Last call for ISO 15924-based updates

Doug Ewell doug at
Mon Mar 16 13:42:17 CET 2009

Lang Gérard <gerard dot lang at insee dot fr> wrote:

> From messages of Peter Constable, or even from Addison Phillips, that 
> is very honestly signalling himself as "Unicode Partisan" and marks a 
> formal reluctance about "Zinh" by writing "None of that makes 'Zinh' 
> useful in a language tag, and adds"It might make a good case for a 
> comment to that effect, as Doug has suggested",

I don't think any of these statements marks anyone as a "Unicode 
Partisan," whatever that is supposed to mean.  Everyone acknowledges 
that 'Zinh' was added to ISO 15924 to satisfy a Unicode need.  Everyone 
*should* acknowledge that ISO 15924, like the other core standards, 
exists for purposes besides merely supplying subtags to the Registry. 
All of the core standards include code elements like 'Zinh' that are 
not, or at best marginally, of use to the Registry.

> I would say that we have a solid basis to build a comment that seems 
> more than necessary.To be more specific, "Zinh" is exactly for me, 
> compared to "zxxx" (or "Zyyy" and "Zzzz" inside ISO 15924, and also 
> "mul", "mis" and "und" inside ISO 639-2), what is called in french "La 
> goutte d'eau qui fait déborder le vase".

It's fascinating that you draw the (correct) comparison with these other 
subtags, because none of them has a comment inside the Registry that 
says not to use it.  Some of them are mentioned in RFC 4646 in a passage 
that says not to use them, but contrary to perceptions, there is 
actually NO precedent for Comments fields anywhere in the Registry that 
say "Do not use this subtag."

> This is another way to express my previous "Nul ne peut se pévaloir de 
> sa propre turpitude", that is, as I explained in a message to Michael 
> Everson, an old latin adage used by lawyers,

Looks French to me. 🎸

> whose intended meaning in this case is "It is not the case that, 
> because you committed a first error (eventually minor, that can be 
> understood or even forgiven, like "Zxxx") that you can be allowed to 
> commit a second error (eventually a bigger one, like "Zinh")".

We need to stop bashing ISO 15924 for adding this code element, as 
though we were its only customer.

> May be "Zinh" is not directly a "sin", but it is at least a "trick", 
> and in all case it is far more out of the spirit of "Code for the 
> representation of names of script" that a proposition like "Zipa", for 
> International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) that was refused by ISO 15924.

I would not recommend holding my breath waiting for ISO 15924 to add a 
code element for IPA.

Doug Ewell  *  Thornton, Colorado, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14  ˆ

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