Adding variant subtags 'aluku' and 'nduyka' and 'pamaka' for dialects

Peter Constable petercon at
Thu Aug 20 08:57:50 CEST 2009

For language subtags, the Description values come from names recorded in ISO 639: it's pretty clear in that case that the subtag is for a single thing. For variants, there is no external source and independent reference: the semantics of the subtag is determined solely by what is in the LSTR record. So, I think there's more potential for misinterpretation of the intent for variants than for language, region or script IDs.


-----Original Message-----
From: Doug Ewell [mailto:doug at] 
Sent: Wednesday, August 19, 2009 8:26 PM
To: ietf-languages at
Cc: Peter Constable
Subject: Re: Adding variant subtags 'aluku' and 'nduyka' and 'pamaka' for dialects

Peter Constable <petercon at microsoft dot com> wrote:

> I have a small concern with Doug's revision: when people see
> Description: Aluku dialect
> Description: Boni dialect
> will they understand that these are alternate names for the same 
> dialect, or perceive these to be two different dialects? It might be 
> helpful to keep something to the effect of "Aluku and Boni are 
> alternate names" in the comment field. (Likewise for the other
> registrations.)

I don't know.  Do we have a similar problem with Dutch and Flemish, or Spanish and Castilian, or Asturian and Bable and Leonese?

We currently have 218 subtags (179 language, 9 extlang, 23 script, 7
variant) that have two or more Description fields.  Many of the language subtags are new with 4646bis, but many are not.  Many of the alternative names are similar (Kikuyu/Gikuyu), but many are not (such as the ones above).  All but one of the Slovenian/Resian variant subtags have two or more Description fields.  I guess I'm not sure what is different about 'aluku' and 'nduyka'.

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

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