Alemanic & Swiss German

Doug Ewell dewell at
Wed Dec 6 06:29:04 CET 2006

Gerard Meijssen <gerardm at wiktionaryz dot org> wrote:

> From my perspective the RFC 4646 that is seemingly inevitable is 
> problematic because it only addresses on how it wants to be backwards 
> compatible and is willing to sacrifice the easy understanding that a 
> single list would bring with a hybrid system. A hybrid system where it 
> is unclear to me how they want to link it to the ISO-639-3 content 
> with the argument that they are not willing to address it until the 
> standard is standard. From my perspective, when the ISO-639-3 is 
> finally ratified, this list of how to link needs to be there in a 
> finished form. By not having it at the time of ratification, it makes 
> the IANA codes less then credible. By not having a period where these 
> codes can be discussed, you will not have buy in.

I need help understanding this:

1.  The "backward compatibility" of RFC 4646 and 4646bis is a major 
design goal.  There are many systems that use RFC 3066 tags and breaking 
compatibility with it, in particular by replacing 2-letter subtags such 
as "nl" with the 3 letter-equivalent "nld", is a non-starter.

2.  No RFC that references a draft standard or RFC can be approved and 
published.  The referenced standard must be an official standard.  That 
is one of the rules of the game.  ISO 639-3 is not yet an approved, 
official standard, therefore draft-4646bis is not yet eligible to become 
an RFC.  But we have certainly "addressed" ISO 639-3 and discussed it 
and its code elements in detail.  I don't see what the objection is.

3.  It should be very clear, from reading draft-4646bis, how it intends 
to incorporate the ISO 639-3 code elements.

> Yes, you cannot have it both ways. :(  In a presentation of Google it 
> was suggested that the coding of content with language codes is so 
> unreliable that it is practically useless. This seems to suggest to me 
> that good marketing for the codes and clear benefits for using correct 
> codes is needed. To me this lack of the effectiveness of these codes 
> and the lack of good marketing makes the whole argument for backwards 
> compatibility increasingly weak.

Many people are not using RFC 3066 correctly, therefore we should 
abandon backward compatibility and punish those who are using it 

> Making nationalistic issues the primary argument for what makes a 
> language ignores that many languages are spoken in many countries 
> which refutes the argument that it is for the single countries 
> involved to be the sole judge to decide on such languages.

Is there a commentary on RFC 4646 or RFC 4646bis here?

Doug Ewell  *  Fullerton, California, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14

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