Last call: Latvian (and Bontok) extlang subtags

Michael Everson everson at
Fri Feb 12 10:01:07 CET 2010

Thanks for the meta-blather, Caoimhín. But have you an opinion on the matter in hand?

On 12 Feb 2010, at 00:24, Caoimhin O Donnaile wrote:

> I think the bother stems from the fact that computer applications
> are still nearly all very unintelligent as regards the relationships
> between languages.  They treat languages as if they were all just 
> unrelated "atoms".
> That was fine in the ISO 639-1 days, but ISO 639-3 gives tags to
> "languages" which while being very different and worth tagging
> separately are still close enough to be able to make some use
> of each other's resources.
> So someone looking for lv would probably be happy with webpages
> labelled lvs and quite likely also ltg.  In fact, someone looking
> for lvs might be happy with ltg.  Someone looking for en might be
> happy to have sco included, especially if results were scarce.
> Someone looking for zh would likely be very happy with cmn.
> Someone looking for sr would most likely be able to read hr.
> Someone with poor Norwegian struggling to read a page labelled
> nn might well be able to benefit from a dictionary labelled nb,
> in the absence of anything better.
> It looks as if the extended language subtags are an ad-hoc
> expedient to build some intelligence into the tags themselves
> in cases which are currently likely to cause bother.
> My vision of the future is that the tags would be atomic, but
> the intelligence would come from an online database which
> applications could download or consult.  This database would have
> information regarding which languages were closely related in
> their writing or in their speech; and it would include information
> on tags which were now deprecated, saying how they were related to 
> now recommended tags for languages and macrolanguages.
> Caoimhín
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Michael Everson *

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