Registration request: "mis" comment clarifying meaning

Doug Ewell dewell at
Sat May 12 20:35:06 CEST 2007

Michael Everson <everson at evertype dot com> wrote:

>>We deal in subtags now, not tags.  Users construct tags out of the 
>>subtags they find in the Registry.
> Oh. Subtle and impenetrable terminology. Fine.

The terminology has been in place since RFC 3066: a tag is composed of 
one or more subtags, joined by hyphens.  (In RFC 1766 it was different: 
a tag was composed of a tag followed by zero or more subtags, which I 
find much more impenetrable.)

The concept of being able to take the subtags "fr" and "CA" and put them 
together to make "fr-CA", such that the same "fr" could have been used 
to make "fr-CH" and the same "CA" could have been used to make "en-CA", 
has always been fundamental to RFC 1766/3066/4646 language tagging.  In 
4646 we got rid of the inconsistency whereby ISO code elements were used 
as subtags, but individuals requested whole tags; today they are all 

The original request to register Valencian was phrased in the form of a 
whole tag ("es-c") and I believe there was a point where the Late 
Middle/Early Modern French subtags were also being presented in this 
way.  That may indicate that some requesters are still not familiar with 
the tag/subtag distinction, but the solution is to hold tighter to the 
distinguishing terminology, not more loosely.

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

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