Adding variant subtags 'aluku' and 'nduyka' and 'pamaka' fordialects

Phillips, Addison addison at
Fri Aug 21 05:23:10 CEST 2009

I sense brewing in the teapot, a tempest.

I completely agree that variants are likely to diverge from the "atomic meaning" that we typically maintain for subtags. Indeed a great deal of effort was expended in BCP 47 to try and prevent such things happening. At least in RFC-to-be-5646, you are not permitted to register a Description or Prefix that would cause a variant to broaden in that way (initial registration is not prohibited, though).

On the other hand, Peter also has a point. If you don't know what these tokens are or mean, it may not be clear to users what the point is of the subtag. The Comments field exists to spell out such things. There is no prohibition on using it to clarify the intention.

I support, Doug, your proposed shorter Description fields because they are suitably succinct. But I also support Peter's suggestion that we at least consider a comment spelling out what Aluku dialect and Boni dialect are--two names for a single dialect or sets of dialects. Indeed, the most recent record submitted to this list (and thus the thing we are actually discussing) appears to have this comment:

Comments: Aluku (sometimes called Boni), dialect of the "Busi Nenge
  Tongo" English-based Creole continuum in the Eastern Suriname and
  Western French Guiana

One thing that bothers me: the Description of 'djk' is "Aukan". Ethnologue, at least, doesn't mention "Busi Nenge Tongo", at least by that spelling (it does mention Aluku and Boni, though). I don't pretend to know what any of these language are, but it would probably make sense to use the same description here and in 'djk' or consider adding more Description fields to 'djk'

Thus, let me suggest that the record could be:

File-Date: 2009-08-27
Type: variant
Subtag: aluku
Description: Aluku dialect
Description: Boni dialect
Added: 2009-08-27
Prefix: djk
Comments: Aluku (which is sometimes called Boni) is a specific dialect of 
  Aukan (djk), also called "Busi Nenge Tongo", an English-based Creole 
  continuum in eastern Suriname and western French Guiana.

Addison Phillips
Globalization Architect -- Lab126

Internationalization is not a feature.
It is an architecture.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: ietf-languages-bounces at [mailto:ietf-languages-
> bounces at] On Behalf Of Doug Ewell
> Sent: Thursday, August 20, 2009 7:03 PM
> To: ietf-languages at
> Subject: Re: Adding variant subtags 'aluku' and 'nduyka' and
> 'pamaka' fordialects
> Peter Constable <petercon at microsoft dot com> wrote:
> > Do we know all the ways that the LSTR will get used?
> Well, of course we don't.  I didn't know, for example, the region
> subtags were expected to be used as a general reference to ISO 3166
> country codes, such that we would have to add 'EU' and the other
> exceptionally reserved codes just to support that use case.
> > Will records from the registry, but not the corresponding details
> in
> > registration forms, get presented to users in some context where
> they
> > are left to interpret the record without the benefit of the forms?
> If
> > so, would potential risks warrant a small mitigating addition to
> the
> > comment field, or are the risks negligible?
> I think maybe I didn't communicate clearly why I don't think this
> is a
> problem that needs to be solved.
> There are NO subtags -- or grandfathered or redundant whole tags,
> for
> that matter -- anywhere in the Registry that represent two or more
> different entities.  I can't think why a user would assume, in the
> absence of direction, that variants should be the lone exception in
> this
> regard.  Even variants that have multiple Prefix fields (like
> 'baku1926') or none (like 'fonipa') refer to the same basic concept,
> merely applied to different base languages.
> >>> So, I think there's more potential for misinterpretation of the
> >>> intent for variants than for language, region or script IDs.
> >>
> >> I think this distinction is important and/or interesting to
> those of
> >> us on this list and LTRU, but I'm not sure the average user
> cares.
> >
> > Well, as well, there are a lot of average users who wouldn't care
> > enough to understand if the subtag was meant to be used for one
> thing
> > or two.
> See above.
> >> Type: language
> >> Subtag: nl
> >> Description: Dutch
> >> Description: Flemish
> >> Added: 2005-10-16
> >> Suppress-Script: Latn
> >> Comments: Dutch and Flemish are alternate names
> >
> > Perhaps a reasonable comparison, though there are differences in
> the
> > scenarios: not-well-known dialect names for a not-well-known
> language
> > versus well-known names for a well-known language within a
> > sociolinguistic milieu that has various complexities.
> OK, if we want some not-well-known examples I can easily pull out
> 'bfe'
> (Betaf, Tena) or 'mhe' (Besisi, Mah Meri) or 'tbp' (Taworta,
> Diebroud)
> or 'Tglg' (Tagalog, Baybayin, Alibata).
> I can agree that the Spanish/Castilian identity is well-known to a
> large
> percentage of people who would use the Registry, and probably the
> Dutch/Flemish identity as well (though I know there are some who
> claim
> it's not as simple as that), while the Aluku/Boni identity is not
> at all
> well-known.  But I'm not at all sure where we would draw the line
> between those extremes.
> If others agree that there is a genuine risk of Registry users
> thinking
> that a single variant can refer to two different language
> variations,
> I'll back off.
> --
> Doug Ewell  *  Thornton, Colorado, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14
>  ˆ
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