[Ltru] 639 coding wrt historic varieties (was RE: Request forvariant subtag

CE Whitehead cewcathar at hotmail.com
Fri Jan 12 18:41:05 CET 2007

Thanks for your comments on this issue:

>There's several problems I see. The chronological lines between
>languages are as arbitrary as any, and there is no way to predict when
>the committee would draw the line between modern and pre-modern Czech.
>So a user _cannot_ know whether cs applies to their 15th century Czech
>books or not without bringing it up to the committee.

+1 to this; this is the case with the French stuff too.
In the late 16th century some of the texts are almost modern French (15th 
century French is clearly moyen francais); but even into the 17th century, 
when at the peripheries of French culture, some of the texts still are more 
like the earlier 16th century moyen francais texts.

So while I support maybe having more macrolanguages incuding a macrolanguage 
for the various languages related to French, I do not think that the 
16th-17th century issue can be resolved without a macrolanguage, by allowing 
the content writer to decide what tag is most appropriate for a given text, 
fr (French) or frm (moyne francais).

>PS. I'll point out this has slightly absurd results when applied to
>la. I think we can assume that la was designed to apply to Classical
>Latin, and not (not just?) the modern variety.
By the modern variety are you referring to the Latin that was used in the 
Catholic service until recently and to the Latin used in various phrases 
such as "e pluribus unum?"
There's also the variety used by the Goliard poets, Medieval Latin.

>Third, right now, the tagging for ancient languages is woefully
>insufficient. Unless someone's willing to put a lot of work into
>cataloging recorded ancient languages, a library like PG will end up
>using the modern language tags for ancient languages instead of
>fighting for dozens of new tags. To follow this path involves dozens
>of new tags, which probably won't successfully be created piece-meal.

I suspect that tagging is still worse for ancient varieties of non-Western 
non-Classical languages.
I think we'll probably have to go about it all piecemeal though (on an as 
sought-for basis) and that way each case may get the attention it merits, as 
I think all these varieties merit special attention to prevent the tags from 
becoming just rigidly applied and ultra-systematic (for the sake of 
expediency) and perhaps not as meaningful and as useful as they should be.

--C. E. Whitehead
cewcathar at hotmail.com

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