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

Mark Davis mark.davis at
Tue Dec 12 19:42:10 CET 2006

I'm not fully convinced, but am somewhat sympathetic to the request. One of
the great advantages of BCP 47 is the generative nature. I can have a code
like en-GB to indicate the variant of English as used in the UK, even if the
actual range of usage doesn't exactly match the boundaries of the UK; it may
be considerably larger or somewhat smaller (if one considers 'standard'

Similarly, a variant subtag like '16thc' (although personally I'd prefer
'1500s') attached to any language can designate a language variant used
roughly within that span of time, even if it is not precise, and may span a
much larger or somewhat smaller range of usage. It satisfies a general need
of scholars, without requiring interminable arguments as to the exact range
of time within which particular features of particular languages constituted
distinguishable variants.


On 12/12/06, Michael Everson <everson at> wrote:
> At 16:49 +0000 2006-12-12, CE Whitehead wrote:
> >Hi.  I'm requesting the tag for French, and possibly for English and
> >not for Old English or Esperanto if you look at the prefix (Old
> >English was not spoken in the 16th century; that was Elizabethan
> >English a variant of modern English that was spoken at the end of
> >the 16th and 17th centuries; Shakespeare's plays supposedly
> >'standardized' the English language which was quite varied
> >(Chaucer's dialect was just one of the many dialects spoken in the
> >13th-14th centuries, the period of Middle English.
> Of course I am aware of that.
> You have not addressed my concerns.
> I think 16thc and 17thc are generic as eastern and western are, and
> the question about what to do with the other 19 centuries CE or any
> previous centuries has not been addressed. The question of what to do
> when a language form spans several centuries has not been addressed.
> >The way I see it we need tags to specify the period in which the
> >language was spoken as language varies over time; 17th century works
> >very nicely for 17th century French which can be treated together to
> >some degree though there is still quite a bit of variation in the
> >language then; 16th century is an alternative tag for 16th century
> >French, which is accessible to modern French speakers but is really
> >still Middle French (this tag allows 16th century French to be
> >tagged as modern but identified as a variant so that 16th century
> >French literature will come up in a search for literature in French
> >without the seeker's having to ask for literature in a separate
> >language, Middle French; maybe this second tag should be 14thto16thc
> >to include Middle French which did vary over time and get more
> >modern which is why for the time being I just requested a 16th-c tag
> >for this single century).
> But these tags could be applied to anything.
> My current view is that these proposed tags should be rejected.
> --
> Michael Everson *
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