Gwich'in (was: Re: language tag en-cutspell)

Doug Ewell dewell at
Thu Jun 22 22:00:55 CEST 2006

Michael Everson <everson at evertype dot com> wrote:

> I hardly have time with all the other hundreds of
> messages that go on on this list. I still can't
> believe you want to use an acute accent in
> *Gwich´in.

I do?  Check the archives (if you have time) of either this list or the 
LTRU list.  I complained repeatedly about the silliness of using an 
acute accent as an apostrophe, in the process of compiling the initial 

But I also asked LTRU whether the Description field was supposed to copy 
the ISO standard directly, or whether we were supposed to fix spellings 
or add alternative usages or perform ASCII folding or what.  And the 
consensus came back, follow the ISO standard, even when it has something 
silly like *Gwich´in.  And that is what I did -- follow the consensus. 
That was my job, as editor of a document produced by a Working Group.

In the past two weeks the subject of descriptions in general, and 
Gwich'in in particular, have come up, and once again -- despite the fact 
that I do "know better" than to use U+00B4 as an apostrophe, or modifier 
letter, or whatever it is in Gwich'in -- there is NO clear consensus 
that the descriptions in the Registry should deviate from the ISO 
standard.  My personal preference would be to use the ASCII apostrophe, 
which everyone can type, exists in every character set since BCDIC, and 
unequivocally identifies the language.  But my personal preference is 
not all that matters.

As I said on LTRU on 2005-04-24:  "But you need to understand that the 
registry is not just a reflection of what I'd like to see.  Its contents 
need to be determined on the basis of stable, defensible rules, applied 
to references that people trust, devised by authorities that are in a 
position to devise them."

Doug Ewell
Fullerton, California, USA

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