ID for language-invariant strings

Mark Davis mark.davis at
Mon Mar 17 21:15:58 CET 2008

I agree with you that

> However, for most of the examples it seems disingenuous to claim the
> data is not linguistic in nature.  These are cases where we have stuff
> that clearly *is* language in that in conveys meaning, but it doesn't
> "play by the rules" that apply to material that is *in* a particular
> language....

This is different from where I have a part number, or an internal code like
"zh", where having the language value be "No linguistic content" is
perfectly fine.

> "und" seems wrong to me - it's not that we aren't able to figure out
> what language this stuff is "in".

I disagree about 'und'. I don't like a proliferation of codes where one
works fine.

Type: language
Subtag: und
Description: Undetermined
Added: 2005-10-16

"und" means "undetermined". Not "cannot figure out what language this stuff
is in", not "cannot be determined", just "undetermined". That is about as
neutral as you can be.

If I have a language-neutral string like "Arial", that is to be presented to
users as the name of a font, it certainly has linguistic content. It is not
an arbitrary part number like SN305-SV, is not being presented as an
internal code; it is being presented to users as a fallback name, in case
there is no translation/transliteration into the user's language. I don't
see how it is inappropriate to say that the language value is Undetermined.

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