Last call: Latvian (and Bontok) extlang subtags

Peter Constable petercon at
Tue Feb 9 02:58:55 CET 2010

I'm not sure what you mean by "the linguistic wisdom of lav"; that ID has been around for a while and is synonymous with lv.

As for changing the scope of lv / lav to macrolanguage, you (/ we) should have commented when the matter was up for public review.

On a related note, I'm preparing a doc from the Unicode Consortium to TC 37 covering a couple of areas of concern, one of them being changing the scope of existing coded language entities to macrolanguage: we are proposing principle that this not be done in the future. The basic rationale is as follows:

A) it creates representation issues in that (i) we end up with multiple representations (e.g., Latgalian denoted by either "ltg" or "lav"), and (ii) we end up with ambiguous categories (e.g., "bnc" can be used for five distinct things); and

B) On the one hand, in a case like Bontoc (at the less-well-documented / less-developed end of the spectrum) there is little previous usage of the candidate ID, so a lower cost to simply adding the new entities with no macrolanguage mappings and simply recommending people use those; and on the other hand, in a case like "Latvian" (at the well-established end of the spectrum) in which there is a lot of existing usage, the vast majority of which will be for the "standard" variety, the change has too much associated risk for widespread implementations which now have to deal with the issues mentioned in (A).


-----Original Message-----
From: ietf-languages-bounces at [mailto:ietf-languages-bounces at] On Behalf Of Michael Everson
Sent: Monday, February 08, 2010 1:10 AM
To: ietflang IETF Languages Discussion
Subject: Re: Last call: Latvian (and Bontok) extlang subtags

On 8 Feb 2010, at 00:00, John Cowan wrote:

> Michael Everson scripsit:
>>> (1) Whether two new extended language subtags shall be created for 
>>> Latgalian ("lv-ltg") and Standard Latvian ("lv-lvs"), which are new 
>>> ISO 639-3 code elements encompassed by Latvian ('lav'), recently 
>>> reclassified as a macrolanguage, and
>> I do not like this new "lav", I really do not. However, I approve the 
>> two extended subtags.
> "lav" will not be a legal subtag, because "lv" is available, so that's 
> not an issue.

I take issue with the linguistic wisdom of lav, and of re-assigning "lv" to macro-language status.

Michael Everson *

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