A proposed solution for descriptions (was: Re: ISO 639 - New item approved - N'Ko)

Mark Davis mark.davis at icu-project.org
Tue Jun 20 18:07:20 CEST 2006

There is no doubt in my mind that Michael and others are correct about
the use of the apostrophe-like characters in these cases being the
optimal representation; those characters are the ones that should be
used in typesetting the name, for example. That is not in question.

In many cases, however, the representation of the name of the language
has been given an English representation by ISO which may not optimal,
but is sufficient for *identifying* it, which is the core requirement
for the description (see other thread).

We shouldn't to get caught up in these discussions; I'll repeat from
another thread:

> But as a general policy:
> 1. Register whatever ISO 639 (etc.) send us, exactly as they send it
> (possibly unbundling multiple names, ala the Old Slavonics)
> 2. Register additional descriptions via the consensus process (that's what
> it is for), separately.
> Frankly, I'll be happiest when we can go to a pure text representation. Most
> user agents, tools, search engines, etc. can deal with searching plain text
> given the encoding.

I agree with Addison. I'll go a bit further. The goal is to have
enough of a description to distinguish the language from others.
That's the goal. It should not be a goal to have a gazillion
languages, nor does the representation need to capture all the
possible variations in spelling or punctuation.


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