639-3 updates

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Sun May 13 20:49:40 CEST 2007

At 13:57 -0400 2007-05-13, John Cowan wrote:
>Michael Everson scripsit:
>  > Forgive me, but I was under the impression that the registry was a
>>  bit more than a condom. Its primary purpose is to allow the
>>  registration of entities which are not otherwise encoded.
>That's pretty much a secondary purpose now, given that we only register
>things like dialects and orthographic variants, leaving the primary
>elements (languages, national and supranational regions, and scripts)
>to the various ISO RAs and MAs.

That would include "entities which are not otherwise encoded" it seems to me.

>  > This whole kerfluffle about "mis" is extremely uninteresting. Are
>>  there examples of this tag being used to encode data now? 
>Hmm, how shall I put this?  Some of Mark Davis's postings have implied
>that one or more of the organizations he is associated with is, or is
>considering, using 'mis' as a tag for labeling content whose language
>cannot be determined by that organization.
>This clearly conflicts with the way in which MARC, which devised the tag
>in the first place, is using it: for content whose language is known
>but stands outside the incomplete hierarchical classification of 639-2.

Next time, please put it more plainly, please.

It seems to me that this issue is out of scope of a judgement that 
*I* as reviewer can make. Surely I am not supposed to mediate between 
Mark Davis' nameless organizations and the MARC group considering 
that neither of those organizations are communicating, evidently, 
with each other or with me (directly) on this matter.

(It seems to me that if one knows what something is, one should tag 
it accordingly, and that if one does NOT know what something is, one 
should not tag it at all. Tagging it with an "I don't know right now" 
tag seems to me to be peculiar at best, and temporary in the long 
run. That is my personal opinion.)

I think this request for "explanatory text" in the registry should be 
REJECTED because it is inherently contentious in terms of different 
users of the  registry or of the people who happen to be subscribed 
to this list this month.

As the tag belongs to ISO 639, it is for ISO 639 to determine what 
the exact meaning or the tag is.

That is my opinion as reviewer.

Consider this request REJECTED for these reasons. Frank, the proper 
thing for you to do is to work with the ISO 639 folks to get 
clarification on the meaning of the subtag, and then, with their 
support, a clarification which is consistent with the ISO 639 meaning 
can be added to the registry. Whether that will or will not satisfy 
Mark Davis' nameless organizations I cannot say. He and they should 
beware that this registry SHOULD ensure that the definition of "mis" 
is consistent with the clarification which ISO 639 comes up with in 
due course. I would suggest the use of a private-use tag in the 
meantime, if he and they believe that their category is precise or 
useful in some way. (I have my doubts, based on what John said.)

You may withdraw the request or ping me in a fortnight when I predict 
that I will say exactly the same thing.

I think that this is the best I can do with this meta-issue. The 
content of a tag which is not linguistic is difficult for a 
linguistic review.
Michael Everson * http://www.evertype.com

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