Sign languages (was: Re: additions to ISO 639 and the IANA language subtag registry)

John Cowan cowan at
Tue Feb 21 05:25:17 CET 2006

Doug Ewell scripsit:

> "sgn-CR" is perfectly 3066-valid for "sign languages as used in Costa 
> Rica," but if anyone has used it to mean specifically "Costa Rican SL" 
> on the basis of Michael's page, they have no assurance that it will be 
> interpreted as such by 3066-conformant processors.

I think that's splitting hairs.  sgn-US unquestionably means American
Sign Language, by RFC 3066 registration; it would be entirely proper
for people to use sgn-CR for Costa Rican SL.

> In cases like Algerian SL, American SL, and so forth, where the sgn + 
> region syntax would be syntactically legal, why don't we add *both* to 
> the registry and make one Preferred over the other?

Because multiple codes for the same thing is a big annoyance and impedes
matching.  Essentially the same reason why we are going to use zh-yue
instead of just yue.

Where the wombat has walked,            John Cowan <cowan at>
it will inevitably walk again.

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