The limit of language codes

David Starner prosfilaes at
Mon Feb 19 12:44:21 CET 2007

On 2/18/07, Lars Aronsson <lars at> wrote:
> My current opinion, which might change any day, is that simple
> time-less language codes are enough for my current needs.
> ...

I can see a use behind detailed orthography tags for languages that
have been through several distinct orthographies. But when I'm talking
about Old Czech, for example, I'm not arguing for a new tag for a
different orthography; I'm arguing for a new tag for a different

I could argue that the functional distinction between English and
Middle English is that anything in English an editor will publish in
modernized spelling, whereas Middle English is translated for the
modern reader. It's a bit of a circular argument, and Chaucer (1380,
whereas modern English is considered 1450-1500) is published in both
translation and modernized spelling, but Chaucer also used the London
dialect that became modern standard English.The exact line doesn't
matter a whole lot; I can imagine worlds where Chaucer is considered
modern English or worlds where Shakespeare isn't, but there's a body
of work in Middle English that's clearly distinct by any measure from
modern English.

When I'm arguing for Old Czech, I'm talking about the equivalent point
in Czech, when editors and publishers wouldn't modernize the
orthography because the vocabulary and grammar have drifted far enough
to make it pointless. Even thought that definition won't be used, I'm
sure there's a body of text for historic versions of many languages
that by any standard clearly distinct from the modern form of the

More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list