Request: Add retired tag "eml" to the IANA registry

Randy Presuhn randy_presuhn at
Fri Dec 11 21:41:25 CET 2009

Hi -

> From: "John Cowan" <cowan at>
> To: "Randy Presuhn" <randy_presuhn at>
> Cc: <ietf-languages at>
> Sent: Friday, December 11, 2009 12:04 PM
> Subject: Re: Request: Add retired tag "eml" to the IANA registry
> The question is, though, whether we were right to exclude the
> retired codes (now that it's clearly established that they
> are not to be reused later) at all.  As I quoted earlier from
> ,
>         Retired code elements remain part of the code set and retain
>         their identifier and denotation.
> Since we do not AFAICT have limiting language in RFC 5646 that says we
> can only register 639-3 codes in active status, it seems to me that we
> SHOULD and perhaps MUST register the retired codes, since they have the
> same denotations they had before their retirement.

Definitely not "MUST" - that sort of language is only appropriate when something
is necessary in order for things to work.  Since no one could ever have legitimately
used these as language subtags, that's clearly not the case.

I think even "SHOULD" is too strong.  The classic understanding of the IETF
keyword is that it is used to indicate generally desireable operational practice,
from which one might depart for good reason.  I don't see how the registration
of something which never should be used, and which provides no compatibility
benefit with respect to an earlier version of the BCP, would be desireable.

> I hesitate only
> in the case of the Group 1 (nonexistent language) codes, since their
> denotations are empty: still, there are only eight of them, and adding
> a comment would probably do the trick.

We should also keep in mind the RFC 5646 section 3.4 (13) principle of not
adding a new subtag with semantics identical  to something already in the registry.


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