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

Doug Ewell dewell at
Fri Dec 15 15:44:21 CET 2006

Randy Presuhn <randy underscore presuhn at mindspring dot com> wrote:

> So, having beaten *that* point into the ground, can we return to the 
> question of registering specific subtags for the two variants of 
> French described in the registration request?
> It appears to meet the requirements from RFC 4646.  The argument 
> against these specific registration requests seems to be that the 
> language in question is insufficiently distinct from today's
> French.

Not my argument, at least.

CE is describing particular flavors of French that sound like genuine 
language variants, and that is fine and I think he is on to something, 
but I think there should be some way of tagging them other than by 
calling them "16th century French" and "17th century French," which seem 
to be both too precise and not precise enough.  Apparently the "17th 
century" variant was used outside the 17th century as well, and had some 
specific relation to the French colonies in America.  I asked CE to come 
up with a "functional" description of this language variant, that 
reflected a different aspect other than chronology, and could be used to 
form a more appropriate subtag.

CE was the one who said the subtag could allow searches for both Modern 
French and Middle French using only "fr".  IMHO that is an abuse of the 
principle that we use ISO-based language subtags to identify languages, 
and user-proposed variants to identify variations of those languages. 
Instead, it tries to blur the difference (defined by ISO) between "fr" 
and "frm".  I'm not sure how registering both "fr" and "frm" as prefixes 
changes that.

But at no time did I say there was no language distinction.  Perhaps 
other people argued that.

> I also think that using a string that doesn't have generic 
> connotations might shorten the discussion.

That, plus the other mechanical objections above.

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

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