Valencian Language Tag registration request

Peter Constable petercon at
Fri Jun 19 17:03:40 CEST 2009

From: ietf-languages-bounces at [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of Lang Gérard

> Not exactly so, because the title is "Code for the representation 
> of names of languages", so that:
> (i)-the only veritable name of the considered language is the 
> autonym 

Or autonym_s_, in many cases. And when there are alternatives in use who is to decide which is to be preferred?

I heard a fascinating presentation by an Indian linguist about ten years ago in which he described rapid changes in linguistic self-identity in India as inferred by looking at census data over successive decades. The labels reported for language in use at home have been seen to change dramatically over two or three decades. The only possible interpretations are that linguistic populations have grown and shrunk at astounding rates or that the autonyms have changed, and only the latter is plausible.

So, do we code all of those different autonyms? That would only be useful if the purpose of coding was to document the autonyms that are or have been in use -- but coding serves no purpose in that recording exercise. On the other hand, if coding is done to provide metadata elements for declaring linguistic attributes of information objects, then coding those different autonyms is decidedly unhelpful.

> (original name inside ISO 639:1988; vernacular form inside 
> ISO 639-2:1998; indigenous form inside ISO 639-1:2002; and should 
> be reference name inside ISO 639-3: 2007)

While autonyms may be preferable, reference name in ISO 639-3 should not be constrained to only autonyms. First, it is simply impracticable logistically to rapidly determine a complete set of autonyms for all of the languages spoken in the world. Secondly, there will be many cases in which the autonym cannot be discovered (e.g., do we know what the Persians of the 5th century BC called their language?), and cases of historic varieties for which the autonyms would be the same yet ICT applications require distinctions (e.g., Modern vs. Middle English).

> , and this is the object that should whose representation should be coded inside ISO 639.

You continue to repeat the same assertions, but the only rationale you ever give is that this was the historical model for ISO 3166 and ISO 639. Even if that is true, others see obvious reasons why, at least for ISO 639, that is not a useful model. Yet, in several years of making your case you have not offered any new argumentation. As John said, 

>> It's time to put the "names of languages" canard to rest once and for all.


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