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

Peter Constable petercon at
Mon Dec 18 16:33:40 CET 2006

From: ietf-languages-bounces at
[mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of Doug Ewell

> Prefix: fr
> Prefix: frm

> While I have no blanket objection to defining two 
> Prefix values for a variant, as long as the variant 
> applies to both, CE has defined both "fr" and ""frm" 
> as the Prefix for these proposed subtags with the 
> express goal of flattening the distinction between 
> these two languages, which he views as one language, 
> for searching and retrieval purposes. 
> It is not our job to reverse the decisions of the 
> ISO 639 experts

I agree; and I'll provide an argument based on principles, not just lack
of precedent.

The IDs "fr" and "frm" have different semantics. To create an
implementation that assumes otherwise is to break operability, and in
that way defeating the purpose of having a standard for language
identifiers in the first place.

Since the two IDs have different semantics, that means that
"fr-variantx" and "frm-variantx" have different semantics. If there is a
need to be able to create a query that will retrieve either, then that
is a problem for query / matching implementations. It is completely
inappropriate to shift this putative need into the LST registry by
suggesting that these two IDs have the same semantics.

So, at the very least, if these two prefix fields are part of the
registration for "1606Nict" then it is necessary to explain what is the
intended semantic distinction between "fr-1606Nict" and "frm-1606Nict".

Peter Constable

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