Is there a subtag for 'plain English' or 'simplified English'

Peter Constable petercon at
Tue Dec 19 18:24:31 CET 2006

This discussion needs to be put in the context of some specific application. In a specific application, random style distinctions are not likely to be needed. If someone needs to annotate content with detailed characterizations of usage, then a language tag is not the right mechanism.

But I didn't get the impression that was what was being requested.

Peter Constable

> -----Original Message-----
> From: ietf-languages-bounces at [mailto:ietf-languages-
> bounces at] On Behalf Of Doug Ewell
> Sent: Tuesday, December 19, 2006 8:56 AM
> To: ietf-languages at
> Subject: Re: Is there a subtag for 'plain English' or 'simplified English'
> Peter Constable <petercon at microsoft dot com> wrote:
> > Perhaps variant subtags "colloq" and "legal" (and perhaps others for
> > other registers of English usage). Of course, the vast majority of
> > English content is colloquial, so "colloq" would only get used in
> > particular application contexts, e.g. if you were maintaining a corpus
> > of documents used for training natural-language processing tools.
> That's still too broad and general.  What is colloquial for a church
> sermon or attorney's letter is unspeakably formal and stilted when
> shouted across a football field.
> Stephane's point about ASD Simplified Technical English is a good one;
> it is well-defined and such a subtag would be meaningful and
> interoperable.  So would a subtag for Basic English, also clearly
> defined.  I don't believe the difference between "Hello" and "Hi" and
> "Hey, dude, what's up" can be reasonably captured in short alphabetic
> tags.
> --
> Doug Ewell  *  Fullerton, California, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14
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