ISO 639 - New item approved - N'Ko

Mark Crispin mrc at CAC.Washington.EDU
Fri Jun 9 18:55:42 CEST 2006

On Fri, 9 Jun 2006, Doug Ewell wrote:
>> In that case, stipulate that the names are in English and restricted to 
>> ASCII.  It's not politically correct, but is the ONLY form that is globally 
>> useful.
> They're not restricted to ASCII.  Look at the debate we're having over 
> non-ASCII apostrophes.

I consider that to be a problem.  I am not saying "ban non-ASCII in the 
registry".  I am saying "there should be a mandatory ASCII-only form in 
the registry in addition to any non-ASCII forms."

> The "English-only" nature of the existing descriptions is not absolute. It's 
> much like looking through a gazetteer where the most well-known places are in 
> English, but most of the others are in their native language.  The English 
> for "Nyamwezi" is "Nyamwezi."

That's fine.  But there needs to be a razor that decides that in Latin 
script, the language spoken by over 100 million people at a certain East 
Asian island chain is "Japanese", not "Nihongo" or "Nippongo" or "Kokugo".

> If you're saying that tihs is how it should be, not how it is, then we should 
> take that as a vote in favor of U+0027 in the Great Apostrophe Debate.

I'm simply saying that a form with U+0027 should be mandatory.  I don't 
claim that other forms should be excluded.

>> To be honest, if you don't limit it to the English/ASCII name, and possibly 
>> a second native-language/Unicode name, you effectively have no limit.
> I think Addison's point was that we indeed have no limit as far as the "law" 
> is concerned, but we do have a limit as far as our implementation of it is 
> concerned.

The whole point of my suggestions is to try to help you achieve the 
desired limit.

For N'Ko, it is clear to me that the form with U+0027 needs to be in the 
registry.  I'm not precluding other forms in the registry, especially if 
they are more technically accurate.

The problem is that you guys are trying to resolve conflicting desires 
into a single name.  Long experience tells me that this doesn't work, and 
ultimately forces the registry into wretched compromises that displease 

-- Mark --
Democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what to eat for lunch.
Liberty is a well-armed sheep contesting the vote.

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