Doug Ewell doug at ewellic.org
Tue Aug 26 02:14:16 CEST 2008

Mark Davis <mark at macchiato dot com> wrote:

> I believe the answer was stated. We're applying for a tag for Chinese 
> Hanyu Pinyin and Wade-Giles romanizations. That cannot be done with 
> prefixes of cmn or zh-cmn according to RFC 4646, which is the current 
> specification in force for the IANA language subtag registry. If and 
> when RFC4646bis passes, we would then register cmn or zh-cmn also as a 
> prefix, but given the rate of progress so far, that is in the 
> indefinite future, perhaps never. Those would be specifically Mandarin 
> romanizations as opposed to Chinese romanizations.

It's clear that there is supposed to be a definite resolution within two 
weeks, even if that resolution is "wait two more weeks, we haven't 
decided yet."

However, as I remember, there were strong objections to allowing these 
subtags to combine with 'zh', and RFC 4646 doesn't allow a variant 
subtag to be attached to a grandfathered tag.  So if the strong 
objections are upheld, there isn't anything we can do unless and until 
RFC 4646bis passes.  (And I share your doubts as to whether this will 
ever happen, after a 24-day stretch with no business conducted on the 
LTRU list.)

> In any event, it is certainly well-defined, meaningful, and legitimate 
> to register "pinyin" and "wadegile" with the prefix "zh-Latn", as 
> meaning "Chinese momanizations"; they certainly exist and are in 
> widespread usage.

I thought this would be fine, but others are concerned that "zh-pinyin" 
could be used with other Chinese languages/dialects written in different 
romanizations that are also called "pinyin."  Apparently this would be 

If we register "zh" as a prefix, we can't ever take it away, because of 
the restriction against narrowing.  We can only add other prefixes.

Doug Ewell  *  Thornton, Colorado, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14
http://www.alvestrand.no/mailman/listinfo/ietf-languages  ˆ

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