Request for variant subtag: western

Mark Davis mark.davis at
Wed Aug 30 01:58:35 CEST 2006

On 8/29/06, John Cowan <cowan at> wrote:
> Peter Constable scripsit:
> > That raises a general question regarding generic tags of this type: is
> > there an expectation that the registry would be updated to indicate a
> > prefix before people start using that variant with some other language
> > subtag?
> A variant subtag MAY have prefix information in the registry in order
> to guide its use.  There is no requirement that a variant subtag
> be used only with the prefix or prefixes specified in the registry.
> (Variants are unlike extlangs, which MUST have exactly one prefix
> in the registry and MUST be used with that prefix only.)

That is not correct. Section 2.2.9:

For variant and extended language subtags, if the registry contains one or
more 'Prefix' fields for that subtag, check that the tag matches at least
one prefix. The tag matches if all the subtags in the 'Prefix' also appear
in the tag. For example, the prefix "es-CO" matches the tag
"es-Latn-CO-x-private" because both the 'es' language subtag and 'CO' region
subtag appear in the tag.

That means that if there is a prefix (such as "hy"), then you can have
hy-western, but you can't have en-western.

> If so, then it seems like we would be choosing between these two
> > options: one generic variant subtag (e.g. 'western') with
> > many registry updates to add prefixes to that subtag, or multiple
> > registrations for language-specific variant subtags (e.g. 'hyewest')
> People who propose to use a variant subtag with a novel prefix may or
> may not wish to register that use in the registry.  I'd expect that
> in the long run they would not.
> As for hy-hyewest, I think it's awful.

agreed. There is no point in gratuitous obscurity.

> Deshil Holles eamus.  Deshil Holles eamus.  Deshil Holles eamus.
> Send us, bright one, light one, Horhorn, quickening, and wombfruit. (3x)
> Hoopsa, boyaboy, hoopsa!  Hoopsa, boyaboy, hoopsa!  Hoopsa, boyaboy,
> hoopsa!
>   -- Joyce, Ulysses, "Oxen of the Sun"       cowan at
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