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

CE Whitehead cewcathar at
Fri Dec 15 20:08:37 CET 2006

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

Should I send a revised proposal with fr, frm 16esiecl and fr, frm 17esiecl 

>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.

I think 16th century French is more properly a variant; had I been involved 
in the creation of tags I would have tagged moyen francais as fr-moyen I 
it is accessible to some readers who speak French but more difficult for 
others; the 16th century French is at least as accessible to French speakers 
as Shakespeare is to English speakers.  Your system of distinguishing 
different languages from mere variants does not make too much sense to me 

But I personally think it can be encoded both as a separate language and a 
I am still troubled;
Old English really is a quite different language from Modern English; I 
don't remember it well; you have to learn it which English speakers do, but 
it is not English:

We gar-dena in gear-dagum
I think it begins
(not English, I guess dagum is Scandinavian-sounding)

Middle English is more accessible; I can remember it almost talk in it but 
there are different varieties some closer some farther from Modern English.

I wish that the variants that were accessible to speakers of the Modern 
Language could be encoded as variants; otherwise if not accessible could be 
encoded as a distinct language; but even for Middle English it's a judgement 
call and it depends on the author and his or her dialect since it is not 

I would like the search engines/various applications to be able to recognize
(1) that the language of a particular text is somewhat accessible to modern 
speakers of that language, that it is a variant of the modern langauge that 
is recognizable as such;

(2) that the language of a particular text is also sufficiently distinct 
from the modern language to cause more than a few minor difficulties for 
many speakers of the modern language unfamiliar with the spelling system, 
the orthography, etc.

Maybe we are going to have to use the dictionary references to tag this 
stuff; I do not know; I was hoping we could use a slightly more generic 
tagging system.

--C. E. Whitehead
cewcathar at

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