Don Osborn dzo at
Fri Sep 1 18:03:16 CEST 2006

Hi Mark, I think that if there's a difference it might be: (1) that a character in a script might be used in more than one language, and to switch in and out of languages in a list of descriptors for characters could be problematic; and (2) more importantly the user of a tag for a particular language would be expected to be familiar with a tag/designation in that language (or recognizably abbreviated or transcribed from that language). 

Just exploring what this means or might mean. Personally I have no stake in this, but wonder about the principle and precedent.

Here's another angle. If Armenian subtags are used in this case, will the choice facilitate or prejudice / lead to problems in later choice of alpha-4 tags for these subdivisions of Armenian in ISO-639-6? But maybe that's looking ahead too far...


-----Original Message-----
From: ietf-languages-bounces at [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of Mark Davis
Sent: Friday, September 01, 2006 11:43 AM
To: Frank Ellermann
Cc: ietf-languages at

Just because subtags *designate* a particuarly entity, doesn't mean they have to be written "in" that entity. The character names in ISO
10646 and Unicode illustrate that point: just one of thousands of examples is U+060D ARABIC DATE SEPARATOR: the words "ARABIC", "DATA"
and "SEPARATOR" are not in Arabic.


On 9/1/06, Frank Ellermann <nobody at> wrote:
> Don Osborn wrote:
> > 1) If the subtags are specific to the Armenian language, why are 
> > they in English?
> It's required to be 5..8 ASCII letters or digits (or 4 if it starts 
> with a digit).  One transliteration (I hope that's the correct term, 
> please correct me) of the Armenian word for "western" has 10 
> characters including an apostrophe.  The word for "west" would fit.  I 
> forgot the details for "eastern".
> IMHO these two variant subtags should be consistent.
> Frank
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