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

Doug Ewell doug at
Mon Aug 24 02:03:24 CEST 2009

"Phillips, Addison" <addison at amazon dot com> wrote:

>> I have seen seemingly reasonable subtags proposed to this list being 
>> turned down since they were considered derogatory by some.
> The subtag itself was changed, if I recall correctly, to something 
> deemed less-offensive or inoffensive. I believe the registration 
> itself did occur (as 1959acad).

That's quite different from the subtag "being turned down."

> Certainly we should try to avoid creating subtags that are known to 
> use derogatory or offensive terms for a language or its variant or the 
> speaker population that uses it.

Wait a minute, now we've gone from Kent's:

> One possible worry here is that this designation **may** be considered 
> derogative. Not that I know that it is. I'm just worried that it might 
> be.

... which is essentially a hunch that if one variation is considered 
derogatory, then another one *might* be -- to creating "subtags that are 
known to use derogatory or offensive terms"?  Maybe we should wait and 
see what actual evidence Pascal or someone else can provide, one way or 
the other, before proceeding on the assumption that there is a problem.

> Thus, I agree with Kent, however, that we should be careful about the 
> term for 'djk' used in the registry.

I have a suggestion.  Why don't we stop worrying about the Description 
field for 'djk' and focus on the variants that Pascal wanted to 

We keep doing this on this list -- taking a small problem and extracting 
from it a big, loosely related problem never envisioned by the proposer. 
Someone proposes a variant subtag for one flavor of a language, and 
inevitably someone else will protest that we have to register subtags 
for the other flavor or it will be discriminatory.  This happened with 
Belarusian well before the actual request came in to register 

Here we have someone who wants variants for three dialects of an ISO 
639-3 language, and he NON-normatively refers to that language by a name 
that ISO 639-3 did not use.  Now, la, we have a big debate over whether 
the NON-normative Description field for this primary language subtag 
needs to be changed to match, and whether one or more spellings proposed 
for that name might be offensive -- no evidence that it is, just fear. 
It was suggested that we need to take into account what name the native 
speakers might want to be used for their language in an official context 
like the Registry.  Ethnologue says there are 22,090 speakers with a 
literacy rate under 10%.  Are we really going to insist on this kind of 

Let's just register the three variants, with their NON-normative 
references to "the Busi Nenge Tongo Creole."  The Prefix field 'djk' 
will indicate what the base language is; that is what the Prefix field 
is for.  Any user who looks up the subtag 'djk' and is overly concerned 
that the name "Aukan" doesn't match "Busi Nenge Tongo Creole" can do her 
own research, and it will probably be a lot more informative than all 
this conjecture.

Once in a while we ought to put a little faith in the expertise of the 
requester.  Pascal Vaillant's affiliation is listed as "CELIA (Centre 
d'Étude des Langues Indigènes d'Amérique, CNRS/IRD), Université des 
Antilles et de la Guyane, Cayenne, French Guiana."  I'd be willing to 
wager he is not just pulling his information about indigenous South 
American languages out of a hole in the ground.

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

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