Doug Ewell doug at
Sat Apr 26 04:03:13 CEST 2008

CE Whitehead <cewcathar at hotmail dot com> wrote:

> Writing or not,  the ASCII characters in programmatic languages are a 
> subset of Latin-1, and are used to encode programming keywords based 
> on English terms (while, for, if, then, else) as well as a few 
> mathematical symbols.  Perhaps there needs to be a comment somewhere 
> stating that [Latn] is not to be used to identify ASCII character 
> encoding--perhaps a comments field added to the [Latn] subtag??

Addison's comment, about not tagging ASCII-encoded data as if it were 
Latin-script linguistic content, reflects a general principle of 
language tagging -- use only those subtags that are needed to indicate 
the nature of the content.  This principle does not need to be captured 
in comments in the Registry.

The "problem" such a comment would "solve" is not limited to the Latin 
script.  Programming languages (such as APL) and transfer encodings 
(such as Markus Scherer's "base16k" [1]) that predominantly use 
characters outside the Basic Latin range do exist.  But it would be 
silly to tag APL source code as "zxx-Zsym" or base16k-encoded data as 
"zxx-Hani".  And more to the point, it would be silly to load up the 
Registry with warnings not to do silly things:

Type: script
Subtag: Cyrl
Description: Cyrillic
Added: 2005-10-16
Comments: Don't use this subtag for the reversed R in "Toys 'R' Us."

This is not about assisting users in the use of a particular script 
subtag.  It is about teaching users how to apply BCP 47, and for that, 
they really need to read BCP 47.  Yes, I know it's long -- very long --  
and that is why I also suggest that articles be written on 
that explain and paraphrase BCP 47.  But the Registry is not the place 
for this.

> (Do not consider this request too seriously

Sorry, if it's a request to put things in the Registry that don't belong 
there, I'm going to take it seriously.

Doug Ewell  *  Arvada, Colorado, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14  ˆ


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