Doug Ewell doug at
Thu May 1 08:05:32 CEST 2008

Randy Presuhn <randy underscore presuhn at mindspring dot com> wrote:

> However, do keep in mind RFC 4646 section 2:
>   Language tags are used to help identify languages, whether spoken,
>   written, signed, or otherwise signaled, for the purpose of
>   communication.  This includes constructed and artificial languages,
>   but excludes languages not intended primarily for human
>   communication, such as programming languages.

I am keeping that in mind, but unfortunately I am also looking at 
draft-4646bis, Section 4.1 (4)(4), which -- despite the "out of scope" 
statement above -- goes on to recommend the use of 'zxx' for 
"programming source code."

CE Whitehead <cewcathar at hotmail dot com> asked Randy:

> Is it your opinion that indicating any script subtag (we must use 
> [zxx] if we are to tag these languages properly I understand; [zxx] 
> now means a bit more; it can be used any case a language tag is not 
> applicable) for programming languages would violate RFC 4646 
> insistence that tagging is primarily to indicate natural/human 
> language???  Thus it's not o.k. in any way to indicate the script of 
> programmatic languages?

I would have responded that:

1.  Using RFC 4646 language tags to tag programming language source code 
is out of scope.  (However, as shown above, this is no longer as clear 
as it once was.)

2.  "Indicating the script of programmatic languages" is a fairly 
pointless exercise, a bit like classifying programming languages based 
on the proportion of "real" English words like "for" and "else" versus 
made-up pseudo-English words like "foreach" and "elseif".  I ask again: 
what use would be made of this information?

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

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