Zinh - Code for inherited script and governance of ISO 15924

Doug Ewell doug at ewellic.org
Thu Feb 26 14:59:39 CET 2009

Michael Everson <everson at evertype dot com> wrote:

> The entity existed for whatever purposes in Unicode already. Moving 
> from Qaai to Zinh was motivated by a query the Consortium had received 
> about the move from Qaac to Copt.

While I'm not going to claim that the decision to encode 'Zinh' in ISO 
15924 was improperly influenced -- which should come as a relief to 
those who suffered through my arguments against adding emoji to 
Unicode -- I do think this is a case where a private-use code would have 
sufficed.  The Unicode script property is not exactly one of the most 
widely known or publicly visible aspects of Unicode.  And unlike "math 
notation" or "symbols," or even "unwritten" or "undetermined script," 
"inherited script" is strictly a UAX #24 concept, not likely to be 
useful to ANY other users of ISO 15924 besides Unicode.

The analogy with Coptic, whoever originally made it, seems a 
particularly poor one.  Nobody could deny that Coptic is a real script.

Having said all that, this list is the place to discuss language tagging 
and subtags, not to debate the policy of ISO MAs.  For better or worse, 
'Zinh' has been added to ISO 15924.  Our role is to discuss adding it to 
the Registry, and RFC 4646, Section 3.3 says we must add it unless it 
"conflicts with existing registry entries," which it clearly does not.

There are very good reasons why we accept, however reluctantly, code 
elements like 'mis' and 'Zinh' and 'AQ' that aren't directly useful for 
constructing language tags.  Charges of "cherry-picking" the core 
standards very nearly derailed the process of developing RFC 4646 and 
getting it approved, toward the end of 2004.  Extraneous subtags like 
these may be briefly confusing to the new user (which is why a comment 
may be appropriate here), but I disagree with Tex that they make the 
Registry "much more difficult to use."  They're just warts, somewhat 
like "zh-min".

Doug Ewell  *  Thornton, Colorado, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14
http://www.alvestrand.no/mailman/listinfo/ietf-languages  ˆ

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