Request for variant subtag fr 16th-c 17th-c

CE Whitehead cewcathar at
Tue Dec 12 17:56:53 CET 2006

Thanks very much for your information.  I knew I did not know the exact 
syntax for requesting a tag and appreciate your corrections; I also worried 
that the hyphen was not a legitimate tag character but it made my tag so 
much clearer; I'll request the tags without the hyphen.

The 100-year period works for 17th century French; although there are many 
varieties of French spoken in the 17th century including French that is more 
modern than it was in the 16th century it has not stabilized into modern 
French (which it does in the 18th century); thus 17th century written French 
documents may have elements of Middle French, Modern French, plus new words 
from the Americas or more references to travel and to ways of 
travelling/different types of kingdoms and such.
But the use of centuries is also as a convenience; because we break up 
things into centuries it makes the naming system easily recognizable.

As for the variant subtag for 16th century French so that documents from 
that period can be requested as Modern French documents; it is not quite the 
same as having documents in French and English requested together.  16th 
century French and modern French are mutually comprehensible; in the 17th 
century some people are clearly still speaking 16th century French and some 
are speaking almost modern French and I assume they could understand one 

Middle French is not really a distinct language; it is simply a dialect of 
Modern French.  Requesting documents in both French and Middle French as a 
unit is more like requesting documents in English and Southern or Black (but 
close to Standard) English as a unit.


--C. E. Whitehead
cewcathar at

>From: "Doug Ewell" <dewell at>
>To: <ietf-languages at>
>Subject: Re: Request for variant subtag fr 16th-c 17th-c
>Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2006 07:03:49 -0800
>MIME-Version: 1.0
>Received: from ([]) by 
> with Microsoft SMTPSVC(6.0.3790.2444); Tue, 
>12 Dec 2006 07:04:31 -0800
>Received: from localhost ( [])by 
> (Postfix) with ESMTP id B61402596DE;Tue, 12 Dec 2006 
>16:01:08 +0100 (CET)
>Received: from ([]) by localhost 
>( []) (amavisd-new, port 10024) with ESMTP id 
>01075-03; Tue, 12 Dec 2006 16:01:08 +0100 (CET)
>Received: from ( [])by 
> (Postfix) with ESMTP id B08CB2596E4;Tue, 12 Dec 2006 
>16:00:55 +0100 (CET)
>Received: from localhost ( [])by 
> (Postfix) with ESMTP id 00DC02596E2for 
><ietf-languages at>;Tue, 12 Dec 2006 16:00:54 +0100 (CET)
>Received: from ([])by localhost 
>( []) (amavisd-new,port 10024)with ESMTP id 
>00986-03 for <ietf-languages at>;Tue, 12 Dec 2006 16:00:38 +0100 
>Received: from ( [])by 
> (Postfix) with ESMTP id 0C7E02596DEfor 
><ietf-languages at>;Tue, 12 Dec 2006 16:00:37 +0100 (CET)
>Received: from ( 
>[])by (8.13.7/8.13.7) with ESMTP id 
>kBCF3pn5029740for <ietf-languages at>; Tue, 12 Dec 2006 07:03:56 
>Received: from DGBP7M81 ([]) by 
>vM. 201-2131-123-105-20051025) with SMTPid 
>< at DGBP7M81>for 
><ietf-languages at>; Tue, 12 Dec 2006 09:52:30 -0500
>X-Message-Info: txF49lGdW40nPeVUqxghgCFi4g/1aRT26tnbXWVjw/g=
>X-Original-To: ietf-languages at
>Delivered-To: ietf-languages at
>X-Greylist: domain auto-whitelisted by SQLgrey-1.6.7
>References: <20061212110003.2D7E72596E7 at>
>X-MSMail-Priority: Normal
>X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook Express 6.00.2900.2869
>X-MimeOLE: Produced By Microsoft MimeOLE V6.00.2900.2962
>X-Virus-Scanned: ClamAV 0.88.6/2316/Mon Dec 11 14:50:59 2006 
>X-Virus-Status: Clean
>X-Greylist: IP, sender and recipient auto-whitelisted, not delayed 
>bymilter-greylist-1.6 ( []);Tue, 12 Dec 2006 
>07:03:56 -0800 (PST)
>X-Virus-Scanned: by amavisd-new at
>X-BeenThere: ietf-languages at
>X-Mailman-Version: 2.1.5
>Precedence: list
>List-Id: IETF Language tag discussions <>
><mailto:ietf-languages-request at>
>List-Archive: <>
>List-Post: <mailto:ietf-languages at>
>List-Help: <mailto:ietf-languages-request at>
><>,<mailto:ietf-languages-request at>
>Errors-To: ietf-languages-bounces at
>X-Virus-Scanned: by amavisd-new at
>Return-Path: ietf-languages-bounces at
>X-OriginalArrivalTime: 12 Dec 2006 15:04:33.0186 (UTC) 
>CE Whitehead <cewcathar at hotmail dot com> requested two variant subtags 
>for French.
>There are a lot of mechanical problems with these two proposals that 
>suggest C.E. may have filled in the blanks without understanding what some 
>of them meant.  This post will mostly touch on the mechanical issues, 
>although the semantics of subdividing French into clean 100-year periods is 
>still also debatable.
>>  Type: Variant
>>  Subtag:  16th-c
>Not well-formed because of the hyphen.
>>  Description: 16th century French, also included in the tag Middle French 
>Delete the portion after the comma.  The Description should only describe 
>the language variant, not explain how it is used syntactically.
>>  Prefix: fr (possibly also en to encompass Shakespeare's English though 
>>perhaps the latter needs a more specific variant tag)
>This line is supposed to go into the Registry verbatim.  It should simply 
>Prefix: fr
>if that is intended, or:
>Prefix: fr
>Prefix: en
>if that is intended.  Discussion can follow in the proposal, if necessary.
>>  Preferred-Value: 16th-c
>This is not what Preferred-Value is for; it is for deprecated subtags, to 
>indicate another subtag that should be used instead.
>>  Comments:  (Alternate tag for frm so that literature in frm which is
>>readable to modern French speakers can be accessed with requests for
>>literature in fr ) variant tag for fr
>Two problems:
>1.  The parenthesized comment shows a real semantic problem: this subtag is 
>meant to overload the meaning of "fr" so that it overlaps the meaning of 
>"frm", to get around a perceived limitation in the requesting mechanism.  
>That is not a good use of variants.  It would be almost like creating a 
>variant for "fr" that means English, so I can request French and English in 
>one query.  If it is not possible for the requester to specify two or more 
>languages, then two or more requests should be made.
>2.  The text "variant tag for fr" is redundant; the request is obviously 
>for a variant and the Prefix line says what language it is for.
>>  Type: Variant
>>  Subtag:  17th-c
>Same problem as above.
>>  Description: 17th century French--the first century of Modern French 
>"17th century French" would be sufficient; the rest does not belong in a 
>>  Prefix: fr (possibly also en)
>See above.
>>  Preferred-Value: 17th-c
>See above.
>>  Comments:  variant tag for fr
>See above.
>>6. Any other relevant information:
>This section contains lots of useful and fascinating information about the 
>evolution of French, and C.E. needs to demonstrate that these changes are 
>not adequately captured by "frm" versus "fr" and that the tidy 
>"16th-century, 17th-century" boundaries are justified.  But the mechanical 
>problems listed above need to be corrected.  I know RFC 4646 is a long 
>document, but it really is necessary to understand at least Sections 3.1 
>and 3.5 before submitting a request.
>Doug Ewell  *  Fullerton, California, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14
>Ietf-languages mailing list
>Ietf-languages at

View Athlete’s Collections with Live Search

More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list