Reminder: Ulster Scots

Doug Ewell doug at
Tue Apr 6 15:28:59 CEST 2010

Peter Constable <petercon at microsoft dot com> wrote:

> I don't see anything incorrect about Randy's questions. Michael's 
> response was that "There is only one orthography under consideration." 
> But that's a fallacious response: he asked for a tag to identify an 
> orthography, and if there is only one orthography, then there is 
> nothing to differentiate, and no need for a tag. Thus, since Michael 
> _did_ ask for a tag differentiating an orthography, it was entirely 
> reasonable of Randy to assume it stood in contrast with some other 
> orthographic conventions. And Randy went on to ask very reasonable and 
> useful questions.

Randy had written, "I think the existence of two distinct orthographies 
(Hamely Tongue and the one under consideration) for a distinct variety 
of the language..."  This was the fallacy; the Hamely Tongue orthography 
*was* the one under consideration.  No subtag had been proposed for any 
other orthography.  Randy's subsequent questions were all based on the 
assumption that two orthographies were being considered for subtags.

It is reasonable to register one subtag for a given variation without 
having to register subtags for all, or even any, of the other existing 
variations.  We have 'boont' and 'scotland' and 'scouse' for English, 
but we do not have a subtag for RP to contrast it with other British 
varieties, nor do we have a subtag for "standard" American English 
(whatever that would mean) to differentiate it from the variety spoken 
in Massachusetts or South Carolina.  This is not necessarily a problem.

For any given language L with some variety that can be represented by 
the variant subtag V, the tag "L-V" does not mean that the content thus 
tagged is *not* in variant V.  It only means the content is *not 
necessarily* in variant V.

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

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