Adding variant subtag 'erzgeb' for Erzgebirgisch

Doug Ewell doug at
Wed Aug 12 04:58:09 CEST 2009

CE Whitehead <cewcathar at hotmail dot com> wrote:

> Normally I agree on this, and I am probably going to defer to Thomas 
> Goldammer on this matter; but the more I think about it the more it 
> makes sense to register this subtag with a prefix [gem] and then wait 
> for research to add a second prefix; [gem] is now a collection code, 
> right?  So using [gem] as the prefix will enable matching algorithms 
> to work.

So just to hammer the point home in a somewhat different way from Randy 
and Kent:

In order for this to work,

1. the exact set of individual languages covered under each "collection" 
subtag would have to be defined somewhere, preferably by one of the ISO 
639 registration authorities, and

2. this information would have to be reflected in the Language Subtag 
Registry, and

3. either RFC 4647 or draft-4646bis would have to have been written to 
specify that matching engines should associate collection subtags with 
the individual languages covered therein.

Since none of these is true -- unlike the situation with macrolanguages 
and extlangs -- using "gem" as the prefix will not enable matching 
algorithms to work.


> Hi.  I was hoping that [gem] would have become something like a 
> macro-language (now that 'other' is removed from its definition). 
> Apparently it is not doing so.

Removing "(other)" has nothing to do with it.  The individual languages 
covered under what ISO 639-5 calls "remainder groups" weren't subject to 
this behavior either.

> However, I am fine with registering a prefix of [de] and then adding 
> either of the other two prefixes ([sxu] or [vmf]).  (But again this 
> involves registering two prefixes, first [de] and then a second more 
> specific prefix--which Kent Karlsson seems to object to doing???)

(I think maybe CE is filtering my repeated posts on this topic.)

Once again... Creating TWO language tags for the same dialect, which is 
exactly what we would be doing by registering two prefixes in this case, 
will not help anyone.  It will result in some Erzgebirgisch content to 
be tagged with one tag and other Erzgebirgisch content to be tagged with 
a different tag, and matching algorithms will not get that right either, 
since there is no such thing as a Preferred-Value relationship between 
prefixes.  Does anyone really want that?

> And, if there are two variants of Erzgebirgisch, then I do not see why 
> we would object to having both of the other two prefixes.

I haven't seen a scrap of evidence that anyone thinks there are two 
variants of Erzgebirgisch.  Randy made a comment that *if there were* 
two such variants, then it would be appropriate to have two tags, but he 
added specifically that he was NOT saying this was so.  Certainly I've 
never heard Thomas make such a claim.

> However, if Thomas Goldammer has only one variant he wants a subtag 
> registered for, and if he can decide which prefix it should have, then 
> . . . I am fine with this single prefix.

I think that is a wise decision.

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

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