Proposal to remove Preferred-Value field for region YU in LTRU

Lang Gérard gerard.lang at
Tue Mar 3 08:14:04 CET 2009

If you want to have a standard that gives a coded representation of history of the names of countries, then the french experimental standard AFNOR XP Z 44-002 (Août 1997) "Code pour la representation des noms de pays historiques" (in english: Code for the representation of the name of historical coutries"  does the work for the time period beginning from 1815 (Congress of Vienna) [and we are continuing to make the job by going back until year 1000].
This standard gives an alpha-5 code in capital latin letters for the representation of names of historical countries.
So, Bophuthatswana is represented by the code element BPWZA, that is valid for the time period from 1977 to 1994.
Gérard LANG

-----Message d'origine-----
De : ietf-languages-bounces at [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] De la part de John Cowan
Envoyé : lundi 2 mars 2009 18:24
À : Broome, Karen
Cc : ietf-languages at
Objet : Re: Proposal to remove Preferred-Value field for region YU in LTRU

Broome, Karen scripsit:

> I realize that this use case is not related to language, but in this 
> case suggesting CS would not be appropriate. I almost wonder if 
> countries should be considered "deprecated" in the traditional sense. 
> They may no longer be current countries of the world, but that doesn't 
> mean that people aren't going to continue to use these tags in 
> appropriate ways for historical content.

The region subtags in BCP 47 tags are meant only to discriminate among varieties of language that happen to be aligned with those particular
regions: semantically, they are just like variant subtags.  It so happens that in many parts of the world language varieties *do* align with countries, and it is also true that many languages have official orthographies (de jure or de facto) that vary by country.  Our registry is by no means meant to replace ISO 3166 itself, much less provide a historical conspectus of it.

> If I were to represent our data properly in ISO 3166-1, I need a tag 
> for Bophuthatswana, which existed so briefly, it never had an ISO tag.

"What is a country?" is a vexed business.  In this case, the rest of the world decided to treat Bophuthatswana as still part of South Africa, as it was before 1977 and after 1994.  The IETF doesn't get involved -- we just track ISO 3166, which just tracks UNSD M.49, which makes its decisions primarily on economic grounds.

He played King Lear as though           John Cowan <cowan at>
someone had played the ace.   
        --Eugene Field
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