ID for language-invariant strings

Michael Everson everson at
Fri Mar 14 16:56:25 CET 2008

At 08:49 -0700 2008-03-14, Peter Constable wrote:

>For instance, suppose I need to apply language tags to each of the 
>data elements in the main ISO 639-3 code table. For data in columns 
>like the 639-3 ID, clearly "zxx" applies: the alpha-3 identifiers 
>have no linguistic content. But what about the reference names? 
>"zxx" would be a decidedly bad choice for that column, IMO, since 
>every single data element is definitely linguistic in nature.

Why? It is a secret Platonic "Times" or "Everson Mono" name in some 
sense, but as it is just a never-seen-by-user peg to hang the 
user-seen strings from, if I understand rightly. Why not use "zxx"? 
Programmatically you won't be using "zxx" for anything else in that 
context. It is a library tag after all, designed for, well, 
non-linguistic things.

>I don't know why people are so adverse to new special-purpose code 
>elements when there is a reasonable need.

You've not shown a need to contrast this with "zxx" in the rarified 
context you describe.

I've got to get to a train.
Michael Everson *

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