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

John Cowan cowan at
Mon Dec 14 06:56:29 CET 2009

Randy Presuhn scripsit:

> In this case registration requests for variant subtags would be appropriate *if*
> someone needed to distinguish the various dialects.  Creating pre-deprecated
> records for those dialects, with preferred-values using the (not yet and we don't
> know if they ever will be requested) variant subtags seems a rather Rube
> Goldberg-like approach.  Creating pre-deprecated records for those dialects
> *without* preferred-values seems like an active disservice to whoever might
> someday need to identify those dialects.  I think we're better off leaving them
> out, and using the normal process to handle the variant subtag requests if and
> when they happen.  That would be much less confusing for folks not wrapped
> up in RFC 5646 aracana, and leaves open both the possibility that these
> could be handled as variants, or, if further consideration tips the balance
> once again, as language subtags.

Fair enough.

But what about the original request for 'eml'?  That is not a merger,
but a split: it represents the RA's decision that Emiliano-Romagnolo is
not a single language but two languages.  Here the denotation of 'eml'
is the union of the denotations of 'egl' and 'rgn'.  The 639-3/RA chose
not to make 'eml' a macrolanguage, and 639-5/RA chose not to make it a
collection code, so it was retired.  The result is that anything so tagged
cannot be correctly retagged unless it is re-examined to see if it is
'egl' or 'rgn'.  This is not a case like "eng-840" where a mechanical
transformation is all that is required.

I suppose we could create a 5-letter primary language tag for this case,
but we don't need to: we can instantiate the 639-3 code element as a
normal primary language subtag.  If we are not required to do this,
we are not forbidden from doing it either.

John Cowan   cowan at
    "Mr. Lane, if you ever wish anything that I can do, all you will have
        to do will be to send me a telegram asking and it will be done."
    "Mr. Hearst, if you ever get a telegram from me asking you to do
        anything, you can put the telegram down as a forgery."

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