Subject: suppress-script values for macrolanguage-encompassed languages

CE Whitehead cewcathar at
Sat Dec 25 01:52:01 CET 2010

Doug Ewell doug at 
Fri Dec 24 07:03:10 CET 2010 
> CE Whitehead <cewcathar at hotmail dot com> wrote:
>> And both [ar] (the macro-language) and [arb] (standard Arabic) should 
>> get a suppres-script [arab], as should in my opinion Egyptian Arabic, 
>> Moroccan Arabic, and North Levantine Arabic (however not being a 
>> native speaker and having studied primarily the Standard with a bit of 
>> Levantine Arabic I don't feel my opinion is definitive).But I am not 
>> sure what script is most used online to write dialects which are not 
>> traditionally written at all -- for which the most common uses would 
>> be blogs, text, email, etc, also some Bible translations (which online 
>> seem to be overwhelmingly in Latin script I think for convenience). 
>> These may be overwhelmingly written in Arabic script but it's also 
>> possible that a mix of scripts is used.
> I'm sure nobody here disagrees about Standard Arabic itself, nor about 
> many of the other well-known Arabics.
> I thought this thread started with the premise that the Suppress-Script 
> status of a macrolanguage and that of each of its encompassed languages 
> were interdependent -- that a macrolanguage should not have S-S unless 
> *all* of its encompassed languages share the same S-S.
> That troubles me when we have a concept like "Arabic," with well over 
> 200 million speakers of all varieties of Arabic combined, where almost 
> anyone familiar with Arabic would say that the writing system 
> "overwhelmingly" used by the literate members of that group is the 
> Arabic writing system -- and then we have concepts like Judeo-Yemeni 
> Arabic, with 50,000 speakers, written in Hebrew, 
(Oops  -- my goof; this particular variety is not encompassed under [ar] -- although Judeo-Arabic varieties do borrow from/share some similarities with other Arabic dialects.)
> or Cypriot Spoken 
> Arabic, with 1,300 speakers, written in we-don't-know-what, and we are 
> prepared to say that because these encompassed languages don't qualify 
> for an S-S of 'Arab', neither does the macrolanguage 'ar'.  That doesn't 
> seem right.  I don't know how many exceptions like these exist, but a 
> few hundred thousand out of 200 million still leaves an overwhelming 
> majority in its wake.
Thanks Doug for this nice explanation.  Yes interdependence of the language varieties and the macro-languages was the premise of this thread -- perhaps I did get carried away; I wanted to indicate which varieties I thought were were overwhelmingly written in one script and thus candidates for suppress-script (the varieties, not the macro-languages). I tend to agree that making the macro-languages and individual languages subsumed under these macrol-languages completely interdependent in terms of suppress-script is troubling -- if that is what you mean.  Yes, [ar] is often considered to be equivalent to [arb] for legacy applications (see and thus if [arb] has a suppress-script of [arab] then I personally would expect [ar] to also get a suppress-script of  [arab] -- regardless of whether the remaining languages under [ar] get a suppress-script -- but I have some questions about a suppress-script for languages varieties that are not normally written and that can be represented with other alphabets. (Hope this makes sense.)
Best (and best wishes for the winter Holidays),
--C. E. Whitehead
cewcathar at  		 	   		  
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list