ISO 639 - New item approved - N'Ko

Peter Constable petercon at
Fri Jun 9 18:58:33 CEST 2006

The potential concern I see is that, while for N<char>ko we're talking about two alternatives, the general issue is one of providing alternate spellings that someone might search on, and in some cases there may be many different spellings, even without getting into the issue of alternate languages from which names may be derived.

Peter Constable

-----Original Message-----
From: ietf-languages-bounces at [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of Richard Ishida
Sent: Thursday, June 08, 2006 9:21 AM
To: ietf-languages at
Subject: RE: ISO 639 - New item approved - N'Ko

> From: ietf-languages-bounces at
> [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of Doug Ewell
> I think it would be inappropriate and silly to use one type of 
> apostrophe for the script N'Ko and another for the language N'Ko.  To 
> me they are not "alternative names," but they create a completely 
> arbitrary difference.  Searching would not necessarily work as 
> expected, for instance.

I didn't expect this to become such a big deal, but let me note, since I think this is touching on wider topics, that I think searching would actually be a *good* reason to include both forms of N<char>Ko for both the descriptions of the script and language tags.  

I see the description as a help for the user that is particularly useful for finding codes, ie. I usually search on a language name to find a code, expecting a match against the description. We can't assume that users will search using the ISO (or other specific) characters.  I'd be miffed if I failed to find N'Ko because I used the wrong type of apostrophe.  

By the same logic, I guess, we should add the most likely alternative forms of Gwich´in, etc.

Whether we extend the multiplicity of names to non-English variants is, in my mind, actually a related but different question.


PS: Note that I'm nursing the idea of creating a web form that uses xmlhttprequest to find codes by searching on descriptions (automatically converting any escapes backwards and forwards along the way). Has anyone already done that?

Richard Ishida
Internationalization Lead
W3C (World Wide Web Consortium)

Ietf-languages mailing list
Ietf-languages at

More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list