Proposal for a subtag registration (fr-2004-ORTOGRAF or fr-ortograf ?)

Doug Ewell dewell at
Wed Dec 12 08:05:07 CET 2007

Mario Périard <mario underscore periard at hotmail dot com> wrote:

> We want to break this isolation and develop (among many things) a 
> localized version of Linux in Ortograf (under the code fr-ortograf or 
> another).
> We can't create a translation team for localize LInux, Gnome, KDE... 
> if we do not have an official language subtag.

It's been said before, but software such as Drupal which does not accept 
private-use tags such as "x-quelque" or "fr-x-quelque" is not conformant 
to RFC 4646.  Though not officially registered, these tags are just as 
valid as "fr-FR".

Peter Constable stated the situation so perfectly that I won't diminish 
his words by paraphrasing them, so instead I'll repeat them for 

"The decisions made in this list must not be driven by limitations in 
particular software implementations. Our business is not to provide 
workarounds for existing software. Our business is to provide tags that 
make sense in the context of exemplary implementations to meet 
legitimate needs of identifiable user communities."

> We use the code "frm" on our site precisely because only official 
> subtags are allowed by our content manager software. Since the subtag 
> I suggested ('2004-ortograf') is not valid I suggest the subtag 
> 'ortograf'. I can re-submit a registration form if it is required.

The language tag "frm" unequivocally means "Middle French" as spoken in 
the period roughly spanning from 1400 to 1600 CE.  If that is the 
language in which the pages are expressed, then "frm" is the right tag. 
If the pages are in any other language, including Modern French in any 
orthography, then "frm" is the wrong tag regardless of how "official" it 
is.  You may as well tag the pages "zh".

> If you have any doubt on the seriousness or the international 
> (francophone) scope of the Ortograf standard, I suggest you to contact 
> other bodies that work around Ortograf:
> ...
> Groupe Ortograf-Europe:Louis Rougnon-Glasson - Président ( 
> louis.rougnon-glasson at

I was surprised to see the reference to the work of M. Rougnon-Glasson 
in France, since his "Ortograf" project appears quite different from M. 
Périard's -- it is a full-scale spelling reform for French, not just the 
intellectually handicapped, which makes substantial use of ligatures to 
represent French vowels:

In fact, M. Rougnon-Glasson seeks to distance his initiative from that 
of M. Périard:

"Le mouvement ORTOGRAF-alfograf ou ORTOGRAF-Franche-Comté (pour le 
distinguer de ORTOGRAF-Québec) propose un processus de réforme tout à 
fait différent de celui de Mario Périard sur le site internet de la 
ville de Montréal."

In fact, although I previously supported 'ortograf' as the most logical 
subtag value for M. Périard's sytem, should it be registered, I now see 
great potential for confusion between the two "Ortograf" proposals and 
suggest that 'periard' would make a more suitable subtag value.  (Almost 
anything would be better than either 'montreal', which implies that the 
majority of the city of Montréal uses M. Périard's system, or '2004', 
which is just about as obscure and non-intuitive as a subtag can be.)

> Frankly, don't you think that a community of impaired people deserve a 
> recognition as well as 2 or 3 scholars who study the spelling of a 
> man, Jean Nicot, in the 16th century (frm-1606nict), futhermore if 
> this recognition will be put an end to their isolation? You can make a 
> difference to make theirs lives better.

It isn't up to us to judge the relative importance of scholars versus 
handicapped people, and it isn't up to us to save the world.  We assist 
the Language Subtag Reviewer in reviewing and registering subtags that 
represent meaningful linguistic distinctions.

I'm becoming more convinced of the merits of M. Périard's request, but 
would still like to see more concrete proof of its usage instead of more 

Doug Ewell  *  Fullerton, California, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14  ˆ

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