Principles of Operation (was: LANGUAGE SUBTAG REQUEST FORM, Erzgebirgisch)

John Cowan cowan at
Wed Jan 30 16:22:47 CET 2008

Doug Ewell scripsit:

> The Registry does not say that 'de' indicates "all varieties of German" 
> or that it does not.  It says: "Description: German".  

The Registry defers to ISO 639/1-2 for the interpretation of this tag,
which isn't much help.  When 4646bis is adopted, it will be able to
defer to 639-3, which defers to the Ethnologue, which is very clear
about the meaning: it is Standard German, the language in which Goethe
wrote, the language that Henry Kissinger speaks natively (but poorly),
the language spoken by almost a million people in Kazakhstan.

A rose by any other name                            John Cowan
may smell as sweet,                       
but if you called it an onion                       cowan at
you'd get cooks very confused.          --RMS

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