ON LANGUAGE NAMES /// RE: Results of Duplicate Busters

Doug Ewell doug at ewellic.org
Sat Sep 6 02:29:57 CEST 2008

Peter Constable <petercon at microsoft dot com> wrote:

> Likewise, I'd guess the general understanding of language subtags 
> derived from ISO 639 is that they are symbolic, coded elements that 
> denote the concepts of particular individual languages. (Note I'm 
> talking here about LSTR language subtags, not elements defined in ISO 
> 639.) Accordingly, the purpose of names recorded in the LSTR is to 
> document the concept denoted by a given subtag. We are tacitly 
> assuming that the various parts of ISO 639 do provide a representation 
> of concepts, whether that be directly or indirectly -- that is, if 
> (say) formally ISO 639-1 is coding language names, we assume here that 
> it is, by doing so, indirectly defining symbols that denote the 
> concepts of particular languages.

I don't know about anyone else, but I've always worked under that 
assumption -- that language subtags represent the languages themselves, 
unlike ISO 639 code elements, which represent the names of languages.

It wouldn't make any sense in the context of tagging content to 
represent the names of languages, but not the languages themselves.

The same goes for region subtags and ISO 3166, and script subtags and 
ISO 15924.

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

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