Indonesian and extlang...

Doug Ewell doug at
Thu Dec 31 05:43:25 CET 2009

(Re-sent for the benefit of the Web archive, which thinks a line 
starting with "From" marks the end of a message.)

Kent Karlsson <kent dot karlsson14 at comhem dot se> wrote:

> Indeed we have that for all of the languages "covered by" 'ms', 
> *except* for Indonesian. So I would have expected an entry like this:
> %%
> Type: extlang
> Subtag: ind
> Description: Indonesian
> Added: 2009-07-29
> Preferred-Value: id
> Prefix: ms
> Macrolanguage: ms
> %%
> But there is no such entry. Was this one excluded for some reason, or 
> is this an omission by mistake? I don't seem to find any mention of 
> this point in RFC 5645...

This was considered, and is intentional, and is reflected in both

.From RFC 5646, Section 3.4, item 12.A:

A.  Codes assigned by ISO 639-1 that do not conflict with
    existing two-letter primary language subtags and that have
    no corresponding three-letter primary defined in the
    registry are entered into the IANA registry as new records
    of type 'language'.  Note that languages given an ISO 639-1
    code cannot be given extended language subtags, even if
    encompassed by a macrolanguage.

And from RFC 5645, Section 2.2 ("New Language Subtags"):

   For each language in [ISO639-3] that was not already represented by a
   language subtag in the Language Subtag Registry, a new language
   subtag was added to the registry, using the [ISO639-3] code element
   as the value for the Subtag field and using each of the non-inverted
   [ISO639-3] names as a separate Description field.  The [ISO639-3]
   reference name is represented by the first Description field.

   If the language was encompassed by one of the [ISO639-3]
   macrolanguages 'ar' (Arabic), 'kok' (Konkani), 'ms' (Malay), 'sw'
   (Swahili), 'uz' (Uzbek), or 'zh' (Chinese), as determined by
   [iso-639-3-macrolanguages_20090120], an extended language subtag was
   also added, with the primary language subtag of the macrolanguage as
   the value for the Prefix field.

There is no similar wording in Section 2.3 ("Modified Language
Subtags"), by design.  In the (many times repeated) production of the
RFC 5645 Registry, only newly created language subtags were considered
as candidates for extlangs.  Existing language subtags were not examined
as part of this process.

Doug Ewell  |  Thornton, Colorado, USA  |
RFC 5645, 4645, UTN #14  |  ietf-languages @ ­

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