pinyin (and wadegile) request has gotten derailed

John Cowan cowan at
Wed Sep 17 05:01:52 CEST 2008

David Starner scripsit:

> But (a) they are all Turkic, (b) the orthography was designed for them
> as a group, and (c) the users are likely to be familiar with it as an
> orthography for a group of languages. In this case (a) we're talking
> about unrelated languages, (b) the orthography was designed and
> standardized (by ISO) for Mandarin only, with Tibetan coming later and
> (c) most users are likely to be familiar with Hanyu Pinyin only. 

True, the analogy's not perfect.  But language tags are intended to
be interpreted from left to right.  The tag recipient will already
know that the relevant language is Tibetan before she must concern
herself with which romanization is in use.

(BTW, Tibetan and Chinese are distantly related.)

> In fact, I think the possibility of abuse is greatly reduced by
> specifying exactly one orthography for Mandarin Chinese, rather then
> calling it vaguely defining a set of orthographies and hoping people
> realize that Cantonese Pinyu isn't part of that set.

I would be happy to have a registry comment to that effect:

	Comment: Not to be used for Standard Cantonese Pinyin

John Cowan   cowan at
Most languages are dramatically underdescribed, and at least one is
dramatically overdescribed.  Still other languages are simultaneously
overdescribed and underdescribed.  Welsh pertains to the third category.
        --Alan King

More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list