language variant subtag en-cutspell

Addison Phillips addison at
Mon Jun 26 18:41:32 CEST 2006

> I've checked the 
> <
14.txt> for guidance, but I haven't got anything useful.

Section 4.1 ("Choice of Language Tag") in that document recommends:

Subtags SHOULD only be used where they add useful distinguishing
information; extraneous subtags interfere with the meaning, understanding,
and processing of language tags.

And goes on to specify:

# Use as precise a tag as possible, but no more specific than is justified.
Avoid using subtags that are not important for distinguishing content in an

    * For example, 'de' might suffice for tagging an email written in
German, while "de-CH-1996" is probably unnecessarily precise for such a

The subtag '1996', in practice, adds no distinguishing information to most
documents. Although a few pedants no doubt use it regularly, I think what
you'll find is that this particular subtag is only useful in documents or
document sets that also use the "-1901" subtag (that is, documents where the
two orthographies are both present and need to be distinguished).

None of which is apropos to your "cut spelling" proposal. In your case you
are attempting to distinguish documents that would be at variance with the
majority of English documents. Virtually all cut spelled documents would
want to use an identifying subtag.

> what criteria do you use? Can you quantify "a semblance 
> of a base of users of Cut Spelling" into something more measurable?

This is, necessarily, subjective. One user (or document) is usually not
enough--although it can be for certain cases of historical interest or
significance. The question here is: at what point is it not merely an
experiment or use of language with a sharply bounded and limited interest
(best handled with private use subtags, i.e. en-x-cutspel)? Peter Constable
has suggested that the bar be set fairly low. I tend to agree. Probably
there should be some semblance of a community of "speakers" or a
representative body of documents that need identifying. Your project
suggests to me an experimental use of language. At present, the ability to
use private use subtags allows you to explore this without impacting anyone
else. By contrast, if you feel you have progressed further or have a
community of like-minded individuals, then perhaps a registration is

Best Regards,


Addison Phillips
Internationalization Architect - Yahoo! Inc.

Internationalization is an architecture.
It is not a feature.  

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