Last call: Latvian (and Bontok) extlang subtags

Michael Everson everson at
Tue Feb 9 10:35:50 CET 2010

On 9 Feb 2010, at 01:58, Peter Constable wrote:

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

I did over on the 639 list. I commented on Estonian too.

> 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).

Zounds, Peter. This doesn't meta-blather help me in the least bit.

Have I not been clear about the problem I have?

I cannot apply linguistic criteria to make this decision, yet I am  
obliged to make a decision. I am to apply quantitative criteria and I  
have no reliable data, merely hearsay. And clever people like you and  
Martin aren't helping me. You're talking about "the big picture" in  
nice vague brushstrokes.

I can approve both. In fact, I did, and people yelled at me.
I can approve neither. Will anyone yell at me?
I can do what John wants, since he's the only one who has got off the  
fence and given an actual opinion.

Michael Everson *

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