3066ter (Re: Guernsey Jersey and Isle of Man ISO 3166-1 Codes)

John Cowan cowan at ccil.org
Mon Apr 10 15:56:42 CEST 2006

Harald Alvestrand scripsit:

> 3066ter is not on the table, does not have a schedule, and may never 
> happen.


> We are not in a delicate stage between them. We are in the 3066bis 
> regime.

I meant that we are between RFC 3066bis, which is approved, and its
eventual successor -- which is another way of saying that we are in the
RFC 3066bis regime.

> My personal opinion is that when ISO 639-3 is finally approved by ISO, 
> it is time for the IETF to discuss whether or not an update of 3066bis 
> is needed to accomodate the structures that will be standardized there 
> - and it is my personal opinion that the result is likely to be "yes".

"I'm glad you agree with me, Doctor."

> But this list exists, at the moment, to discuss registrations under 
> 3066bis.

Agreed.  I am simply pointing out a hypothetical case.  Suppose someone
comes to us with the need to register a language tag for Gagauz,
which is in ISO FDIS 639-3 but not in IS 639-2.  We have the following
possible courses of action:

1) Urge the requester to undertake the 639-2 registration process (I
don't know if Gagauz passes the threshold [*] for this process, but let's
suppose it doesn't).

2) Create a 4-letter-or-more ad hoc language subtag for Gagauz.  This
will create annoying problems of obsolescence if and when RFC 3066ter
does come on line.

3) Recommend that the requester use "tut-MD", which refers to a Turkic
language of Moldova (which Gagauz is).  This is irritatingly vague, uses
the country code in a non-standard way, is not necessarily likely to be
interpreted correctly by others, and has the same long-term problem as
choice 2.

4) Tell the poster to cheat and use "gag" in the hope (probably
well-founded) that ISO won't change the code for Gagauz before 639-3
becomes an IS.

It is in that sense that we are presently in a delicate condition; I
can only hope that no such requesters arrive in the next year or two.
I don't say that there's anything we can do about this, either.  I simply
want to have this analysis on record and in the backgrounds of our minds
in case we require it.

[*] For 639-2 registration, the requester must be able to certify that
fifty documents in or about the language exist, and that these documents
are held by no more than five agencies.  Electronic and non-textual
documents count; almost any organization can be an agency for this
purpose.  This summary is not authoritative.

Said Agatha Christie / To E. Philips Oppenheim  John Cowan
"Who is this Hemingway? / Who is this Proust?   cowan at ccil.org
Who is this Vladimir / Whatchamacallum,         http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
This neopostrealist / Rabble?" she groused.
        --author unknown to me; any suggestions?

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