ISO 639 - New item approved - N'Ko

Richard Ishida ishida at
Fri Jun 9 19:57:48 CEST 2006

I guess my main concern is for people to find entries easily.

Right now we point people to the registry itself to search for codes.  How
would such a person look for the code for N'Ko? They would typically use
their browser's in-page search function to find the name of the language or
script.  But what do they search on?  N’Ko is not something that
necessarily springs to mind - in fact a large number of the people I
typically refer to the registry don't even know what a hex NCR is.  If you
haven't figured out that you have to type in N’Ko (and get that
Unicode codepoint right), I think there is little chance that you will find
what you are looking for easily in this case.

Our discussion so far has circled around issues relating to
formal/architectural/technical elegance, but I think most people will just
be concerned that they can use the registry to find information quickly.

As for how one writes Japanese in the registry, well the *English* name of
that language is usually a good start, especially since it is highly likely
it will just use ASCII characters.  I'm not saying we preclude alternative
transcriptions and the like, but lets have at least the English-ASCII form
as an obvious starting point for probably most people.

We now have standards providing alternative spellings of Divehi/Dhivehi. I
don't know why this is a bad thing.  Why is it an problem to have 6
alternative ASCII forms of Micmac, if there really isn't a definitive name
for the language in English? 

Then, we need to ask ourselves how you write N'Ko in English.  If the name
is sometimes written with one punctuation mark and sometimes another in
English, isn't that also a spelling variation? Why not include both?  What
does it matter?  But let's at least include N'Ko with an ASCII apostrophe in
addition to N’Ko, since that's what I think most people will
initially try to search on, once they understand that the registry page
supports ASCII only.

(This was written quickly - I don't mean to sound so aggressive as it


Richard Ishida
Internationalization Lead
W3C (World Wide Web Consortium)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: ietf-languages-bounces at 
> [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of 
> Michael Everson
> Sent: 09 June 2006 18:21
> To: ietf-languages at
> Subject: RE: ISO 639 - New item approved - N'Ko
> At 09:58 -0700 2006-06-09, Peter Constable wrote:
> >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.
> Micmac has a number of orthographies for instance:
> Mi'kmaq, Míkmaq, Mi'gmaq, Micmac, MicMac, Mi:kmaq, Mi'gmaw
> --
> Michael Everson * 
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> Ietf-languages mailing list
> Ietf-languages at

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