just labelled nearly all of the thousands of pages on our
> website, www.smo.uhi.ac.uk, with:
>     lang=gd - Scottish Gaelic (most of them)
>     lang=ga - Irish Gaelic
>     lang=gv - Manx Gaelic
>     lang=en - English
> as appropriate.
> I look forward to the day - hopefully very soon, when I can use
> Google to find pages in Scottish Gaelic.  Scottish Gaelic has only
> about 50,000 speakers but it has not been denied a language code.
> There are probably thousands of languages with more speakers than
> that and I don't see why they should be denied language codes either,
> and I do not believe that they should have to go through a process
> of individually finding a free code, submitting a request, naming
> 50 texts in the language and so on.  I don't see why Manx Gaelic,
> with only a few hundred fluent speakers and struggling for survival
> should not be given a code with which they can get on with labelling
> their documents and finding them with Google - nor any other language
> either in a similar position.  It seems to me to be a disgrace that
> there is still no computing standard in place assigning codes to most of
> the world's languages, despite the existence for many years of the
> Ethnologue database.
> > In another sphere we have a small number of character encodings, and
> > we can't get software to properly identify the encoding in play. Why
> > should we believe that with thousands of language codes available they
> > will be used properly?
> Character encodings are now on their way out - fast!  Languages are here
> to stay - hopefully.  In a couple of years the only character encoding
> worth bothering much about will be Unicode - probably utf8.  Whatever
> might have been desirable in the past, the emphasis now should be on
> getting documents in obscure encodings converted to Unicode, rather
> than on getting software to recognise obscure encodings.
> That's how things look to me anyway.
> Caoimhín Ó Donnaíle
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Tex Texin   cell: +1 781 789 1898   mailto:Tex at XenCraft.com
Xen Master                          http://www.i18nGuy.com
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Making e-Business Work Around the World

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