[Ltru] Re: Macrolanguages, countries & orthographies

David Starner prosfilaes at gmail.com
Wed Feb 14 18:45:42 CET 2007

On 2/14/07, Debbie Garside <debbie at ictmarketing.co.uk> wrote:
> David Starner wrote:
> > As a user of en, enm and ang, I don't like that one bit. fr
> > and en are more mutually intelligible then ang and en, and I
> > don't see any use in labelling ang as en.
> But I see people who are looking for a language subtag to denote Old English
> using English as a starting point in a hierarchical system such as ISO
> 639-6; makes sense to me.
> > Furthermore, if ang
> > can validly be labeled en, it can also be validly labeled
> > sco, adding another layer of complexity.
> I note Ethnologue have classified sco under English!  But you are right, to
> be able to link languages by mutual intelligibility requires a
> multi-parent/child relationship system.   That's not what I am advocating at
> the moment (emphasis on the word moment :-)).

My comment had nothing to do with mutual intelligibility. There is no
theoretic reason to prioritize English (en) over Scots (sco) as
including ang and enm. They both descended from enm and ultimately
ang. Likewise, there's no reason to prioritize modern Dutch over
Afrikaans as covering Middle Dutch (dum); it is equally valid to
consider Middle Dutch a historical form of one as the other.

> We have waited some 5 years for ISO 639-3.  I think for the last year people
> have been holding off on registration requests because of it.  ISO 639-6 is
> due for publication in early 2008 but I don't think people should have to
> wait if their need is urgent; register variants via RFC4646.  I have no
> problem with that.

Until I can see the draft standard, I'm not going to worry about it.
I'll hold off on ISO 639-3 only because I can have it in my hands
right now. I don't think it's reasonable to expect people to hold off
for a standard that's expected to be published in a year and that they
can't check today to see if it fits their needs; I don't even know if
ISO 639-6 is going to be considered suitable and useful for the
language tagging RFC.

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