Results of Duplicate Busters Survey #2

Frank Ellermann nobody at
Sun Sep 7 12:07:34 CEST 2008

Doug Ewell wrote:

> The Language Subtag Registry currently lists "Ainu" as the 
> Description field for language subtag 'ain'.
> Under ISO 639-3, there are two unrelated languages called
> "Ainu," one spoken in Japan and the other spoken in China.
> The code element 'ain', which is meant to refer to the
> same language as evidenced by the tables on the ISO 639-3
> Web site, is associated with the name "Ainu (Japan)" 
> instead of simply "Ainu" because of the presence of the
> Chinese Ainu, which is not in ISO 639-2, probably because
> of the 50-document rule.
> The Chinese Ainu is represented by 'aib' in ISO 639-3.
> In the LTRU project, I have proposed to amend the subtag
> 'ain' by adding the 639-3 name "Ainu (Japan)" and -- the
> controversial part -- by deleting the 639-2 name "Ainu."

No controversy so far from my POV, this sounds all good...
> My rationale is that continuing to list the name "Ainu"
> for only one of the two Ainu's will create more potential
> confusion than if each Ainu is qualified by country, as
> ISO 639-3 has done.

+1 (Michael, this is a post-modern shorthand for u+0006 ;-)

> If I understand you correctly, you are saying that the
> use of only the Description field "Ainu (Japan)" and not
> "Ainu" will "obsolete" the RFC 4646 meaning of the tag,
> that adding the country qualifier "(Japan)" to the 
> Description constitutes a reinterpretation of the tag,
> and that this reinterpretation "can result in unclear
> gibberish."  Is that correct?

No, I don't think so.  The trouble are old "ain" actually
meaning "aib" before it existed and folks became aware of
it.  The info "this was once Ainu" (without a qualifier)
is lost.  I don't care how this is noted, a comment could
do, e.g., "ISO 639-2 Ainu, not the same as aib".


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