Fw: Erzgebirgisch Classification Question

Doug Ewell doug at ewellic.org
Tue Mar 25 16:06:32 CET 2008

Frank Ellermann <nobody at xyzzy dot claranet dot de> wrote:

> So if you decide to wait for a successor of RFC 4646
> introducing or allowing ISO 639-3 language subtags
> including "sxu", and register erzgeb as sxu-erzgeb,
> then it might be possible to add de-erzgeb later, but
> it's not possible to remove sxu.

I thought we had this discussion already about adding a second prefix, 
and frankly I'm surprised to see it come up again.

The purpose of multiple prefixes is to allow a single variant subtag to 
be associated with multiple languages, NOT to provide "aliases" for the 
same language variation.

Syntactically, yes, it would be possible to create the subtag 'erzgeb' 
with a prefix of 'sxu', and then add a second prefix 'de' later.

Semantically, this would make no sense, because it would imply the 
existence of both an 'erzgeb' variant of Upper Saxon AND an 'erzgeb' 
variant of German, which is not the situation here.

Consider the subtag 'baku1926', which denotes a particular orthography, 
and which has 10 Prefix fields.  This signifies that the orthography can 
be used with any of those 10 languages.  There is no implication that 
the combinations "az-baku1926", "ba-baku1926", and so forth are 
equivalent or interchangeable in any way.  This is by design, as it was 
not expected that the ietf-languages group would intentionally create 
this type of duplication.  We have enough trouble with duplication as it 
is, with registered tags that are superseded by ISO-based subtags, and 
ISO-imposed overlaps like no/nb/nn.

Our goal in registering variants like 'erzgeb' is to allow legitimate 
language variations to be tagged, not to provide tags with perfect 
mnemonic or language-hierarchy value.  (Ask speakers of Yakut whether 
'sah' is an ideal subtag for their language.)  We need to understand 
this and not promote the idea that we can always add a "better" alias 
for the same variation later on.

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

More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list