Persian vs Farsi (half-OT) (was RFC 4645bis: making 'pes' and 'prs' extlangs)

Doug Ewell doug at
Tue Dec 9 06:50:33 CET 2008

CE Whitehead <cewcathar at hotmail dot com> wrote:

> If these two languages (Eastern --- and Western --- ) are going to 
> need distinct names and it seems that they do,

They already have distinct names.

> they might have all of the following:
> 1  pes
> Farsi
> Western Persian (or Western Farsi)
> 2.  prs
> Dari
> Eastern Persian (or Western Farsi)
> Does this seem to be an o.k. solution?

Not to me, for two reasons:

1.  The form "A (or B)" doesn't work well as a Description field.  It is 
unwieldy and causes people to have to use both names when citing the 
Description, instead of choosing one.  We had that problem during the 
RFC 3066 era when people registered tags with descriptions like 
"Shanghaiese or Wu" and "Min, Fuzhou, Hokkien, Amoy, or Taiwanese." 
When we want a language (script, region, variant) to be associated with 
more than one name, we should give each name its own Description field.

2.  The subtag 'fa' already has a description of "Persian."  People, 
even those who prefer one name or the other, know that "Farsi" and 
"Persian" are two different words for the same thing.  We will only 
create confusion by equating "Farsi" with "Western Persian" while having 
a separate subtag for "Persian."

There is nothing wrong with the existing names, except that we might 
choose to add "Western Persian" to 'pes' and "Eastern Persian" to 'prs'. 
And, at the risk of repeating myself, this discussion is entirely moot 
until RFC 4646bis and 4645bis get out of the LTRU WG, pass IETF Last 
Call, make it through the RFC Editor queue, and get through AUTH48, and 
the new Registry is posted at the IANA site.  Until then, there are no 
subtags to be altered.

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

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